Criminal Psychology major

May 19, 2020

Psychology | Rider University

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in criminal psychology and related programs in criminal justice and forensic psychology. Read on to learn more about career options along with certification and salary information.

Criminal psychology is a rare major, and very few colleges currently offer a criminal psychology degree. However, those who want to major in something similar have the option of majoring in psychology and minoring in criminal justice. Another version of this degree program is called forensic psychology; the most common degrees for forensic psychology can be found at the bachelor's and master's levels. The following chart provides more information.

Psychologist Probation Officer
Degree Required Doctoral Bachelor's
Training Required Internship, residency, or supervised clinical experience Government probation-officer training
Key Responsibilities Help patients understand their problems and modify their behavior Choose a method of rehabilitation, supervise electronic and drug monitoring, monitor offenders through regular contact
Licensure/ Certification License required, certification optional Certification sometimes required
Job Growth (2012-22) 12% (as fast as average)* -1% (little or no change)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The purpose of criminal psychology is to understand why crimes occur and how to prevent them in the future. Your job will be to look at statistics and patterns, and gain skills in criminal profiling and preventing crimes. Some of the skills necessary to work in this field are analysis, research, problem-solving, critical thinking and listening.

When studying forensic psychology, you may find that the majority of courses focus in psychology and criminal justice. The psychology curriculum covers topics in development, personality, abnormal behavior, criminal psychology, forensic psychology, and crime and violence. You also take criminal justices courses in juvenile delinquency, court systems, research, culture, society, ethics and laws.

What Jobs Are Available to Me with This Degree?

Most jobs that are available with this degree are in law enforcement, corrections, social work, probation and court systems. You may also work with lawyers and officers to provide criminology and consult on crimes.

Becoming a psychologist or counselor is also an option for graduates in this field. As a psychologist, you help rehabilitate ex-convicts and recovering addicts. The main focus of correctional systems is to rehabilitate criminals, so that they will not commit the crime again after leaving the system. If you work in a clinical setting, you are required to be licensed in all 50 states. Check with your state's board of health to discover certifications and requirements for licensure. The American Board of Professional Psychology offers certification that is nationally recognized by employers (

What Kind of Money Can I Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, psychologists made a median yearly salary of $68, 900, while probation officers and case managers made a median salary of $49, 060 per year ( As a probation or parole officer, you will use psychology to help get ex-convicts back on their feet.

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Why the Criminal Justice Major?
Why the Criminal Justice Major?
Download An Introduction to Criminal Psychology ebook {PDF
Download An Introduction to Criminal Psychology ebook {PDF ...