WinterDawn
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I am interested in finding out what sort of job opportunities are available for Forensic Psychologists in this sector. I am about to embark on an BSc (Honours) Forensic Psychology course with the Open University and want to ensure that there is potential for a career on completion - subject to results and placements etc.

Are any of you on this career path? Would you like to share any pearls of wisdom?

I believe that there are opportunities within the prison service and secure medical sector but are these positions readily available? Is it a case of 'dead man's shoes'?

Are there other paths that I could venture down with this degree that I may not be aware of?

I'd appreciate any information that you'd be kind enough to share.

Many thanks, Dawn
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Liv1204
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It is a very difficult area to get into, and it is very competitive, especially in the current job situation - there are fewer prisons than there used to be and it is hard to get into it. But there are positions out there, and someone has to get them - there's no reason why it shouldn't be you! I would suggest that they best thing you can do is to try and get as much relevant experience as possible throughout your degree. That will put you in good stead for getting onto the Masters course afterwards, and then onto Stage 2 after that. I'd look into any voluntary experience you can get in relevant areas - prison volunteer work, volunteer positions with ex-offenders or young offenders, acting as an Appropriate Adult in police stations, drug and alcohol helplines, Victim Support or Witness Support, mental health, anything that you can use to apply your skills to.

As you said, main job opportunities mentioned for Forensic Psychologists tend to be the prison service or secure units (and there are almost always opportunities out there for work in secure mental health, although it may be that you need to 'work yourself in', through starting with experience for example as a Healthcare Assistant, assistant psychologist, whatever you can find). Forensic psychology can also be useful for work in social services, the probation services, the police, etc. You could also go into consultancy work as a Forensic Psychologist (that can vary, but e.g. acting as an expert witness, advising on the mental health of a defendant, all sorts of things). Then there's obviously things like research and academia - some forensic psychologists will do applied work part-time and also teach part-time in universities, for example.

This doesn't add much to what you already know, but good luck! I had an offer for an MSc Forensic Psychology degree and in the end turned it down and went towards Sport & Exercise Psych, but forensic psychology is so interesting, I don't think you will regret going for it!
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hannah1990x
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Hi Dawn,

I have just stumbled across your thread here about forensic psychologists.

I completed a degree in forensic psychology in 2012 then actually went on to do an MSc in Criminology due to the lack of jobs available in forensic psychology and the amount of time it takes just to be qualified to do anything - a degree, a masters then 2 years training before you get anywhere. I have also found that there is a lack of full time, permanent job roles in this area. I would suggest doing something more general psychology wise if you are still interested in psychology and maybe look at NHS or social services. I chose criminology in the end after my degree due to wider gates being opened. Hope this helps?

Thanks,
Hannah
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JamesManc
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Psychology is a dead field, get out while you can. Clinical is the only area with numerous jobs however places are so limited on training courses that most graduates will end up in McDonald's.
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LJStudent
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(Original post by JamesManc)
Psychology is a dead field, get out while you can. Clinical is the only area with numerous jobs however places are so limited on training courses that most graduates will end up in McDonald's.
You clearly don't know what you're talking about. A Psychology degree has so many transferable skills that you can do a lot of jobs - marketing, sales, business, hell even banking if you wanted to! I'm planning on using my Psychology degree to become an estate agent. Don't talk about things you're ignorant about, that's my advice.
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CCC75
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(Original post by JamesManc)
Psychology is a dead field, get out while you can. Clinical is the only area with numerous jobs however places are so limited on training courses that most graduates will end up in McDonald's.
No one "ends up in McDonalds" due to possessing a psychology degree, that's nonsense. It demonstrates an ignorance of the huge scale of roles that psychology permeates to utter such rubbish.

I have worked with pyschologists within the looked after children, education, youth offending and court service sectors. I have earned good money delivering cognitive behavioural therapy development programmes before even fully appreciating what the basis of the approach was. I have returned to study psychology as a mature student because it has been the common thread throughout a 20 year career in the fore-mentioned fields, up to consultant level.

I have said it on previous threads on the subject, do not limit employment searches in the field of psychology to those with psychology in the title. Particularly in your case where you interest lies in forensic psychology, there are plenty of progressive roles within secure settings and criminal justice sectors where a pyschology degree is sought after and the rewards, in terms of salary, are generous.

Get some work experience to decide the sector that pulls you the most and go for it!
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JamesManc
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(Original post by CCC75)
No one "ends up in McDonalds" due to possessing a psychology degree, that's nonsense. It demonstrates an ignorance of the huge scale of roles that psychology permeates to utter such rubbish.

I have worked with pyschologists within the looked after children, education, youth offending and court service sectors. I have earned good money delivering cognitive behavioural therapy development programmes before even fully appreciating what the basis of the approach was. I have returned to study psychology as a mature student because it has been the common thread throughout a 20 year career in the fore-mentioned fields, up to consultant level.

I have said it on previous threads on the subject, do not limit employment searches in the field of psychology to those with psychology in the title. Particularly in your case where you interest lies in forensic psychology, there are plenty of progressive roles within secure settings and criminal justice sectors where a pyschology degree is sought after and the rewards, in terms of salary, are generous.

Get some work experience to decide the sector that pulls you the most and go for it!
No it doesn't, psychology is on its way out, trust me. Actuarial prediction tells us that a lay member delivering therapy is as efficient as a qualified psychologist and I am a qualified one.
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CCC75
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(Original post by JamesManc)
No it doesn't, psychology is on its way out, trust me. Actuarial prediction tells us that a lay member delivering therapy is as efficient as a qualified psychologist and I am a qualified one.
And having a degree in psychology will prevent you gaining senior/leadership roles in these positions? Clinical psychology and expert court witness role requirements are being reduced to lay person, unqualified applicants? A few links to support that claim please.

If you are struggling to gain positions after graduating that is most likely because of neglecting to gain at least a little relevant experience alongside your degree. Not an indication that the whole sector is 'on its way out'.
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Dr.Psych
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(Original post by JamesManc)
No it doesn't, psychology is on its way out, trust me. Actuarial prediction tells us that a lay member delivering therapy is as efficient as a qualified psychologist and I am a qualified one.
I'm sorry, but that is just not true. Some recent research shows that Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Nurses delivering a manualised therapy with a very specific client group (usually samples of individuals who have been screened to the point that they don't actually represent the complexity seen in everyday practice settings like the NHS, private practice or forensic settings) get the same outcomes, yes. However, research also shows that if you adhere to a manualised approach, and don't have the expertise the realise when that isn't working for the client, then you actually achieve worse outcomes.

Yes, the NHS and government in general is moving toward employing cheaper alternatives, but that's happening all over, not just in Psychology. At the end of the day, the public and medical practitioners consistently state that they want to have Psychologists leading on psychological interventions, not nurses or counsellors; and IMHO there are very good, solid reasons for that, chief among which is that we're the most highly trained of those groups.
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