Mythbusting a Forensic Psychology Career

Topics: Forensic Psychology

Published on: 11/22/23 1:45 PM

Mythbusting a Forensic Psychology Career

Turn on the television, and the appeal of a career in forensic psychology seems very clear. First impressions tell us it’s an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride, meticulously strategized like a chess match, outsmarting criminals on every turn. 

Shows like "Criminal Minds" and "Mindhunter" have cast a spotlight on the forensic psychology career, leading to a surge of interest in the field. But are these TV portrayals in line with reality? Join us as we dig deeper, busting the myths about a forensic psychology career.

The Roots of Forensic Psychology Careers

Though the roots of forensic psychology started in the 1800s, the field wasn’t formally recognized by the American Psychological Association until 2001. During that time, many forensic psychologists emerged and contributed to significant court cases such as Frye v. the United States and Brown v. Board of Education.

The popularized version of forensic psychology that we see in criminal profiling got its start in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, it’s important to note that while criminal psychology and forensic psychology have similar applications, the roots of their studies differ. 

Criminal psychology focuses heavily on a criminal’s intent and motivations, while forensic psychology is the intersection of law and psychology. You can pursue a career in criminal profiling with a degree in forensic psychology. Read how: How to Become a Criminal Profiler with a Degree in Psychology.

Shattering Common Forensic Psychology Misconceptions

What else have popular television shows misconstrued? While much of what they show is accurate, there are some significant misconceptions to clear up. Here are some that most frequently come up for our expert faculty members: 

Myth 1: Forensic Psychology is All About Criminal Profiling

Interestingly, your job in this field extends beyond what you see on TV. Your tasks could range from assisting law enforcement agencies and advising on jury selection to evaluating a defendant's competency to stand trial—a realm far and wide beyond just criminal profiling.

Myth 2: The Job is Always Thrilling

Like any other profession, your day as a forensic psychologist will be a healthy blend of excitement and routine tasks. It needs the patience of piecing together a jigsaw puzzle—meticulously researching cases, writing detailed assessments, and preparing testifying reports. Not every moment is a roller-coaster ride, but each task carries immense significance in delivering justice—something few other professions offer.

Myth 3: Forensic Psychologists are in Dangerous Scenarios Daily

While the job involves dealing with criminal cases, it doesn’t mean you’ll constantly find yourself in the midst of danger zones. Most of your work will be conducted in an office or a courtroom, providing crucial insights that shape fair and just outcomes in the criminal justice system.

Shaping Your Forensic Psychology Career

How do you take the next step in realizing your dream career in forensic psychology? By investing in an advanced degree in forensic psychology. Couple it with relevant professional experience and a solid grip on state licensure, and you're lining up toward a successful career.

In order to be successful in forensic psychology, having an advanced understanding of psychological principles and analysis tactics is key to progress in the field. Depending on your current academic resume, an MS in Forensic Psychology is a direct and comprehensive foundation for your future career. 

Neumann University's Forensic Psychology Program

At Neumann University, we're here to support you towards your career in forensic psychology. Our comprehensive, affordable program equips you with the industry-approved skills and knowledge for your career growth.

Your forensic psychology career is not just about the cases you solve—it's about the communities you serve, the justice you uphold, and the difference you make. It's about carving a brighter future for yourself and the world around you. 

Our program can be completed in two years and will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to enter the field with authority. Taught by experienced faculty including Jamie Maginnis, studying forensic psychology at Neumann means you have access to a world of knowledge and a vast network of experts. 

You’ll take classes like: 

  • Psychopathology
  • Criminal Behavior 
  • Intelligence Analysis of Terrorism
  • Electronic Intelligence Analysis
  • Crisis Intervention

If you’re ready to learn more, dig into forensic psychology and imagine spending your career in this lucrative field.

Learn More

Bettsy McKlaine

 Bettsy McKlaine

About The Author: Bettsy McKlaine is the Executive Director of Enrollment Management, Degree Completion & Graduate Programs at Neumann University and a proud Alumna. The Neumann Community has become her second family and she loves to interact with students, both from the undergraduate and graduate population. Her favorite time of year is at the start of each semester as students begin classes!


Download our NEW guide to Earning a College Degree Online

Online Degree Completion Portrait Thumbnail with borderDownload Now




We are excited to connect with you each week!