Criminal psychology is the most recognized field of psychology thanks to the popularity of crime shows. This niche speciality is invaluable to helping law enforcement catch criminals and prevent further crimes. For those who enjoy crime novels and discovering the intricacies and anomalies of the brain, working in the field of criminal psychology can be very rewarding. Take a look at what criminal psychologists do and understand the ins and outs of this important field. 

What is a criminal psychologist? 

Criminal psychologists study the minds of people who commit crimes. They work to understand the thoughts, reactions, and intentions of a criminal before, during, and after committing a crime. Occasionally a criminal psychologist may accompany law enforcement to a crime scene to help evaluate evidence. In addition to delving into the mind of offenders, criminal psychologists work with victims of crime to help them process trauma. 

Roles and responsibilities 

Criminal psychologists work together with law enforcement to solve crimes. They also spend a lot of time in court providing expert testimony for cases. When in court, a criminal psychologist helps the jury better understand the offender’s mind. Lawyers and attorneys work closely with criminal psychologists to prepare for trials. Lawyers often select juries with the aid of criminal psychologists and rely on them to frame the questions that will be asked during a trial. 

Perhaps one of the most important duties of a criminal psychologist is criminal profiling. This psychological assessment gives law enforcement strategies and suggestions that are useful during interrogations. A criminal psychologist’s evaluation of an offender impacts whether or not they will stand trial. If a criminal psychologist believes a criminal is too mentally unstable to stand trial, the criminal may be sent to a mental institution instead of prison. 

Criminal profiles include extensive information about the individual, as well as a mugshot. It’s easy to find mugshot records online since this is considered public record. Go Look Up allows users to access millions of public records and perform unlimited searches for mug shots, criminal records, arrest records, background checks, and court records. Almost any information that is public record can be found on Go Look Up. 


Becoming a criminal psychologist requires a wealth of specialized knowledge and extensive training. In addition to having expertise in psychology, they need to have full understanding of the laws surrounding mental health and criminal actions. This career path requires a bachelor’s degree in psychology, criminal justice, or a related field. Also required is a doctoral degree in either criminal or forensic psychology. 

Typically while earning a doctoral degree, students complete a supervised year-long internship at a related agency or firm. To gain professional experience, many aspiring criminal psychologists complete a post-doctoral fellowship. After completing 3,000 hours of supervised practice in the field, doctoral graduates can become fully licensed in order to legally practice criminal psychology within the court or prison system. 

Hands-on experience may come from clinical practicums, internships, or residencies with government agencies, private consulting firms, hospitals, prisons, or police departments. License requirements vary by state, but most criminal psychologists also get certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology. 

An online forensic psychology degree can be earned at Faulkner University. Their program is designed for students interested in working in law enforcement, legal systems, or juvenile and adult rehabilitation. With the courses provided, students will gain knowledge in forensics and criminal justice, which can be applied to core psychology. 

A successful criminal psychologist has strong intuition, is analytical, observational, and a problem solver. They are also patient, empathetic, able to spot patterns, and typically strong communicators. 

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