Forensic psychology is the marriage of psychology and the justice system. Forensic psychologists apply their sub-specialties to the fields of law or criminal justice. While Iowa is commonly thought to be primarily an agricultural state, in actuality its economy is quite diversified; forensic psychology is a growing part of that diversity, particularly in Iowa’s cities.
Very few American schools offer forensic psychology as a major, primarily because the field wasn’t officially recognized as a branch of psychology until 2001. But there are several schools in Iowa that offer majors in psychology, and some of them offer minors in law or criminal justice. You might even find a school that offers a dual degree that will suit your needs.
Most forensic psychologists get master’s degrees, and many of them continue on to attain doctorates. If you want to be able to testify as an expert witness in court, you’ll have to get a PhD.
Employment in Iowa
The primary sources of employment for forensic psychologists are correctional institutions, courthouses, law enforcement agencies, mental health organizations, substance abuse facilities, research facilities and schools.
Forensic psychology is a diverse field. Your specialization and the type of degree you possess will determine the type of job you can apply for. For example, if you’re a pediatric forensic psychologist, you’ll be capable of evaluating and counseling juvenile delinquents in correctional institutions, or you could counsel children who are victims of child abuse or are involved in custody disputes.
Some forensic psychologists serve both the police department and the court system, and some work for prosecutors and defense attorneys alike. One common duty is to determine whether a defendant was legally insane when performing a crime, and a related duty is to ascertain whether a defendant is fit to stand trial.
Des Moines, as the capital and largest city of Iowa, offers the best opportunities for professionals in this field. According to SalaryBox.com, the average forensic psychologist in Iowa makes $77,490. The minimum salary is $22,890, while the maximum is $106,360.