A forensic psychologist is quite a specific role but it is something that can look very appealing to many people. You may feel that it is something that you would like to do, but it is wise to know a bit more about the job as well as how much you can expect to be paid.
What Qualifications do Forensic Psychologists Have?
You will need a degree in psychology which has been accredited by the British Psychological Society so that you can get graduate basis for chartered membership of the society. You will then be able to go on and do a Health and Care Professional Council programme of training which will enable you to be able to register as a forensic psychologist. If you have a degree in another subject you may still be able to do the further training required if you do a conversion course. You will need to study for a Masters Degree which will need to be accredited by the British Psychological Society plus a stage 2 qualification form the British Psychological Society in Forensic Psychology or a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology. In addition you will need relevant work experience and strong research skills. Alternatively you may wish to start as a trainee or interventions facilitator working for HM Prison Service and then get your qualification while training. This may take longer, but will give you relevant work experience which could help you to secure a job more easily.
What Does the Job Involve?
You will be helping the police by criminal profiling. You could work in prisons treating offenders in mental health units. You could support the prison staff with their work and research to improve things. You will need to work with offenders and so will need to be able to cope with working in an environment where you are at risk of verbal and physical abuse. Be a good listener and communicator, be good at making decisions and solving problems and have good research skills and be able to analyse or present data. You may be based in one location or required to visit different places, it will all depend on the specific job requirements. Usually working hours do tend to be 9-5, and Monday to Friday which tends to suit most people.
What is the Salary?
The salary will vary depending on your level of expertise. You will tend to find that you could start at £24,000 but as you gain experience this could rise to around £40,000 with highly experienced workers getting in excess of £70,000. The high pay not only reflects the skills required for the job but also the risks that you are taking when working directly with offenders. Although you may be there to help them, it does not mean that they will necessarily treat you well. It will take a certain type of personality to be able to deal with the demands of this sort of role, but the job could be very satisfying if you see techniques you are using leading to successful outcomes.