Criminal Psychologist Job Description

Criminal Psychologist Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a criminal psychologist. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a criminal psychologist.


Who is a Criminal Psychologist?

A Criminal psychologist is a professional who has a specialization in convicting criminals or other people undergoing prosecution for a crime with the sole purpose of rehabilitating them or assisting law enforcement agencies to understand criminal behavior and its influences in society. The criminal psychologist can achieve his or her responsibility by spending a lot of time evaluating actions, thoughts, motives, and reactions. This field is very broad and it is highly paramount for one to be trained in this field. They often collaborate with the judicial sector or system, and law enforcement agencies and also give professional analysis in some areas where necessary. The main responsibility they perform is to embark on research, access behavior, and finally draft reports on the outputs.

A criminal psychologist may access the thoughts and behaviors of criminal offenders and also determine the ability of the criminal to face trial. They are also responsible for providing accurate testimony about the client’s mental state during the commission of a crime.

Criminal psychologists can also work with victimized criminals to help them overcome psychological trauma which came as a result of their experiences. Most criminal psychologists also work with criminals after they have been found guilty to rehabilitate them to associate with society again.

Criminal psychologists often work with the specialization of forensics by applying psychological principles to the criminal justice system. They spend most of their time performing evaluations of the accused and alleged victims. For instance, a criminal psychologist can evaluate a defendant to ascertain his or her competency to face trial. They might also conduct an interview session with a victim to get a clearer picture of events.

Giving expert testimony is another main area of responsibility. They can work in civil, military, and family courts and they can also provide accurate testimony of little children. They may also work with suspects who are children to get a clear picture of events and also to access if the witness can testify or not.

Criminal psychologists can also use their expertise to help criminal justice d attorneys in the court of law. They also assist to select the most competent jurors that are appropriate for a case. They also help prosecutors and defense attorneys to finalize arguments that are persuasive to get a good ground for the case. In high-profile cases, criminal psychologists can be saddled with the responsibility to perform a climate survey to ascertain the level at which pretrial publicity has affected public opinion about a case.

Criminal psychologists may serve in the following capacity:

Criminal profilers

A criminal psychologist can work as a profiler or investigative professional who frequently works with law enforcement agencies. A profiler is an individual who tries to specify a fugitive criminal suspect by evaluating the pieces of evidence that are found at the crime scene. They evaluate the probable behavioral characteristics of an offender who committed a particular crime. They achieve their aim by identifying factors such as physical appearance, educational qualification, geography, occupation, age, and socio-economic status to assist p law enforcement agencies in apprehending the suspects.

Legal Consultants

Some criminal psychologists work with suspects who were once convicted. They interview suspects and perform psychological analysis to discover the potential motivations for their behavior. They also utilize their analysis to determine if suspects have the mental capacity to face a trial.

Other capacities

Criminal psychologists can work in other capacities such as correctional institutions and mental health facilities. These professionals may give support to incarcerated or apprehended people to help them endure and develop healthy reactions to their behavior. This is a paramount part of assisting rehabilitated people who demonstrate criminal behavior. Criminal psychologists may also focus on processes that mitigate criminal recidivism and also make individuals discover the consequences of their actions. Not all criminal psychologists work with individuals who have committed high or extremely violent crimes in society.


Criminal Psychologist Job Description

Below are the criminal psychologist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The following are the duties and responsibilities of a criminal psychologist:

  • Performing psychological assessments of individuals who may have committed crimes, including interviewing the individual and reviewing his or her personal history
  • Giving testimony in court regarding an individual’s mental state at the time of an offense or regarding his or her competency to stand trial
  • Giving consultation services to attorneys, social workers, law enforcement officers, judges, schools, businesses, mental health professionals, and other professionals working with children or adults with behavioral problems
  • Performing research on criminal behavior and developing theories to explain criminal conduct
  • Administering psychological testing of defendants to determine their competency to stand trial or their risk of reoffending if released from custody
  • Performing psychological evaluations of criminals to determine whether they are fit to stand trial or meet the legal requirements for sentencing
  • Conducting psychological examinations of victims of abuse to provide recommendations regarding restitution or other legal remedies
  • Accomplishing psychological evaluations of prisoners to assess their risk of reoffending after release from incarceration
  • Giving mental health services to members of the community who are experiencing psychological difficulties
  • Assessing parents in a child custody case to determine who is most suitable to take custody of a child
  • Delivering results/materials that can serve as valid evidence in a court trial
  • Standing as expert witnesses in a law court to substantiate for or against a prosecution/defense
  • Helping with the assessment and selection of the members of the jury for a trial
  • Evaluating and counseling prison inmates aiding them in rehabilitation and social reintegration to reduce the risk of re-offense
  • Instructing principles of criminal psychology to psychology majors in colleges and universities
  • Committing to research and surveys to identify the reasons behind the perpetration of a crime
  • Applying  the results of the research in the examination and interview of a suspect
  • Encouraging law enforcement agencies in creating a profile for an unknown criminal offender
  • Analyzing police methods to recommend necessary adjustments that will boost effectiveness
  • Employing  consultants by various agencies/clients to provide expert recommendations, and help crack a psychological case that usually borders on crime
  • Giving therapy and behavior modification for offenders on probation
  • Boosting attorneys in developing probing questions for a court case.



Education: Most criminal psychologists are required to have a master’s degree in psychology or a similar field which can be forensic psychology or criminal justice. Some criminal psychologists advance their careers by enrolling for a Ph.D. to increase their earnings and also gain promotions. Some criminal psychologists can also acquire a Psy.D. or Doctor of Psychology degree. These programs take a long duration to complete and they include supervises clinical experience.

Training: Most criminal psychologists receive them by enrolling in voluntary internships and residencies. In the course of this internship, a criminal psychologist may work under the supervision of a highly practicing criminal psychologist to learn the basics of the field. They also learn how to assess criminals and also report their findings.

They will complete their period of residency after a supervised practice and completing a doctoral program. In the course of a residency, a criminal psychologist will work under the supervision of a practicing criminal psychologist. They will get to learn how to evaluate if a patient can stand trial or not.

Certification and Licenses: To practice as a criminal, you need to obtain a license that is only issued by the state psychology board. The basic requirement to obtain a license is that you must graduate from a psychological doctorate program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association and also pass a comprehensive exam.

Most states demand that criminal psychologists obtain a license before they can practice. The requirement may differ from state to state. The best option for you is to acquire a doctorate in psychology and complete a one-year internship.


Essential Skills

  1. Investigative Skills: A criminal psychologist, may be summoned to investigate a crime scene or interview a suspect. You need to possess strong investigative skills to gather the right evidence and information that can assist law enforcement officers to settle a case. Possessing investigative skills involves possessing an analytical mindset that can brainstorm and picture how an event takes place.
  2. Empathy: Empathy is the ability to comprehend a person’s feelings or emotions. Criminal psychologists employ empathy skills to understand the actions of criminals. For instance, if a criminal is interviewing an individual convicted of murder, they will engage their empathy skills to understand why the criminal committed the murder. This can help them penetrate the thought process of the victims and also proffer solutions on how to avoid the crime in the future.
  3. Ethics: a criminal psychologist’s ethics is very crucial because it helps them treat people with sound judgment and respect. They also help them to treat their client properly and abide by the law. Ethics are also important in helping criminal psychologist protect their client right.
  4. Objectivity: this has to do with the capacity to remain objective in emotional situations in order not to be influenced. This skill is very important to a psychologist because he will encounter some extreme situations in the course of carrying out his responsibility. This will guarantee, inmates and suspects receive fair treatment in the criminal justice system.
  5. Exceptional Communication Skills: criminal psychologists must be able to communicate effectively which includes active listening and empathy. Criminal psychologists need communication skills to testify in court. They need to possess excellent public speaking skills to remain calm and tense in situations. You should also possess exceptional writing skills to draft your report about a patient and their behavior. This should also show if a patient is competent to face trials or not
  6. Expertise in Psychology and Law: Criminal psychologists are highly trained in principles of human behavior and legal laws. They must possess expertise in law, psychology, and forensics if the need arises.
  7. Expertise in Mental Health Laws: Criminal Psychologists must possess an excellent command of the mental health law. They need to know state statutes. Courtroom proceedings and case laws which is highly vital.


How to Become a Criminal Psychologist

  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The basic step to becoming a criminal is to have a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology, a Bachelor of Psychology a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. If you will love to specialize in criminal justice, then you can get a minor in psychology while you can consider a major in psychology if you choose criminal justice.

  • Acquire an Advanced Degree

Getting an advanced degree is not mandatory as a criminal psychologist but it can increase your job prospects. Some many colleges and universities offer a master’s degree in criminal psychology while others offer a master’s degree in psychology. You can also acquire this master’s degree online. You can also proceed to enroll for your Ph.D. in psychology or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) you need to complete your doctorate to become a licensed criminal psychologist.

  • Get a License

Getting a license as a criminal psychologist is very much necessary for you to evaluate victims or serve as an expert witness in court. The basic requirement for obtaining a license is that you must complete your doctoral program and pass the examination. For instance, in a country like Singapore, you must pass the examination provided by The Singapore Psychological Society. The examination format is usually a computer-based skills assessment and knowledge-based test.

  • Gain work experience

To boost your career in the field of criminal psychology, you must gain professional experience. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can kick start your career by working in the psychological and counseling department to gain experience. You can also work as a behavioral health specialist or Forensic program associate. Your job prospects will keep increasing as you further your education.

  • Complete Continuing Education

Continuing education can help you keep abreast with changes in the law and trends in the industry. You have to remain relevant in the industry and to achieve that you need to pursue continuing education to renew your license and certification. For instance, in Singapore, the Singapore Psychological Society offers approved continuing education courses that expose topics such as contemporary issues in criminal psychology,


Where to Work as a Criminal Psychologist

Criminal Psychologist work in different settings and they work for extended hours which sometimes can be weekends. They usually attend conferences or travel from one place to another to meet clients. They can work in the following places:

  • Courts
  • Social Work
  • Correctional facilities
  • Academic Institutes
  • Mental Health Centers
  • Private Consultancy
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Local, state, and federal government


Criminal Psychologist Salary Scale

The salary of a Criminal Psychologist varies across countries and here are some countries:

  • In the United States, the average Criminal psychologist’s salary in the USA is $86,160 per year or $44.18 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at $68,884 per year while most competent workers make up to $107,503 per year. The average Criminal psychologist’s salary in Washington is $107,604 per year or $55.18 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at $98,622 per year while most experienced workers make up to $114,290 per year. The average Criminal psychologist’s salary in New York is $89,834 per year or $46.07 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at $80,000 per year while most professional workers make up to $131,111 per year.
  • In the United Kingdom, The average Criminal psychologist’s salary in the United Kingdom is £48,105 per year or £24.67 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at £42,000 per year while most professional workers make up to £61,193 per year.
  • In Canada, The average Criminal psychologist’s salary in Canada is $93,873 per year or $48.14 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at $89,661 per year, while most professional workers make up to $111,764 per year.
  • In Saudi Arabia, The average pay for a Criminal Psychologist is SAR 181,334a year and SAR 87 an hour in Madinah Munawara, Saudi Arabia. The average salary range for a Criminal Psychologist is between SAR 125,483 and SAR 221,046. On average, a Master’s Degree is the highest level of education for a Criminal Psychologist.
  • In Germany, The average pay for a Forensic Psychologist is €27,956a year and €13 an hour in Handorf, Germany. The average salary range for a Forensic Psychologist is between €20,799 and €32,988. On average, a Doctorate Degree is the highest level of education for a Criminal Psychologist.
  • In Nigeria, A person working as a Criminal Psychologist in Nigeria typically earns around 1,040,000 NGN per month. Salaries range from 488,000 NGN (lowest) to 1,640,000 NGN (highest).

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