Forensic psychology is a relatively new, but extremely important branch of forensic sciences; however, unlike many other such forensic sciences, which rely on hard, physical evidence, forensic psychology tries to deal with minds. Diving into the minds of criminals, as well as witnesses is usually much more difficult than with regular people – it’s a difficult job. Not only is the job difficult itself, but you also have to have a PhD in order to work as a forensic psychologist, so it’s only natural for one to wonder… is the money worth it?
The forensic psychology salary is about $35.000-140.000 / year; as you can see, the figure can vary quite a lot, depending mostly on experience and qualifications, as well as location, hours, etc. The salary in this field has been on the rise for quite a while, though not dramatically; however, competition has become more and more fierce as well. Studies estimate unemployment in this sector will rise by 18% from 2008 to 2018.
At first, you can definitely expect to win somewhere in the lower range of that sum, and if you do the math, that an average school year costs $20,000 to $40,000 a year in undergraduate school and even more in graduate school, your forensic psychology salary might not even cover your expenses at first. However, after 2-5 years in the field, you can expect your salary to double or even triple, if you do really well.
At first you will probably work as a trainee in a prison and probation system, then move on to assistant and it will take a while before you work the real deal on your own. However, aside from your forensic psychologist salary you should take into consideration the competitive pensions, annual leave entitlement and good sickness support.
Many forensic psychologists work in the NHS – and this is an especially good environment for professionals. Self employment is often an option, though you might have to diversify a little, and then, the salary will vary depending on your own work and clients.
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