One of the popular images of forensic psychologists is that they are serial killer hunters, behavioral experts that rival the greatest fictional sleuths. The only problem with that image is that it’s not entirely accurate. While it is true that forensic psychologists can offer invaluable insight into the minds of serial killers and they’ve helped hunt countless murderers in the past it’s not the only thing that they do! In fact, it’s a very small part of the job. While the FBI estimates that there are between 30 and 50 active serial killers operating in the United States at any given time, there are far more forensic psychologists out there. They don’t all get the serial killer cases!
You will find that as a forensic psychologist, you will be working a wide variety of different types of cases. You might work on creating a profile for an arsonist or a rapist. You might not even work directly with law enforcement for that matter. Instead, you might be working within the courts and determining if people are competent enough to stand trial. You could work on jury selection, or even come in as an expert witness providing testimony for the prosecution or defense during the trial. Some even go right into research after they receive their degree or doctorate.
These are just some of the areas in which you might work when you are a forensic psychologist. As you can see, you are going to be doing quite a bit more than chasing serial killers. The job is interesting, and you should be able to find quite a few exciting cases that will rival even the biggest cases you’ve studied. It is a wonderful field where you will be able to learn more about the human mind, and how the criminal mind works.