How Much Do Forensic Psychologists Make?

A forensic psychologist at work in a lab wearing a mask.

Psychologists will work with a range of employers, and as a result may have different roles and responsibilities, and a great range of competitive salaries. One of the disciplines you may be interested in is forensic psychology. This is a very important job that helps assist victims and witnesses, along with assessing crime scenes and perpetrators.

But, most important, before we get in the details of what forensic psychologists do, you need to know what you can earn as a forensic psychologist.

So, read on to find out whether or not forensic psychology is a career choice for you.

How Much Do Forensic Psychologists Make?

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a forensic psychologist in the US is around $72,727.

At the lower end of the scale, less experienced forensic psychologists may earn up to $39,000 per year, and at the highest end of the scale, some forensic psychologists may earn upwards of $103,000 per year!

Where Do Forensic Psychologists Make The Most Money?

Forensic psychologists work in a range of settings: from courtrooms to offices, government agencies, hospitals, prisons and more.

That being said, according to job sites, the states with the highest average salaries for forensic psychologists are New Hampshire, New York, California, Massachusetts and Washington.

But when we break those salaries down further, we see that the highest salaries are found in metropolitan areas: Washington D.C, Los Angeles and Boston.

Likely, if you’re seeking the highest possible salary, you’ll end up with the federal government, who pay forensic psychologist an average salary of $85,000 per year.

What Does A Forensic Psychologist Do?

Forensic psychology is closely tied with human psychology and the criminal justice system. On a day-to-day basis forensic psychologists apply clinical specialties as well as their own research and experimentation within a legal setting.

Forensic psychologists participate in investigations, assessments, consultation, research, the creation and distribution of treatment programs, and provide expert witness testimony, if needed, in a courtroom.

A forensic psychologist may have to attend crime scenes to analyze evidence and make conclusions about a criminal’s actions and state of mind

A forensic psychologist may evaluate mental competency for criminals for the purpose of trials, or diagnose mental conditions in those linked to criminal activity.

You may also provide counseling for victims, or perpetrators of crimes, and participate in parental and child evaluations in the case of custody issues. You would have to test clients, evaluate and provide psychological support in these cases.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Forensic Psychologist?

Just like other roles in psychology, you need to earn a Bachelor’s degree, followed by a Master’s degree and a Doctoral degree in Psychology.

Many forensic psychologists also become licensed as clinical psychologists, so that would mean passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, or the EPPP.

You need to be licensed and pass all examinations and pay all fees—depending on the licensure state laws in your location.

In addition to this, the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) offers certification in forensic psychology.

Is Forensic Psychology A Good Career?

Forensic psychologists are in high demand, so much so that the demand is higher than the supply, so forensic psychology can be lucrative. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for forensic psychologists will grow around 8% in the coming years.

However, it should be noted that the situations forensic psychologists work are often stressful. The job can be grueling, both physically and mentally, especially when working as an expert witness. 

The good news is that forensic psychologists can earn around $72,000 on average per year, depending on where you work and in what setting.

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