What Careers are Available With a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology?

Forensic psychology merges the ever expanding field of psychology with law and in many times criminal investigations. With psychology and criminal investigation both growing in popularity, you may be interested in learning about what you will do as a forensic psychologist, and also what level of education in required to practice psychology as a science and apply it to the criminal justice system. If you are an undergraduate student interested in mapping out a course load for the future, or you are already pursuing your Master’s degree, read on to see what types of career opportunities are available to professionals with Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology.

Understanding the Primary Roles of a Forensic Psychology Professional

As an undergraduate student, chances are you will attain a degree in Psychology without a specific concentration to earn your Bachelor’s degree. While this degree will prepare you for many different career paths, it is important to choose a more specific and focused master’s degree major when you know what you would like to do in the future. Forensic psychology is a unique subfield of psychology where you will use the methods of psychology in a unique and expansive setting.

Unlike the depictions in media, a forensic psychologist does not use profiles to predict a serial killer’s moves. Rather than doing this, a forensic psychologist can work in family court, in civil court, or in insurance disputes to provide psychotherapy services and assessments for the court to use during a ruling. In the criminal justice system, you can also work with juvenile offenders and adult inmates to assess if an offender is ready for release into society or if they are mentally competent to go through trial.

A career in Forensic Psychology can require a substantial time commitment, and it is important for any prospective student studying Forensic Psychology to understand this. If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, you know that you have spent a great deal of time, typically 4 years, being a student. It may only take another 2 years of full-time student to earn your graduate degree, but will this degree open up opportunities? The answer is yes, but do not expect to be working as a psychologist right away. 

With a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology or a hybrid combination of majors in Criminal Justice and Psychology, you can get your foot into the door as an entry-level professional. Typically, you will work as a psychological assistant or an associate earning an average of $35,000 to $40,000 with your Master’s degree. As you gain experience and you work towards a doctoral degree, you can work up to being a psychologist with an associate working under you. You may also be able to work in a lawyer’s office or in treatment centers with your Master’s.

You will gain valuable experience when you have a M.S. in Forensic Psychology as you complete your classes. With the knowledge and the hands-on experience you gain, you can enter the field and network so that you can earn a higher salary and work for reputable agencies.