Individuals in the field of criminal justice psychology work to understand why people commit the crimes that they commit. This search for understanding leads people in these careers to such activities as giving testimony in court, researching criminal’s lives and profiling potential perpetrators of crimes based on available information, as well as predicting possible next-steps of violent criminals.
A criminal justice or forensic psychologist will also be called upon to give their professional opinion of the likelihood of certain individuals for returning to the same criminal behavior after corrective action has been taken. Due to these extensive and weighty job requirements, many of the careers in this field require a doctorate degree gained through admittance to highly competitive programs.
Because of the competition in this field, it might be helpful to look at a section of this area of study that is growing at a rapid rate: cyber and Internet crimes. In recent years, law-enforcement agencies have begun to call more and more often on those with a knowledge of psychology to profile and make educated guesses about internet predators or perpetrators of internet-based crimes to help reduce fraud and other cyber crimes in a world of ever-growing cyber possibilities.
While criminal justice psychologists work closely with law enforcement officials, they are not always employed by the same entities, some of them even being self-employed, or employed by private companies. The type of employer criminal psychologists work for will determine the pay range, as the range varies significantly depending on the circumstances of employment.