Hello fellow job-seekers! You are about to embark on an epic journey through the deep catacombs of the university system. You will encounter friend and foe, experience anticipation and frustration, and generally be a complete mess throughout this endeavor. But, fear not! We are here to help with some useful advice on getting a job in forensic psychology (a.k.a. psychology and law, legal psychology). Be sure to check out all of the articles in this series!
This article features useful information on finding an academic job in forensic psychology in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, and Wales), and was written by Karisha George.
Within the UK, there are several avenues at your disposal in the job search. Specifically: www.jobs.ac.uk (for UK jobs), www.findapostdoc.com/ (international postings), www.careeredu.eu/ (UK and EU jobs, and www.postdocjobs.com/ (international postings).
However, it is recommended that you also explore a variety of other places. These include, registering for professional journals and specialist magazines relelvant to forensic psychology as well as becoming a member of professional bodies and associations within the area. Most popular among these is the British Psychological Society. Within each university, there are also a great variety of resources you can make use of. In particular, there are university job websites such as www.york.ac.uk/jobs which lists job openings for the University of York. You should also do important steps such as registering your CV online on websites such as PhDjobs and Monster. Employment agencies can also be of some assistance, but the most promising help comes from the employees within your department. Network and make it known that you are in search of a job. They often know of colleagues who are advertising or will be shortly.
Applications are typically submitted online but the follow-up interview can be done over Skype or in-person, depending on the specific organisation.
For international students (non UK and non EU), opportunities to work in the UK are extremely limited following the increased difficulty in obtaing a work visa. These individuals should limit their search to establishments willing to act as a visa sponsor. In most cases, speaking English fluently is a requirement.
Following a Masters, the typical career path is the completion of a PhD and then entry into a two to three year postdoctoral research positions, including postdoctoral researcher jobs and independent teaching fellow positions. Here, the general salary ranges from 27,000 to 35,000 pounds for postdoctoral research and 35,000 to 44,000 pounds as a teaching fellow.
Being accepted as a lecturer typically follows acquiring experience in these areas. However, the general yardstick is one's publishing career. If you can publish, you should. It is this that determines that your research is worthy and improves your chances for getting a lectureship position. Within research-based universities, having the experience of postdoctoral research and as a teaching fellow is important. But in a teaching-focused university, the publishing history is more primordial, no matter what your position has been. The key is to be passionate about your research, your suitability for the job and your relevant qualifications.
Jobs are typically posted all year round so keep a look out. But they do increase in frequency in the fall. Typically, jobs begin in the autumn term, October-December.
Non-academically, there are a range of options within the public sector and publishing. You can become a reviewer for a journal or take on administrative responsibilites such as as Academic Registrar or working in the Careers Service within tertiary institutions. Here, the main aim is to make use of the skills and analytical thinking you developed while doing your graduate studies to build on the resources which the universities or journals over the wider public.
As a forensic/psyc-law graduate, academically, the main options include research and teaching as a postdoctoral researcher or a teaching fellow as explained above. This can be within a forensic psychology area, such as with eyewitnesses or sexual offenders. But it can also be in the more general areas of mental health and trauma.Below is a list of some academic posts available currently in the UK, which may be of interest to forensic/psyc-law psychologists graduates:
For more details on finding a job in specific countries, read our country-specific posts!