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5 Signs You Are a Good Fit for a Career in Forensic Psychology

Traits such as objectivity, attention to detail, and excellent communication skills will help you achieve success in this dynamic field.

Interest in forensic psychology careers has grown in recent years, thanks in part to popular television shows like “Criminal Minds” and “The Alienist.”

While the real world of forensic psychology isn’t always as glamorous as the one portrayed TV, it is still an exciting career option with strong earning potential. The average base salary for forensic psychologists is $72,057.1

Forensic psychologists, who often specialize in family, civil, or criminal casework, use psychological principles in the legal and criminal justice system to help judges, attorneys, and other legal specialists understand psychological aspects of cases.2 In other words, they observe, study, and identify brain functions and then apply their knowledge to situations and people impacted by the legal system.

Compared to other psychology specialties like applied psychology or general psychology, forensic psychology is still relatively new. A court case in 1962 established the precedent that properly trained psychologists were competent to provide diagnostic expertise in the courtroom. In 2001, the American Psychological Association made forensic psychology an approved specialty.3

Considering a career in forensic psychology? Here are five signs you are a good fit for the job.

1) You are objective. As a forensic psychologist, you may be placed in difficult or uncomfortable situations. Successful professionals can put emotions and prejudices aside to preserve the integrity of their work and maintain objectivity.

2) You have excellent communication skills. In this field, you may interact with victims of crimes, lawyers, judges, and inmates. Active listening—the ability to fully concentrate on the speaker, understand the message, and react thoughtfully—is essential, as is the ability to change your communication style based on the situation.

3) You pay strong attention to details. Forensic psychologists often have a keen eye for detail, which comes in handy during observations and analysis. For example, forensic psychologists may notice small hand gestures or voice inflections—two things that could help determine a person’s state of mind.

4) You are a critical thinker. Forensic psychologists gather and use research-based data to make informed decisions on everything from witness reliability to an alleged criminal’s mindset at the time of a crime.

5) You are interested in mental health. In this field, you focus on the social and behavioral aspects of mental health care and how they impact the criminal justice system. By earning your PhD in Forensic Psychology, you will develop deeper insight into the nexus between psychology and the criminal justice system and explore mental health issues that may drive criminal behavior.

Earning a PhD in Forensic Psychology

Walden University offers an online PhD in Forensic Psychology that explores the systems and programs that strive to create positive change in the legal system and community settings. Courses helps students broaden their understanding of advanced forensic psychology and examine ways to evaluate programs designed for populations such as the incarcerated, recently released offenders, the mentally ill, and juvenile offenders.

With six specializations to choose from, along with a general program, this doctoral degree program is ideal for professionals who must balance work and family commitments. Walden also offers a Fast-Track Option for students who wish to complete their doctorate in less time. To take advantage of this option, students take additional courses and begin their dissertation early to expedite their path through the program.

Walden’s MS in Forensic Psychology is another great choice and offers specializations in Criminal Justice Self-Designed, Family Violence, Police Psychology, Terrorism, Cybercrimes, and more.

At Walden University, it’s possible to earn your doctorate or master’s degree in forensic psychology while balancing priorities because you can complete coursework when and where it works best for you. All you need is internet access.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering MS in Forensic Psychology and PhD in Forensic Psychology programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Note on licensure: The MS in Forensic Psychology is not a licensure program and does not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology or counseling professional.

Note on licensure: The PhD in Forensic Psychology is not a licensure program and does not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology professional.