Skills that you need for forensic psychology jobs include strong research abilities, critical thinking skills, a good working knowledge of the legal system, and solid spoken and written communication skills. An aspiring forensic psychologist also needs a thorough background in clinical psychology practices and procedures. Many types of forensic psychology jobs require work alongside law enforcement personnel, so familiarity with the criminal justice system is an additional requirement in many instances. Forensic psychology training typically consists of a four-year undergraduate degree followed by specialized postgraduate work in psychology, forensics, and law.
Most forensic psychology jobs entail a good amount of detailed research in various legal matters as they apply to various areas of mental health. The ability to quickly find relevant information in law libraries and electronic databases is a frequent job requirement. You will also be asked to formulate various conclusions from this detailed information that will help teams of lawyers prove their arguments in a certain case. The specific subject matter of this research can include employment law, insurance claim law, and family law just to name a few. Solid and efficient research skills are typically one of the first hiring decision factors that potential employers consider when you apply for some of your first forensic psychology jobs.
Proficiency in critical thinking is beneficial in a variety of jobs, but it is considered an especially vital skill in your forensic psychology career. The ability to examine sets of evidence, apply scientific hypotheses, and test those hypotheses is another frequent requirement for this type of work in various areas of the law and justice system. Successful forensic psychologists are also capable of formulating reports based on hard evidence without the interference of biases or unrelated circumstances. An additional component of critical thinking applied to forensic psychology is the ability to quickly apply principles of both psychology and the law to a wide range of legal cases.
To do well in most forensic psychology jobs, you will need strong communication skills for presenting your findings in courts of law as well as in various police investigation settings. The ability to maintain a professional demeanor in stressful situations is also a valued characteristic. Forensic psychologists regularly prepare evaluations and other types of reports to be submitted as evidence in criminal trials, so clear and precise written communication skills make up an important prerequisite as well.