Forensic psychology seeks to apply psychological science to civil courts and the criminal justice system. Forensic psychologists serve as a bridge between psychology and law, so they must be conversant in both fields. They also have to understand criminals and the victims of crime. Forensic psychology is a booming industry in Kentucky and nationwide. Although Kentucky’s economy is best known for its automobile manufacturing and agriculture, it has been diversifying into other areas, like medical facilities, including mental health and substance abuse facilities that employ forensic psychologists.
Studying Forensic Psychology in Kentucky
There are several fine universities in Kentucky that offer degrees in psychology and either criminal justice or law.
Because forensic psychology is a diverse field, you’ll need to decide what type of work you’re interested in before you can decide what coursework to take. For example, if your primary interest is in courtroom psychology, you’ll need a heavy dose of classes in law to go along with your psychology classes. If you want to work in law enforcement or correction facilities, you should consider taking more criminal justice classes than law classes.
If you want to appear in court as an expert witness, you’ll need to get a PhD in psychology and possibly a bachelor’s in law.
Employment in Kentucky
The best job opportunities in Kentucky are in the two big cities, Louisville and Lexington, as well as the capital city, Frankfort. These three cities have large medical facilities and institutions of justice and law enforcement. The primary sources of employment for forensic psychologists are law enforcement agencies, courthouses, correctional facilities, mental health institutions and substance abuse clinics. Other sources are research facilities and schools. Few forensic psychologists go into private practice.
Some typical jobs include: examining and counseling criminals and victims of crime, determining whether a defendant is fit to stand trial, interpreting polygraph data, and counseling substance abusers.
According to SalaryBox.com, the average salary for a forensic psychologist in Kentucky is $76,840, with the minimum being $47,450 and the maximum being $103,640.
Related Reading: Psychology Careers in Kentucky.