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Forensic psychology is a thrilling field that applies psychological principles to law and criminal justice. Although forensic psychologists are not the all-knowing entities that are often portrayed in movies and on television, they are highly trained professionals who often serve as vital factors in prosecuting criminals. They use a combination of science and psychology within civil and criminal courts to assess violators, understand motives and offer expert testimony. For these services, professionals earn a lucrative forensic psychology salary that can easily top $100,000 annually. If you are ready to take your place in this important and challenging field, go to college today and start working on your forensic psychology career training.
Career outlook for forensic psychologists
Forensic psychology careers have shown steady growth throughout the past 20 years and this growth will likely continue in the future. Experts predict that the greatest opportunities and highest forensic psychology salary rates will exist for people who earn a doctoral degree in forensic psychology. The majority of these job opportunities will be in teaching and research as well as those working with legislators, attorneys and court systems. Radical changes in laws affecting juvenile offenders will also offer an increased number of opportunities for those who wish to work with younger violators.
The forensic psychology salary can vary greatly depending on level of education, amount of experience, geographic location and type of position. On average, forensic psychologists earn between $40,000 and $150,000 per year. In addition, most forensic psychologists also enjoy a full range of employment benefits. Typically, these benefits packages include health, vision and dental insurance as well as sick leave, vacation pay, bonuses and incentives and retirement plans. These benefits can greatly increase the total compensation for forensic psychology positions.
Education and training for forensic psychologists
The growth of awareness and popularity that forensic psychology has experienced has resulted in a larger number of schools that offer necessary degrees. How do you choose the one that is best for you? First, it is important to know what level of training you need for your desired position and salary. Many of the top careers in this field require that you hold a PhD or PsyD in forensic psychology. These are also the positions that offer the highest pay. It is important to make sure the program you choose is accredited by one of the agencies that are recognized by the United States Department of Education. If you earn a degree from a non-accredited institution, it will not be recognized or respected and will severely limit your employment options.
Next, you must decide if you want to attend traditional or online college. If you learn best in a face-to-face environment and need to freely interact with other students, you will be best served by a traditional degree program. If, however, you are organized, self-motivated and prefer working alone, online degrees can be a wonderful and flexible option for you. If you are currently unemployed and unencumbered by large amounts of responsibility, attending classes at a brick-and-mortar campus can provide you with the chance to meet new people and get involved in social activities. If you have a job and family responsibilities; however, you will find that studying online will allow you to work from home on your own schedule. This lets you pursue your degree without sacrificing your current lifestyle.
Once you have chosen a career path and found a suitable college, it is time to start working on your education. The first step is to earn your bachelor’s degree. This portion of your education will provide you with a foundation in forensic psychology including general practices in psychology as well as theory and history. It will also include some courses in the forensic concentration. The next step is to earn your master’s degree. This training goes deeper into the field of forensic psychology and will likely include research projects and clinical experience. The final step is to earn your PhD or PsyD. This is the degree that will allow you to earn the highest forensic psychology salary and will prepare you for the greatest number of job options. Both degrees are equally respected with the difference being that a PhD is geared toward teaching and research while the PsyD is geared toward clinical practice.
Although it may take a bit of commitment to earn your forensic psychology degree, the forensic psychology salary and other employment benefits make the payoff well worth the effort. Instead of wishing you had a better job, find a great school and start training for your new career now.