Criminal psychologist career: Skills, scope, jobs and education qualification

The purpose of a criminal psychologist is to look into thoughts, intents, purpose, and the actions of felons and all that builds the criminal behaviour. Eventually it is a form of science dealing with the mind and mental processes of a criminal.

New Delhi | Updated: October 4, 2017 5:07:00 pm
Criminal psychologist, career psychologist, how to become Criminal psychologist Taking up criminal psychology as a career needs a lot of thought

What could be the possible reason for an increase in crimes these days? How can society together take steps to prevent offences? These are some of the questions that a criminal psychologist attempts to answer. Their job is not only to know what makes someone pull a crime, but also the reactions after the crime, on the run or in court. In every legal system, a criminal psychologist has a vital part to play, as they can reveal certain important facts about criminals to help breakthrough cases.

It is these challenges that many aspirants wish to take criminal psychology interesting. But taking up criminal psychology as a career needs a lot of thought. Here we tell you what you need to have it

Skills and challenges of a criminal psychologist

Taking up criminal psychology as a career needs a lot of thought. If you decide this is the right option for you, spend some time in evaluating your capabilities, aptitude and goals. As the nature of this occupation is quite dynamic, you may find yourself dealing with some truly disturbing situations. Some skills that are key for a criminal psychologist to posses are strong intuition as things are often not clear as to what is true or false.

For one to be analytical and observational as the person speaks a lot through his reactions and surroundings. Problem-solving is another attribute required because you will never be short of problems to decipher, verbal and written communication skills; patience; ability to empathise with and console relatives of victims; ability to identify and interpret patterns. Well, the best way to find out if you really are made for this job is by talking with an active criminal psychologist.

Career of a criminal psychologist

A criminal psychologist has a considerable amount of time consumed in interviewing people, researching an offender’s life history, or providing expert testimony in the courtroom. A professional criminal psychologist is often summoned by the court to help the jury in taking of certain decisions in relation to the crimes committed by assessing the criminals. This is the whole outline of the job.

Criminal psychologists are hired in a number of fields. Some work for local, state, or federal government, while others are self-employed as freelance consultants. While some, take up teaching criminal psychology at the university level or at specialised criminology training facilities. In the rising questionable and hard to please the criminal world, well-versed criminal psychologists will likely turn out well.


The basic requirement for getting admission to any undergraduate criminology course is Class 12 certificate with either arts or science. The duration of the undergraduate level courses is usually 3 years. Both undergraduate (BA/B Sc) and postgraduate (MA/M Sc) courses in criminology are offered by various institutes.

For admission to a PG course, one has to be a graduate with science or arts subjects. A number of institutions in India are offering courses which pass on superior education degree in psychology.  Students from all streams can pursue Humanities as their major at the undergraduate level.

Some colleges conduct entrance tests while in most others, the admission is granted on the basis of the marks received in 10+2 or its equivalent.
Job opportunities
Criminal psychologists are often needed to accompany police officers to crime scenes in order to help asses the evidence. Moreover, as the crimes are considered to be committed by serial murderers, criminal psychologists may be accessed to help evaluate and discover patterns and clues.

Due to the potentially dangerous circumstances involved in law enforcement, many criminal psychologists, especially those employed by the bureau, will undergo firearms training. Turning out successful in this field is not very easy. However, for those with the vigour, endurance and critical thinking skills, it can be a rewarding occupation.

The author Anuja Kapur is a famous criminal psychologist based in New Delhi

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