In the world of film and television entertainment, some occupational fields tend to be more represented than others. Police officers, soldiers, lawyers, and private detectives are often stars of Hollywood dramas and action films. In romantic comedies, for some reason, bakers and architects tend to fall in love with art gallery owners and magazine editors. When it comes to forensic psychologists, Hollywood producers and scriptwriters will often portray them as “criminal profilers” in hit television series such as “Criminal Minds” and “Mindhunter.”
Not all forensic psychologists are dedicated to the field of offender profiling; in fact, this specific practice is not as piercingly effective as Hollywood suggests because the use of subjective clinical assessments alone has been questioned. The reality of forensic psychology in the 21st century is different than what Hollywood portrays. While they are certainly busy, their jobs are not limited to tracking down serial killers who leave puzzling clues behind.
The responsibilities and duties of forensic psychologists place them in various settings ranging from the court system to law enforcement agencies and from correctional institutions to medical treatment facilities. As the name of the occupation implies, forensic psychologists are behavioral and mental health professionals whose findings are often used to make judicial determinations. These professionals may handle cases, conduct research, provide therapeutic services, or give advice.
The Job Outlook for Forensic Psychologists
According to the American Psychological Association, the job prospects for forensic psychologists look good for various reasons. First of all, this is a relatively young field of practice; the APA itself did not recognize it as a specialty until the year 2001 despite the existence of quite a few landmark cases that have involved the valuable input of behavioral observations.
As a private practice, the APA estimates that forensic psychologists can earn median salaries of $200,000 per year, but this is mostly in the purview of professionals who have pursued doctoral degrees. It is more reasonable to look at the figures compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for psychologists, who are estimated to experience a growth in demand in excess of 14% over the next 10 years.
In 2018, the median pay for American psychologists was $79,010 per year, which works out to almost $40 per hour. The chances for a forensic psychologist to earn higher salaries are greater because of their specialized training. As previously mentioned, forensic psychologists who earn doctoral degrees and establish their own practice will likely be retained by top law firms and research institutes, but those who earn a master’s degree will find it easier to obtain more lucrative positions in the court systems, law enforcement departments, and government agencies.
What is important to remember is that a Master of Science degree in Forensic Psychology presents a higher career potential than a bachelor’s degree in psychology or criminal justice. At Florida National University, prospective students who wish to pursue this expanding career field now have the chance to complete a 36-credit program that features a flexible and comprehensive curriculum.
As a private university serving the needs of the South Florida community, FNU is duly accredited to grant degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; we offer scholarships and financial assistance to qualified students, and many of our courses can be completed online or at our campus locations in Miami and Hialeah. Learn more about FNU by getting in touch with our admissions counselors today.
How to Become a Forensic Psychologist
A bachelor’s degree is the first step towards entering this professional field, preferably in psychology, legal studies, or criminal justice. You need to be familiar with the American judicial and court systems, and you also need to have a good understanding of human behavior, its pathologies, conditions, and therapeutic options. The FNU Master of Science degree in Forensic Psychology features the following courses:
- Clinical Psychological Assessment
- Courts and Society
- Criminal Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Introduction to Group Behavior
- Psychology of Counseling
- Research Design and Methods in Clinical Psychology
- Stress and Mental Health
- Substance Abuse and the Offender
Each of the courses above is worth three credit hours. You will also have to complete a capstone project prior to graduation. FNU offers the academic flexibility you need to balance your degree program with your work and family obligations. Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces are always welcome to put their educational benefits to good use at FNU, and the same goes for reservists and veterans.
Apply Now to Our Master’s Program in Forensic Psychology
FNU admissions advisors can help you learn more about your career options in the field of forensic psychology. Contact our office today and feel free to ask any questions related to our degree programs, scholarships, financial assistance, and student life. As forensic psychology continues to mature as a field of research and therapeutic practice, your career options will only become more attractive.