Among the fastest growing and perhaps the most interesting branches of psychology, forensic psychology, is expected by the United States Department of Labor to increase about 15% through 2016.

There are numerous career opportunities for those who have a master’s degree in adult and juvenile correctional facilities, in forensic assessment clinics and mental health institutions, as well as federal, state and local government agencies. However, a specialized doctorate degree in psychology or perhaps a medical degree in psychiatry, is critical to practice as an expert witness in a court of law and to assess someone’s criminal behavior.

Expert witnesses who are accredited psychologists are called to testify in court trials in order to offer an unprejudiced judgment regarding the mental health of the accused. Professional forensic psychologists or psychiatrists are expected to provide a professional medical opinion on whether the offender intentionally and willfully committed the crime or whether the charged was crazy when the crime was committed. Reliability as an expert witness is going to influence the results of a trial and sentence given to the arrested. In such cases, your previous expertise in a courtroom together with the years of knowledge from working in the field of forensic psychology will determine your reliability as a professional and expert on the subject at hand.

To reach an expert opinion, the forensic psychologist is required to examine the history of the accused, the accused’s family, friends and past criminal and psychiatric behavior. The forensic psychologist is also supposed to interview, to analyze, and to separate fact from fantasy, truth from lies and deliberate fraud. Generally, a clinical psychologist who is managing an individual is working with an individual client to help the client work through their problems and the client is there voluntarily. Forensic psychologists, however, have to work with mentally unstable and in some cases violent patients that are unwilling to be psychoanalyzed. In this case, the forensic psychologist is not there to aid the accused and it is not really a relationship based on trust and privacy. Thus, it’s incredibly important that forensic psychologists tell the truth, be respectable, and have an understanding of the way the justice system works.

Just about any major university or college, both on the internet and off, offers degree programs in psychology. Understand that nearly all psychologists who progress to be forensic psychologists possess a doctorate or Psy.D. As you can imagine, the salary of a forensic psychologist is very good, starting from $53,500 for master’s degree holders, all the way up to $102,736 for doctoral degree holders, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you’re in need of additional information pertaining to a forensic psychology salary, be sure to visit