Tennessee is a southeastern state known for its music, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture. According to the 2010 census, Tennessee ranked 17th in population among states. It had a fairly high population growth rate of 11.5% between 2000 and 2010. Memphis and Nashville each have a population of over 600,000, and four other cities have at least 100,000 people, so there are plenty of opportunities for both students and practitioners of forensic psychologists throughout this growing state. Vanderbilt University is one of the most renowned colleges in the country.
Forensic psychologists are specialists who apply their particular expertise in psychology to a particular branch of the justice system. There are numerous specializations in forensic psychology.
Some forensic psychologists serve mainly as expert witnesses in court, where they might testify as to whether a defendant has a clear enough understanding of right and wrong to be fit to stand trial. Others work primarily with crime victims, evaluating and counseling them before, during and after court trials; and sometimes they might testify as to the effects of the crime on the victim.
Other forensic psychologists might work in prisons, probation departments, substance abuse clinics or mental institutions, where they evaluate and counsel convicted criminals. Some work as criminal profilers, assisting law enforcement agencies in nabbing criminals. Some specialize in counseling juvenile delinquents or juvenile victims of crime.
Public policy is another area of work, where a forensic psychologist might advise governmental agencies on political issues related to criminals, or serve as a lobbyist who advocates changes in laws.
Another option is to work as a teacher or researcher in schools or law enforcement agencies.
The amount and type of schooling you’ll need will depend upon the type of job you want. If you want to work as a researcher, you might be able to get away with just having a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in law, criminal justice or a related field. Most other jobs require at least a master’s in psychology. You might also consider getting double degrees in psychology and either law or criminal justice.
Related: How to become a Forensic Psychologist.