There may be no better place to pursue a career in forensic psychology than in the State of Virginia, where several vital government organizations and agencies are located. At the state and local level, there are numerous courts, correctional facilities, and law enforcement organizations that hire forensic psychologists in various roles. There are a number of Federal entities which employ forensic psychologists, including the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), United States Marshals Service, Supreme Court of the United States, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),among many others.
In Virginia, private sector jobs can be found with hospitals, mental health and correctional facilities, and at colleges and universities. Undergraduate and graduate-level forensic psychology programs can be found at several schools in the state. Marymount University offers two graduate programs in forensic psychology, one of which allows students to earn a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree and a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology degree, simultaneously. The courses required by the program make graduates eligible to sit for the licensing exam required to become a professional counselor. Graduates who complete the dual degree program may have greater employment options and be prepared to work in a variety of settings. These two programs, like many forensic psychology programs, require that students complete an internship.
Over one-third of forensic psychologists are employed by the Federal government and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is a major employer. Internship opportunities at the FBI are available to forensic psychology majors interested in observing expert testimony, participating in psychiatric interviews, and gaining knowledge of the duties of a forensic psychologist at each stage of the legal process. Forensic psychologists employed by the FBI earn salaries ranging from $35,000 to $82,500, and both entry-level and coordinator positions are available.
The average annual salary of a forensic psychologist in Virginia is $78,000 (indeed.com), which is greater than the national average of $61,273 (payscale.com).
Related: How to become a Forensic Psychologist.