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Forensic psychology is a specialized field that involves the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the legal and judicial systems. Sometimes, forensic psychology is used as a broad term to refer to subtypes of this field, such as investigative psychology or criminology, although forensic psychology includes the study of and practice with both criminals and those who are involved in civil court.
Psychological assistants work in prisons, juvenile detention centers and correctional facilities to assist higher-level psychologists with a variety of tasks. They may complete assessments, conduct clinical interviews, run groups with inmates and perform other tasks as needed to support psychology staff members. To work as a psychological assistant in a forensic setting, you generally need to have at least a bachelor's degree in psychology or criminal justice. Relevant experience working with offenders or with people in legal settings is also advisable.
Many forensic psychologists choose to focus their careers on research, helping to develop new and innovative methods of forensic psychology practice and interventions. They may specialize in finding new methods for jury selection, examine the impact of divorce or separation on children, research effective treatment methods for offenders, focus on psychological profiling or research any other area that involves the interaction between the law and psychology. Researchers in forensic psychology almost always have doctoral degrees in psychology. Forensic psychology researchers often obtain positions in academia to supplement their research work, such as teaching courses in forensic psychology at colleges and universities.
Related Reading: Is a Forensic Psychologist & a Criminal Profiler the Same Thing?
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