What Can You Do with a Forensic Psychology Degree?

What Can You Do with a Forensic Psychology Degree?

Key Takeaways

  • Forensic psychologists perform tasks in multiple areas including solving crimes, understanding the behavior of convicted suspects, and helping offenders in rehabilitation, among others.
  • There are more than 11,000 job openings for forensic psychologists in the US, and over 7,300 currently employed.
  • Forensic psychologists can work as law enforcement officers, victim advocates, crime analysts, jury consultants, and forensic social workers.

Got a degree or thinking about getting one in forensic psychology? Then it’s highly possible that the question, “What can you do with a forensic psychology degree?” popped up in your mind at some point. From the career options to the salary ranges, let’s explore the possibilities that come with a degree in forensic psychology.

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What Can You Do With a Forensic Psychology Degree?

Whether you’re into solving crimes, understanding the behavior of convicted suspects, or helping offenders in rehabilitation, a forensic psychology degree opens you up to a lot of career possibilities. If you wish to apply your expertise in psychology, law, and criminal justice at once, a degree in forensic psychology is what can get you there.

According to Zippa, there are 11,000+ active forensic psychologist positions in the US, with over 7,336 currently employed. This shows that the job outlook for forensic psychologists has hit a high now, especially with crime rates projected to increase.

If you’re unsure about what to do with the degree or whether you should be pursuing this program at all, we have compiled a list of career options that become available to you with this degree. Choosing one of the following pathways will help you build a promising future. Yet, the growth depends on your expertise, skills, and degree level.

Law Enforcement Officer

If you hold a degree in forensic psychology, stepping into law enforcement can be a great way to begin. A law enforcement officer, also known as the sheriff’s deputy, is hired by the government to make sure people follow federal, state, or local laws in a specific area. As a law enforcement officer, you’ll regularly deal with suspects and witnesses to investigate crimes.

While the position typically requires a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology, that’s not a must-have. However, holding one may increase your chances of serving in law enforcement. Although you might have to start off as a patrol officer, you can later move up to being a detective or even higher up in the department.

Victim Advocate

For students with a forensic psychology degree who don’t want to work directly with criminals, becoming a victim advocate instead is a smart choice. Generally, victim advocates join hands with law enforcement or social agencies to help victims both practically and emotionally.


More specifically, victim advocates help them get ready for court proceedings, introduce them to healthcare and counseling, and guide them through legal details. With a forensic psychology degree, you can better understand the cases and deal with the victims accordingly.

  • Median Annual Salary: $70,593 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028

Crime Analyst

If you wish not to interact with large communities yet still want to put your forensic psychology degree to good use, it’s best to pursue a career as a crime analyst. Crime analysts work behind the scenes, most often in labs or fields gathering case evidence. The degree gives you a deeper understanding of crime stats, which is a huge plus when working as a crime analyst.

As a crime analyst, you’ll team up with detectives, investigators, and cops to gather and study data. Once you have the data, you can examine it, use statistical methods to crack the codes and understand criminal behavior. This is done to identify the key patterns associated with specific crimes to prevent them from happening in the future.

  • Median Annual Salary: $80,441 per year
  • Growth: Expected to grow 3% from 2018 to 2028
Woman reviewing the case paper for her patients during their therapy session

Jury Consultant

A jury consultant is an important part of the legal team, who collaborates with lawyers to identify the best jury for a case and then helps them through the legal process. With a degree in forensic psychology, jury consultants use their understanding of human behavior and the criminal justice system to pick the jury with the best legal capabilities for a case.

Most importantly, jury consultants dig into the backgrounds of potential jurors, lead the selection process, and organize focus groups or mock trials to gauge their reactions. To guarantee their credibility, jury consultants also collect and analyze demographic data on jurors and deeply observe their body language in legal settings.

  • Median Annual Salary: $131,087 per year
  • Growth: Projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028

Forensic Social Worker

A degree in forensic psychology also opens doors to social work opportunities. Forensic social workers support individuals facing issues regarding children’s well-being, including custody battles, child abuse, juvenile arrests, and mistreatment. Specifically, these social workers diagnose mental health conditions and serve as expert witnesses during legal proceedings.

With more people growing to understand children’s welfare, the need for forensic social workers is projected to grow to great heights. While most social work roles require a master’s degree, acquiring an entry-level position with an undergraduate degree in forensic psychology is possible.

Forensic Psychology Professor

If you have an advanced degree in forensic psychology, such as a PhD, pursuing a career in academia is a highly lucrative career option. Forensic psychology professors teach both undergraduate and graduate-level students while conducting their own research alongside. This way, they share their recent findings with students to enhance their knowledge of the field.

As a forensic psychology professor, you can work at colleges, universities, and other academic institutions, teaching courses like law enforcement, criminal justice, and psychology. The primary duties usually involve delivering lectures, assigning coursework, and gauging where a student stands in terms of his legal understanding.

Federal Government Employee

Federal government employees are specifically in high demand for positions at prominent agencies such as the FBI, CIA, Drug Enforcement Administration, and veteran hospitals. These individuals must hold a master’s degree in forensic psychology to serve at various state and local government entities.

A master’s degree in forensics helps you develop critical thinking skills, and the capacity to apply psychological concepts to real-world scenarios. Once you graduate, you’re ready to take up roles in government agencies such as FBI special agents. While licensure may not be mandatory, graduate-level degrees can be especially beneficial for such roles.

  • Median Annual Salary: $106,462 a year
Wooden gavel and round block on the table

Jail Supervisor

Jail supervisors manage correctional facilities like juvenile jails, detention centers, and penitentiaries. Their primary goal is to oversee and maintain safety for both jail occupants and staff. The core responsibilities of a jail supervisor include monitoring daily operations, resolving conflicts, and ensuring the facility remains free of unauthorized products.

Given the need to be patient while working in such a setting, a forensic psychology degree gears you up for this role better than other degrees. It prepares you for different situations while developing excellent communication and conflict-resolution abilities that can be applied specifically to correctional facilities.

  • Median Annual Salary:$63,748 per year  
  • Growth: Expected to grow by 10% from 2018 to 2028

Criminal Profiler

With a degree in forensic psychology, you can also choose to become a criminal profiler, especially if you like to decipher complex situations. Criminal profilers are experts at understanding human behaviors, which helps them build profiles that identify crimes. While you can begin with a bachelor’s degree in forensics, pursuing graduate studies is a great idea.

As a criminal profiler, you might have to visit crime locations, examine evidence, write detailed reports, and serve as a witness in court. To undertake this role, however, you must have sharp attention to detail, long attention span, and high critical analysis skills.

  • Median Annual Salary: $37,974 per year
  • Growth: Expected to grow 3% from 2018 to 2028

Forensic Case Manager

Forensic case managers offer comprehensive treatment and support to individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues who are involved in the criminal justice system. A master’s degree in forensic psychology is a big plus for this role, covering topics such as the criminal justice system, mental health, and substance abuse.

Additionally, forensic case managers carefully evaluate your needs and connect you with the appropriate facilities. While serving as one, you’ll need to keep track of your clients’ progress and offer them ongoing support. On top of that, you must be able to think creatively to develop effective treatment plans to help clients and advocate for them within the justice system.

Forensic Researcher

If you’re passionate about research, a degree in forensic psychology goes a long way. This is mainly why most master’s programs in forensic psychology include a research component - it helps you analyze data and understand how psychological research works. Forensic psychology researchers analyze statistics and data to uncover trends, patterns, and new insights.

With a master’s in forensic psychology, you can apply your analytical skills in both clinical and correctional settings. The problem-solving and critical thinking abilities assist you with deep clinical assessments and help come up with treatment techniques for offenders. Ultimately, being a forensic researcher will help you contribute to the improvement of the legal system.

Probation Officer

Serving as a probation officer is another career path you can pursue with a degree in forensic psychology. It’s an alternative employment opportunity for those who prefer not to attend the police academy and patrol the streets. Instead, probation officers support recently released offenders to help them find employment and stable housing.

Their key duties include creating customized rehabilitation plans, offering one-on-one guidance, and regularly meeting with probationers. As a probation officer, a clear understanding of criminal justice and psychology is valuable for managing potentially challenging situations effectively.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,965 a year 
  • Growth: Projected to grow 3% from 2022 to 2032
Woman using her laptop for criminal research
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How to Become a Forensic Psychologist

You can go for a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology to acquire entry-level jobs in forensics. Alternatively, you might opt for a master’s or doctorate in forensic psychology. At the master’s level, there are tracks with and without licensure.

When it comes to becoming a forensic psychologist, there’s no “right” approach. Being a broad field that is a blend of psychology, law, and order, the career options and the way to get to them are endless.

If you want to focus on clinical work with criminals, victims, or offenders, it’s important to acquire a license as a professional counselor. For a license, you can turn to the American Board of Professional Psychology for a Specialty Board Certification in Forensic Psychology.

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Degrees and Certificates you Need to Become a Forensic Psychologist

Generally, becoming a forensic psychologist requires at least a master’s degree, preferably in forensic psychology or a related field like clinical psychology with concentrations in forensics. When eyeing a career in forensic psychology, it’s best to opt for psychology, criminal justice, criminology, or forensic science as your major.

Moreover, getting a state licensure as a psychologist is often necessary to practice independently. Some states may also require specific certifications or additional training in forensic psychology. Many professionals in this field pursue a doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) to open doors to more opportunities and higher earning potential.

Related Questions

What are the highest-paying jobs in forensic psychology?

According to ZipRecruiter, some of the highest-paying jobs in forensic psychology include forensic psychiatrist, psychologist, forensic case manager, and forensic researcher. However, the mean annual salary of a forensic psychiatrist is $266,404, which is why this career path remains the most popular among the masses.

Are careers in forensic psychology worth it?

Yes, pursuing a forensic psychology degree creates a myriad of job opportunities for you. While most roles in the field are demanding, they allow you to contribute to the legal system by working on criminal cases. With over 11,300 new jobs projected in the next decade, it’s clearly a promising career path.

Where can you work as a forensic psychologist?

Typically, forensic psychologists serve in different settings such as prisons, government agencies, rehabilitation centers, law enforcement agencies, or courts. Some may even independently serve the community in private practice, contributing to the betterment of the legal system in the US.


While the program and jobs in this field are often demanding and high pressure, a career in forensic psychology can be highly rewarding, too. However, with law enforcement and investigation methods constantly evolving, be prepared to be a life-long learner with a forensic degree!

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