1. Home: Explore careers
  2. Forensic psychologist

Forensic psychologist

Alternative titles for this job include Criminal psychologist, investigative psychologist, legal psychologist

Forensic psychologists study criminal behaviour and help people who have committed crimes.

Average salary (a year)

£27,000 Starter

to

£54,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a forensic psychologist

You can get into this job through a university course or by working towards this role.

University

To become a forensic psychologist, you can either follow the accredited degree process or complete a doctorate programme.

Accredited degree process

To become a forensic psychologist, you'll need to:

  1. Do a psychology degree or conversion course that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
  2. Apply for graduate membership to obtain the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).
  3. Do a masters degree in forensic psychology that is accredited by BPS.
  4. Do 2 years of supervised practice as part of stage 2 of the BPS qualification in forensic psychology.

Doctorate programme

Alternatively, some universities offer a doctorate programme in forensic psychology. This is the equivalent of the accredited masters degree and 2 years of supervised practice.

There's a lot of competition for postgraduate training. To apply, you might need:

  • a first or upper second class (2:1) degree
  • evidence of excellent research skills
  • relevant work experience, for example in a prison, probation or youth offending service

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
  • 3 A levels or equivalent

More Information

Work

You may be able to start your career as an interventions facilitator in HM Prison Service.

You could study for a psychology degree part-time while you work. You could then apply for a trainee forensic psychologist role.

More Information

Registration

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the The British Psychological Society for professional recognition and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a forensic psychologist from The British Psychological Society and Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a typical day, you could:

  • help police identify possible suspects which is known as criminal profiling
  • advise on how to reduce stress and improve life inside prisons
  • provide psychological therapy to help people understand and overcome their problems
  • carry out research, prepare risk assessments and reports and help to write policies
  • offer advice to parole boards, mental health tribunals and courts
  • train new psychologists

Working environment

You could work in a prison, in an NHS or private hospital or at a police station.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding and you'll travel often.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could:

  • run the psychology department in a prison
  • move into a policy, strategy or management role
  • move into freelance and consultant work, for example as an expert witness

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a forensic psychologist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Psychology

  • Provider: KING ECGBERT SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2023
  • Location: Sheffield

Psychology

  • Provider: THE DEEPINGS SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2023
  • Location: Peterborough

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.