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Video:What Is a Forensic Psychologist?

with Dr. Robert Reiner

Think forensic Psychology is exactly like an episode of CSI: Miami? This psychology video from About.com shows you what forensic psychologists really do and how to become one.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is a Forensic Psychologist?

My name is Dr. Robert Reiner. I'm from Behavioral Associates in New York City. I'm going to talk to you about careers in forensic psychology.

What is a Forensic Psychologist?

A forensic psychologist is a person who works within the legal system. So, it's the application of psychological strategies, techniques and theories within a forensic, or a courtroom, or legal type of setting.

What Does a Forensic Psychologist Do?

Now, there's a variety of things you can do. You can work as an expert witness. You can do research in how juries are picked. You can work for a particular attorney if you've got an expertise in a certain area of the law, and the psychological implications for that are enormous. So, there's a wide range of things a forensic psychologist might be doing.

Graduate School for Psychology

When psychologists go to graduate school, you have a choice, even among clinical psychologists. You can be a corrections specialist. These are the kind of people who might go into forensics. You might be a substance abuse specialist within clinical psychology.

You might be more research oriented, so you get what's called the scientific practitioner type of approach, which is really half clinician, half researcher. Many people prefer using psychologists like this because, while they are clinicians, the perception is that they are more indoctrinated with a scientific approach. So, that pretty much defines the range of what forensic psychologists do.

How Much Does a Forensic Psychologist Make?

In terms of income levels, things like that, it really ranges from an entry level job with a PhD maybe at around sixty-five, seventy thousand dollars a year in an urban area. And, if you're in private practice, especially if you've got a team of people behind you, then really the sky is the limit. There are numbers of forensic psychologists who are extremely successful who've been at it for decades who I'm sure are making well into seven figures. So, like anything else, it depends on you and how hard you're willing to work, more importantly, how good you are.

How to be a Forensic Psychologist

You do require a PhD along with a license. The license usually takes another two years after you get your doctorate. You need to do an internship in an applied setting, which might be a prison. It might be working for a judge. Once again, anything that has to do with the court system or the legal system is the province of forensic psychology.

If you have any more questions about forensic psychology, go to About.com. This has been Dr. Robert Reiner from Behavioral Associates in New York City. Thank you.

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