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Salary Outlook with a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology Degree

Forensic psychology is characterized by activities intended to offer psychological expertise in the legal and judicial systems. (APA.org). Forensic psychology is distinctive as a specialty because of the skills and knowledge that reflect the intersection of legal theory, procedures and law with clinical psychological issues, practice and ethics.

With a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology, you will work with individuals who have a psychiatric diagnosis and could have other characteristics that are related to a clinical and legal decision and are within the judicial system. Clients you could work with may be involved in civil litigation, including people in personal injury lawsuits, child custody cases, and those seeking assessment for disability.

On the criminal side, you could be involved in proceedings deciding a person’s competency to stand trial, insanity, diminished capacity, juvenile waiver or sentencing considerations.

Forensic psychology is a growing field, and if you are considering your Ph.D., it is important to consider the type of salary you could earn after completing a four to six year educational process. Below is important information about your salary potential with this doctoral degree.

Forensic Psychology Salary Outlook

With a Ph.D. in forensic psychology, you will likely earn towards the top of the payscale for psychologists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for psychologists is $79,000 per year. But if you have a Ph.D. in this specialty and several years of private practice work experience, you can make up to $129,000 per year.

Payscale.com reports the average salary for forensic psychologists is $76,000 per year. (Payscale.com)

SEE ALSO: What is a PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology?

The American Psychological Association (APA) has intriguing information about the potential salary of psychologists in this field. APA states that with enough experience, forensic psychologists in private practice can be very well compensated. While there is variability in the work these psychologists do and the settings in which they work, it is possible for experienced forensic psychologists to earn $200,000 to $400,000 per year. (APA.org)

High Salary Growth in Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology

Students who desire the highest level of income with a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology may want to choose a career as a private practice forensic psychologist. APA reports that with sufficient work experience, it is possible to make several hundred thousand dollars per year.

Ph.D. Job Outlook

The job outlook for forensic psychologists in the US is strong. BLS reports a 14% increase in job demand for psychologists generally. There is more need for psychological services as Americans are getting older and living healthier lives as they age. Many want to have their mental health issues addressed so they can live happier in their older years. (BLS.gov).

SEE ALSO: What Is a PhD in Psychology Degree?

You can expect the demand for your services in government, law enforcement and private practice will rise as your experience level increases.

Forensic Psychology Career Opportunities

With a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology, you will have the following career options to consider:

  • Forensic psychologist: Most often, you will work as a highly-paid consultant with law enforcement agencies. Some may work with the FBI to profile criminals and for other law enforcement, you may evaluate offenders or work directly with police officers. Some forensic psychologists can work in jails or prisons and counsel offenders prior to release.
  • Expert witness: You could be called as a witness in a criminal trial, and this can be a lucrative side job or even a full-time career. You will answer speculative questions about the defendant’s state of mind, and you could refer to psychological studies and literature to back your claims. Your testimony is important to provide juries with a better understanding of how psychology can affect crimes.
  • Forensic psychology professor: With a Ph.D., you may qualify to teach undergraduate or graduate level psychology courses. If you want to have a big effect on the future of the profession, becoming a professor of psychology may be a great fit.
  • Forensic psychology researcher: If you want to expand the understanding of the criminal mind, you could focus on research for a university, research institution or law enforcement agency. Some in this profession may conduct clinical studies and write scholarly papers for publication.
  • Jury consultant: Work with legal teams to figure out the best jury for the team’s desired outcome, and determine how to proceed with the criminal case once the jury is selected.

Featured Online Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology

You can earn your online Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology at Walden University. Develop deeper insights into the intersection of psychology and the criminal justice system. You also will delve into mental health problems that could drive criminal behavior. With this accredited, online degree, you will be able to make a major impact as a researcher, teacher or consultant.

SEE ALSO: Top Online PhD in Forensic Psychology Degree Programs

Students will explore systems and programs that can create positive change in the legal system and community settings, and broaden your grasp of advanced forensic psychology. Look at ways to evaluate programs that are made for the incarcerated, offenders who were recently released, the mentally ill and juvenile offenders. (Walden.edu)

Required courses include the following;

  • Intersection of Crime, Psychology and the Law
  • Understanding Violence, Risk and Threat Assessment
  • Advanced Issues in Forensic Psychology
  • Research Foundations
  • Legal Issues and Social Change in Forensic Psychology
  • Treatment of Forensic Populations
  • Psychology in the Courts
  • Police Psychology

Conclusion

Earning a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology is a good selection for professionals who have a high level of interest in how psychology has an effect on crime and the judicial system. Plus, job demand for psychologists generally is increasing, so there will be substantially higher demand in this field in the future.

SEE ALSO: How to Become a Forensic Psychologist

In terms of salary, income potential is high if you are an experienced, private practice forensic psychology working with law enforcement and other government agencies. You also have the lucrative option of working as an expert witness, which some forensic psychologists turn into a full-time career.

References

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Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Editor-In-Chief

Ann Steele, Ph.D., is Editor-In-Chief of PsydPrograms.org. Ann has training as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has worked with adults, couples, adolescents, and preteens throughout San Diego county.