If you’re a fan of “CSI” or “Criminal Minds,” then you might be familiar with forensic psychology. However, there’s more to this field than lie detectors and body language readings. Forensic psychology is a dynamic, expansive, and fulfilling study encompassing various skills—and careers.
Forensic psychology may be your ideal career field if you’re passionate about unraveling criminal cases. With its mix of disciplines (everything from public policy to research), forensic psychology offers many opportunities for law and psychology students to impact lives across the judicial and legislative systems.
Curious how you may fit into the forensic psychology sphere? This guide will explore the top law and psychology careers in this dynamic field and how the California School of Forensic Psychology at Alliant International University can help prepare you for each of them.
Exploring the World of Forensic Psychology
At the crossroads of law and psychology, you’ll find forensic psychology. In this field, practitioners decipher the human mind and apply these insights to the arena of legal studies, bringing clarity and practical solutions to the players in a legal case.
With their psychological expertise, forensic psychology roles can aid legal processes of both civil and criminal nature. Across the many roles in criminal justice, forensic psychology could cover any of the following duties and topics:1
- Clinical psychological assessment
- Testimony in civil and criminal court cases
- Psychotherapy services
- Child custody evaluations
- Child abuse investigations
- Visitation risk assessments.
- Juvenile and adult offender treatment evaluation
- Law enforcement applicant screening
- Insurance claim evaluation
Top Psychology and Law Career Paths in Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychology harmonizes the complexities of the human psyche with the demands of the legal system. Each case encountered helps you gain insight to answer the question: Why do people commit crimes? Considering the complexity of this task, it’s no wonder that this field holds numerous captivating law and psychology jobs.
If you’re curious about a career in forensic psychology, get to know these four law and psychology career paths.
Psychology in the Courtroom
Forensic psychologists are at the heart of this discipline. These professionals use their expertise across courtrooms and legal offices to assist legal professionals in making well-informed decisions. As a forensic psychologist, you could expect to:2
- Give psychological evaluations of individuals in legal proceedings
- Provide expert testimony in court
- Collaborate with legal professionals on cases and strategy
- Advise police and legal professionals on mental illness and criminal psychology
- Design correctional programs for crime offenders
Careers in Criminal Profiling
If you consider yourself a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, then a career as a criminal profiler may be for you. Criminal profilers are the ultimate detectives of behavior, unraveling the psychological underpinnings that lead to a crime. In this role, you would typically perform the following tasks:3
- Analyze crime scenes for behavioral patterns and suspect traits
- Construct criminal profiles through a psychological framework (habits, motives, etc.)
- Support investigations alongside law enforcement
- Identify behavior patterns that lead to crime
- Perform personality assessments and geographic profiling
- Provide expert courtroom testimony
Juvenile Justice System
Unfortunately, children and adolescents are often the victims and/or perpetrators of crimes. To guide these young minds toward a brighter future, developmental psychologists take the lead.
Developmental psychology evaluates how humans grow and adapt across different life stages. In the legal world, this could involve studying and addressing factors influencing a child or adolescent’s involvement in crime, from home life to socio-cultural environments. A developmental psychology major can expect to:4
- Provide early psychological intervention to at-risk children showing behavioral issues
- Research environments and risk factors that engage children in crime
- Treat and evaluate juvenile offenders to redirect their life trajectory
- Create tailored rehabilitation programs for juvenile offenders
- Advise legal professionals on the psychology of children involved in crime
Rehabilitation and Corrections
Those who study forensic psychology or a similar discipline may choose to help in rehabilitation and corrections. In this area of the field, professionals provide counseling and support to people who have been convicted of crimes or are currently in the prison system.
Correctional psychologists are prison inmates' primary mental health advocates—a vital posture for keeping prisons and their residents safe and secure. They work in tandem with mental health administrators to assess inmates, facilitate group therapy, and develop programs to nurture the mental wellness of prison inmates.
Alliant is Paving the Way for a Fulfilling Career
Forensic psychology is a good career choice if human behavior and legal proceedings excite your mind. This field holds many captivating careers that can positively influence lives, shape legal outcomes, and contribute to a more just society. In short, it’s a field for those with a sharp mind and fierce passion for justice.
Ready to start your forensic psychology career? You’ll need the intensive knowledge, experience, and qualifications to carve your path—that’s where Alliant International University can help.
Our MS in Forensic Behavioral Science will prepare you for the multifaceted world of forensic psychology by providing cutting-edge knowledge, hands-on experience, and visionary leadership. Whether pursuing a career as a forensic psychologist or criminal profiler, you'll be equipped to excel in this dynamic field.
Bring your passion for the legal and psychological fields together and explore our Forensic Behavioral Science programs today.
- Cherry, Kendra. “Forensic Psychology Career Profile”. Verywell Mind. October 24, 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/forensic-psychology-careers-2795639. Accessed August 18, 2023.
- Simmons, Liz. “What Is Forensic Psychology? How To Become A Forensic Psychologist”. Psychology.org. July 11, 2023. https://www.psychology.org/careers/what-is-forensic-psychology/. Accessed August 18, 2023.
- Indeed. “What is a Criminal Profiler? Key Job Duties and Skills”. Indeed.com. N.d. https://www.indeed.com/hire/c/info/what-is-a-profiler. Accessed August 18, 2023.
- American Psychological Association. “Developmental Psychology Studies Human Development Across the Lifespan”. American Psychological Association. N.d. https://www.apa.org/education-career/guide/subfields/developmental. Accessed August 18, 2023.