Forensic psychologists are expert witnesses who offer their opinions in both civil and criminal court matters. Qualifications include a doctorate in psychology - that takes an educational investment of about seven years - a license to practice psychology and relevant work experience. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is one employer of forensic psychologists, employing them in a number of ways.
The FBI hires pretrial investigators who engage in a variety of tasks including listening to defendant testimonies, commenting on any signs of deception such as failure to maintain eye contact, advising in matters such as jury selection - either picking out the best jurors or excluding the worst - or examining witness statements for incongruities. The FBI works on criminal and civil cases, and hires forensic psychologists to prepare pretrial evaluations, assessing factors such as ability to stand trial and mental competency. Salary is commensurate with experience.
Crime Scene Consultant
The Behavioral Science division of the FBI employs psychologists as crime scene consultants. These professionals work with a multidisciplinary team to examine a crime scene to see what the physical clues suggest about the behaviors that occurred during the crime. The psychologist speculates as to what these behaviors say about the psychological makeup of the offender and what they tell him about the victim, as both were at the crime scene. Based on the extent of mutilation of a corpse, for example, a crime scene consultant might make statements about the offender's arousal to sadism. He would then testify in court as to his findings. Anthony Pinnozotto, Ph.D., chief psychologist of the behavioral science unit overseeing crime consultation, explains that crime scene consultants are equal parts psychologist and criminal investigator, examining different aspects of a crime scene to tell the story of what happened there. The FBI lists the salary of crime scene consultants as commensurate with experience.
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