Over the next decade, both the income and employment of psychologists are projected to increase, and growth and income milestones are also expected for one of its sub-fields, forensic psychology. This emerging career path is a great option for students and professionals who seek to gain knowledge of clinical psychology and the legal system and develop investigative and analytical skills. Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate hoping to pursue a career as a forensic psychologist or a professional interested in gaining specialized training and education in the field, one can earn a certificate and master’s degree in forensic psychology from one of several colleges or universities in the state of New Jersey.
Undergraduates interested in a career in forensic psychology should take courses in several disciplines outside of psychology, including: criminal justice, statistics, social work and sociology in preparation for graduate school and to gain knowledge that may be valuable in future positions. Some graduate programs do not require a degree in psychology but require that prospective student have earned a related degree and have completed certain psychology and statistics courses.
Forensic psychology professionals are able to find employment in many different areas and are qualified for several career paths, including: as an expert witness in court cases, a consultant to law enforcement agencies, a clinician in forensic units in prisons, jails and hospitals, a jury consultant who evaluates cases and prospective jurors, or a counselor responsible for assessing, diagnosing and offering treatment to residents at a crime rehabilitation facility. Advocacy is another career avenue: forensic psychologists work on the behalf of victims by providing legal support and referrals.
In order to become licensed in New Jersey, a doctorate in psychology or a related field is required. Many of the opportunities open to licensed forensic psychologists are available to those who only hold a Master’s degree;however, in order to conduct certain evaluations,the state requires that supervision is provided by a doctoral-level psychologist.
The average salary for a forensic psychologist in New Jersey is $87,180, as of 2010 (educationnews.org). Currently the demand for forensic psychologists is greater than the supply of qualified applicants in the state.