Forensic psychology examines criminal and abusive activity in the penetrating light of psychology. Forensic psychologists must not only master psychology but must also be conversant in the languages of law and criminal justice. Louisiana offers special challenges and opportunities because of its unique blend of African, Latin American, Native American and French cultures, all of which are still very much alive. New Orleans, in particular, is a melting pot of cultures and lifestyles.
Studying Forensic Psychology in Louisiana
Most forensic psychologist positions require a master’s degree or a PhD in psychology and at least a minor in law or criminal justice, if not a bachelor’s degree. A few Louisiana universities offer undergraduate or graduate programs in psychology, law and criminal justice.
Your choice of vocation will largely determine the coursework you’ll need to take. For example, if you plan to work mainly in courtrooms, you’ll probably want to load up on law courses. If you plan to work in law enforcement agencies (especially in correctional facilities), you’ll probably want to take more criminal justice courses than law courses.
If you plan to work in Louisiana, you might also want to take French classes and possibly classes in Louisiana culture.
Most forensic psychologists in Louisiana work for law enforcement agencies, courthouses and mental health institutions. Some work in substance abuse clinics, schools or research organizations. Most are employed directly or indirectly by government agencies, so they’re subject to governmental policies and requirements.
Many types of positions are available. Some of the common positions are courtroom expert witnesses, liaisons between law enforcement and the court system, interpreters of polygraph evidence, counselors of criminals and victims of crime, and counselors of substance abusers. There are quite a few positions available for pediatric forensic psychologists, who deal with juvenile delinquents, victims of child abuse and children involved in child custody cases.
SalaryBox.com states that the minimum Louisiana salary for forensic psychologists is $52,380 and the maximum is $106,360, with the average salary being $78,950.