Montana is a great state to secure employment in the field of forensic psychology. Its courts hire forensic psychologists to testify in civil, criminal, and family court cases. Forensic psychologists in the role of an expert witness prepare reports, offer advice on cases, and give testimony about the competency of a defendant. They also assess a defendant’s ability to stand trial, whether the behavior or symptoms they exhibit are authentic, as well as, determine how much of a risk they pose to the public.
A doctorate in philosophy or psychology is necessary in order to work independently, rather than under the supervision of a doctoral-level psychologist, and become licensed in the state of Montana.
Proper academic preparation is necessary to have a successful career as a forensic psychologist. Knowledge of statistical reporting methods and techniques is vital for forensic psychology professionals who are often tasked with providing diagnostic services and carrying out treatment assessments. In addition to statistics courses, forensic psychology programs, often found in the departments of psychology and/or criminal justice, should include courses which place emphasis on teaching critical thinking skills, research methods, logic, and psychological theory.
For individuals interested in working in the public sector, the State of Montana hires forensic psychologists to work at state-run psychiatric hospitals and correctional facilities. Employed within the state’s Department of Administration, forensic psychologists work with the most challenging patients, administering counseling and generating forensic reports on the patient for court cases. In addition to providing clinical services, forensic psychologists are required to submit financial reports, work on committees, and give expert testimony in court. State forensic psychologists are sometimes required to fulfill duties outside of their areas of expertise. Individuals interested in working in the public sector will benefit from taking accounting and social work coursework, as forensic psychologists often provide housing and work referrals, and deal with financial matters.
Montana pays doctoral-level State forensic psychologists $30/hr., while those with a Master’s begin at a lower rate.
Related: How to become a Forensic Psychologist.