South Dakota is a Midwestern farming state with seven fairly large American Indian reservations. According to the 2010 census, South Dakota ranks 46th out of the fifty states in population (814,180). Sioux Falls is the largest city, with a population of 154,000; The only other city with more than 30,000 people is Rapid City, with a population of about 68,000. These two cities are the only places in South Dakota with the necessary population density to support a highly specialized field like forensic psychology.
Forensic psychology has been labeled “the intersection of psychology and the justice system.” Forensic psychologists must understand the terminology and applications of both their specialized branch of psychology and of a particular branch of the justice system.
According to Buzzle.com, the median salary for a forensic psychologist in South Dakota is $64,000 per year, which is close to the national average.
One type of specialization in the field of forensic psychology is the evaluation, counseling and treatment of criminals. This field requires at least a master’s degree in clinical or counseling psychology and a concentration in criminal behavior. This inmate counseling can take place in a prison, psychiatric hospital, halfway house or mental health center.
Criminal profiling is another common specialization. Profilers can work with law enforcement agencies to help catch criminals, or they can develop and analyze general trends and theories about criminal behavior.
Some of the other specializations include serving as an expert witness in court, performing research, teaching, and working with juvenile delinquents or juvenile victims of crime.
A forensic psychologist with just a bachelor’s degree in psychology might be able to find work as a researcher or in a minor position; but for most jobs, a master’s degree is required. Most jobs also require at least a minor in law or criminal justice. Some jobs, like appearing as an expert witness in court, require a doctorate in psychology.