Criminal psychology programs teach the student the application of psychology in criminal situations. There are various tracks for criminal psychology or forensic psychology according to the desire of the individual. The majority of programs will consist of a great deal of study and analysis with intensive opportunities. If you plan to take this type of program then you need a few advance important information.
Criminal psychology Programs is the Study of Human Behavior
Criminal psychology programs will go in-depth with psychology, helping students gain a good understanding of the different factors in a person’s life that make them behave a certain way. Students will study different social situations, cultures, backgrounds, races, and upbringings to analyze them and compare them to different displayed behaviors.
They will often have the chance to study criminal behavior in an attempt to profile the individual who committed the crime. This can be put to work later in criminal profiling work, either in law enforcement or clinical setting.
Studying Mental Health Conditions
Often times, criminal psychologists work with police officers and the court to determine competency. The determination may need to be made in order to determine whether a criminal can defend himself or herself, or whether they should be placed in a prison or mental health environment.
Competency decisions are often made based on whether individuals display signs of mental health disorders. Students will study those mental health disorders as well as signs and symptoms of those disorders and how individuals with them behave.
Not all criminal psychologists or forensic psychologists will work with criminals or criminal law. There are many situations in civil cases when a criminal psychologist is needed to evaluate the extent of the trauma a victim has suffered, typically to determine the number of damages deserved by the victim. For these reasons, criminal psychology students will learn how to assess the victims of trauma who may be suffering emotionally or psychologically due to events that have taken place in their lives.
Criminal psychologist students will learn the ins and outs of the courtroom as well since many are called on to provide expert testimony in different cases. They will learn how to speak to the jury and how to put complicated ideas, psychological issues, and problems into easily understood terms. Often times, the Criminal psychologist will be needed to convince the jury of the mindset of or the psychological effects that have been experienced by a criminal or a victim. They may need to evaluate potential risks or hazards of different court decisions, such as letting an individual free or placing them in prison.
Criminal psychology programs are very research-based and students will get the chance to learn a great deal about how the mind works and how it’s affected by different scenarios, traumas, upbringings, and other important factors. This information and knowledge will be put to great use when the individual enters the workforce and begins building his or her career in the field, regardless of the branch they choose.
Criminal psychology Career Outlook
Programs specializing in criminal psychology accept only the brightest students with the highest scores, and it’s a very competitive industry. While most people who hear the words “forensic psychology” immediately think of criminal profiles for the FBI, the truth is there is a wide range of settings in which these individuals work. Most who graduate and enter jobs in criminal psychology will not be profiling for law enforcement.
After graduating with a degree in forensic psychology, it’s recommended that individuals become certified by a major organization, such as the American Board of Professional Psychology. Not only will this provide more resources for the individual looking to enter the field, but it may provide opportunities for continued learning in the form of seminars and workshops. It’s recommended that individuals graduate with a master’s degree or a doctorate degree.
The Salary of a Criminal psychologist
While there are a great number of variables that might affect the salary of a Criminal psychologist, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports those psychologists (including Criminal psychologists) earn an average salary of about $84,220. The top 10 percent of psychologists earn about $117,000. A report from the American Psychological Association from 2009 claims that Criminal psychologists earn about $70,000 in an individual practice with 5 years of experience or less. That number increases to about $84,000 with 10 years of experience and to $90,000 with 25 years of experience or more.
The Future of Forensic Psychology
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the available jobs for Criminal psychologists to grow between 14 and 19 percent through 2018. In addition to that, the BLS recognizes that over a third of these and other psychologists are employed by the federal government and another third work for themselves. Through the year 2018, the government is expected to grow these jobs by 8 percent or approximate 400 jobs. With criminal psychology programs being very selective, this is a good amount of growth.
Best Locations for Criminal Psychology Jobs
According to the BLS, the main employer of Criminal psychologists and other psychologists is the federal government. PayScale.com shows that individuals who plan to go into criminal psychology have the best potential in cities like Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and New York City. Other areas that have good potential but a lower cost of living include Atlanta, Georgia, Memphis, Tennessee, and Detroit.
Finding the Best School
Individuals who want to find the best possible criminal psychology school should research programs they’re interested in to determine which tracks they specialize in. For instance, some schools offer individuals the best education for changing policies and laws while others offer the best education for counseling criminals who have been diagnosed with psychological disorders. It’s also a good idea to research the professors to determine their work experience and current projects.
Overall, criminal psychology is a great career to go into. This branch of psychology is not only lucrative, but it’s very rewarding and a chance for those who are more academically oriented to give back to society. There are many different tracks of forensic psychology, which allow individuals to explore different settings, processes, and applications.
Criminal psychology Jobs
For individuals who have earned a degree in forensic psychology, there are numerous careers available. These positions can be lucrative, rewarding and fascinating for those who are attempting to understand the psychological aspects of crime and law. The jobs available in this field can be research-based or place individuals directly in the middle of criminal investigations.
Criminal psychology careers in the social services category include government jobs or jobs with prisons or not-for-profit organizations. These professionals might work with prisoners who are leaving prison to re-enter society, helping them to become functioning parts of society. They might also work with children who are considered “at-risk,” in an attempt to prevent those children from engaging in criminal activity. This is a very hands-on type of career, and it’s great for those with a criminal psychology degree who really want to help individuals.
Those with a criminal psychology degree can also work with public policy. This is a more research-based job that requires individuals to work with politicians or government agencies in reference to laws and the creation of criminal laws. Some individuals also work for non-profit organizations who are attempting to change certain criminal laws or put processes in place that help to prevent specific types of crimes.
What most people think about when they hear the words “Criminal psychologist” is an individual who works closely with the police. Not all Criminal psychologists do this, but many do. Criminal profiling is one example of professionals who work with law enforcement. Criminal psychology is applied to specific cases in an effort to create a psychological profile of the criminal, with the intent of helping law enforcement narrow their search. These professionals might also research and analyze specific trends and patterns in crimes.
Individuals with degrees in criminal psychology often work in clinical settings to counsel and provide treatment to inmates and criminals with a history of psychological disorders. This kind of career requires either a Master’s degree or a Ph.D. in criminal psychology with a focus on counseling or clinical psychology. Some of these professionals might work in prison clinics, halfway houses, mental health clinics or psychiatric hospitals. These professionals typically attempt to determine the underlying cause of an individual’s criminal behavior and then find a treatment to prevent that behavior or keep it under control.
Academic or Teaching Positions
Another type of position for those with a degree in criminal psychology is a teaching or research position. These positions are usually found in universities as teachers or in certain aspects of law enforcement but mostly focus on research and academics. Graduates might investigate the factors that motivate individuals to commit crimes or specific conditions within society that contribute to these sorts of crimes.
There are many different opportunities for graduates of criminal psychology to make a difference, whether it’s in law enforcement or in an academic setting. Deciding which path to take before attending school is important, so you can choose the appropriate track while studying.