Forensic psychology combines the science of psychology with the fields of law and criminal justice. Forensic psychologists primarily apply their skills to criminals and the victims of crime or substance abuse. Job opportunities for forensic psychologists are somewhat limited in Kansas, due to the low population density per square mile and the fact that the economy of Kansas is largely based upon agriculture. But forensic psychology is a growing field, so those opportunities might soon increase, particularly in Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas.
Forensic psychology is a diverse field, so the specific courses you’ll need to take and the level of degree you should strive for depend upon the job position you want. For example, if you primarily want to serve as an expert witness in courtrooms, you’ll need a PhD in psychology and at least a minor or bachelor’s degree in law. If you want to primarily work in corrections institutions, a master’s in psychology and a bachelor’s in criminal justice will probably suffice. You should check any institutions you’re interested in working for, to see what their educational requirements are.
The main employers for forensic psychologists in Kansas are courthouses, institutions for mental health or substance abuse, law enforcement agencies (including correctional facilities and probation departments), colleges and research facilities.
In courtrooms, forensic psychologists can perform any of several functions, like determining whether a defendant has the moral or mental capacity to stand trial and evaluating whether a perpetrator was insane at the time of the crime.
When working in a law enforcement setting, a forensic psychologist can counsel both criminals and the victims of crime.
According to Indeed.com, the average yearly salary of a forensic psychologist in Kansas City, Kansas, is $65,000, which is 16% lower than the national average.
Related Reading: Psychology Careers in Kansas.