With this essay, I intend to inform the reader about Criminal Psychology. I have chosen to write about Criminal Psychology because I’m a very indecisive person. On one hand, I want to be in law enforcement and on the other, I want to be in a courtroom. Being a criminal psychologist would allow me to help law enforcement officers and provide expert testimony in court. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 there were approximately 200,000 employed as a Psychologist. Current job trends related to a Psychologist are Forensic Psychologist, Special Agent, Personnel Research Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, and Criminal Profiling. Psychologist jobs are expected to increase by 14% from 2018 to 2028 which is much faster than the average growth rate.
The majority of the time Criminal Psychologist spend a lot of their time studying why people commit crimes and the likelihood that they will reoffend again if released back into society. They also advise the courts and law enforcement agencies at various points in the process of investigating a crime, identifying who did the crime, making arrest, determining their state of mind at the time they committed the crime, then moving into trial talking about any physiological issues that related to their criminal conduct. There are psychologists who do the hands on practical end of things and there are also psychologists who do strictly research. Based on CFNC.org, “Psychologists who run their own practices are free to work as few or as many hours as they wish.” Some psychologists work shift schedules, including those employed in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement centers, and other healthcare facilities. This often includes working night shifts and weekends but you are most likely to work full time.
Due to potentially dangerous situations in law enforcement many Criminal Psychologist specifically those employed by the FBI will undergo firearm training. Degree needed can vary from a Master’s degree to a Ph.D. or Psy.D degree, a state-issued license is required and possibly certifications. Experience will include an additional 1-2 years of professional experience with skills such as strong institution, analytical, observational, problem-solving, and verbal and communication skills. You will also need patience; the ability to empathize with and console relatives of victims and the ability to identify and interpret patterns. While you’re in school for a good amount of time most Criminal Psychologists start their career in their mid 20s. Since it’s unlikely that fresh new graduates will land a position in the competitive field immediately, most start by working at law enforcement agencies, mental health hospitals, criminal justice departments, or even government offices. I would start by working at a law enforcement agency or mental health hospital just because I feel you would get more experience by working with people who aren’t mentally stable or aware of what they’re doing. Being a Criminal Psychologist sometimes can be mentally challenging because you will see and have to deal with certain criminals or situations that put you in an uncomfortable situation.
Education requirements you’ll need according to learn.org is a doctoral degree in Psychology. “To enroll in such a program, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree; oftentimes, students major in psychology as undergraduates” but isn’t required. You will also need to take the GRE also referred to as Graduate Record Examinations, which is a standardized test for graduate schools. I know I would want to intern with The Premier Forensic Psychology in Los Angeles, CA because when you go to bigger cities there are more job opportunities and more people to help. Another agency I would like to intern with is the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC because working for the CIA or FBI would be a dream come true. I mean who doesn’t want to say they work for them.
Two career fields related to Criminal Psychologists are Forensic Psychologists which you focus on the aftermath of a crime, including evaluation a suspect’s mental state or counseling the victims and their families instead of profiling the perpetrator like a Criminal Psychologist. Another related career is a Criminal Profiler, which helps law enforcement identity suspects. Between Lincoln and Omaha, there are about 5 agencies including West Central Clinical and Forensic Psychology, Independent Mental Health Practitioner, and Ava. H Shukert, Ph.D. This doesn’t include possible job openings at Police departments, Government agencies, Prosecutors’ offices, Law firms, Insurance companies, Hospitals, and Consulting firms.
According to Payscale, Criminal Phycologists can start anywhere from $25k, the average salary would be $58k, and the exception would be $94k, of course, this can be determined on your experience and education. Expenses include the cost of your tuition, books, dorms, certifications, firearm license/training. Depending on if you go to a public or private college it can vary anywhere from $8000-35,000 assuming you went for four years to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Firearm Safety Certification can cost $25 and depending on what type of class course you take (Standard, Advanced, Special, or Seminars) it can range from $175-250.
Like any job there are some advantages and of course hazards. Benefits may include the following: Opportunity in advancing education, helping others overcome their challenges, flexible work schedules, additional compensation in the form of health insurance, retirement benefits, 30 days paid vacation, and childcare. Hazards or “cons” of being a Criminal Psychologist is frustration which leads to a high rate of burnout, working with criminals who aren’t the most kind-hearted souls, being threatened, verbally abused, or the possibility of being physically attacked.