A master’s in forensic psychology is ideal for individuals who want to work in the justice system and help with criminal investigations, lawsuits or to act as a consultant for a client. Students who are pursuing a career in therapy or counseling can refine their career focus to work with people who are involved in the legal system. When asking the question of “what can I do with a master’s in forensic psychology?”, the answer is: Quite a lot. Jobs for a master’s in forensic psychology involve working with prisoners, ex-convicts, victims of crime, the police, and even probation officers. There are many different employment paths for someone looking for forensic psychology jobs with a master’s degree. Here’s a look at some of the available jobs for master’s in forensic psychology.
Forensic psychology can be a way into a career in the legal system. When a case is about to go before the court with a jury empaneled, the attorneys for both sides get the opportunity to interview the potential jurists in a process known as voir dire. The role of the forensic psychologist is to study each potential juror as they’re interviewed and make notes as to their behavior, body language and other physical tells as to how the juror thinks. The forensic psychologist gives their report on each juror interviewed to the lawyer in order to help the lawyer dismiss or retain a juror for a trial.
The role of the probation officer is one of supervising people who have been recently released from prison under court supervision. The probation officer does more than simply keeping tabs on parolees and making sure they don’t re-offend. They also provide counseling, guidance, help parolees find housing and food assistance, and encourage a parolee to improve themselves to live a better life away from crime. This is one of the jobs for a masters in forensic psychology that gives someone the opportunity to work in a quasi-law enforcement role without going through the police academy.
A victim advocate is someone who works for the legal system and helps victims handle the trauma they underwent. The advocate usually works with people who have been violently assaulted and are trying to comprehend what happened. After the initial meeting, the victim advocate supports the victim through the legal process and helps them understand the law, how it applies to their case, and attending hearings with the victim. An advocate can’t tell a victim what actions they should take against their perpetrator, but they can help the victim recover and heal.
Federal Government Employee
The idea of working as a forensic psychologist for the FBI may conjure up images of the movie Silence of the Lambs, but the federal government is a rich source for masters in forensic psychology jobs. The alphabet agencies are always looking for people who are trained to analyze a situation from all perspectives, can think critically, and apply their training to actual situations. The ability to think in this manner is advantageous for the government agencies who want meticulous thinkers for various roles.
A correctional counselor works in prisons and helps inmates handle the emotional issues that caused them to commit crimes in the first place. Sometimes the work is done in a group setting and sometimes the work is one-on-one with an inmate. A correctional counselor seeks to help inmates understand their behavior and show them ways to handle anti-social behaviors. They also help provide insight to parole boards about the potential impact on society if an inmate is released on parole. The forensic psychologist can also be called upon to help create programs that reduce rates of recidivism.
A crime analyst usually works for police departments to uncover crime patterns and the influencing factors that give rise to a crime wave. This is one of the jobs for masters in forensic psychology that combines law enforcement with the art and science of psychology and is an excellent option for someone who wants to help police departments anticipate crime waves and how to focus their policing efforts. The crime analyst uses data collected from various sources in order to come to their conclusions and aid the police with handling crime.
Forensic Social Worker
The forensic social worker blends social work with criminal justice. The role itself tends to sit on the fence in that the forensic social worker may find themselves working with defendants or with victims of a crime. A forensic social worker has to know how to navigate the law while explaining an evaluation of a defendant to people who work in the criminal justice system. They also work for civil courts and are frequently brought in for evaluating family court cases.