The field of forensic psychiatry is greatly expanding, and so are the number of jobs in forensic psychiatry. Take a look at the types of careers you can pursue as a professional in this field.
Forensic psychiatry is a field that brings together the law and the field of forensic science. In effect, a forensic psychiatrist is someone who continually interacts with lawyers and judges, after interacting with convicted criminals, or victims of crime in an attempt to investigate the mental health of either, and understand the basics of the case in question.
A forensic psychiatrist is trained in the field of medicine, and is also aware of various legal issues and constraints in society. This field is deemed as a potentially dangerous field of psychiatry, as it involves dealing with patients who may pose a serious threat to a mental condition.
The causes that led to a particular crime under the purview of mental health are exactly what are evaluated by forensic psychiatrists. After understanding what is forensic psychiatry, we will discuss some of the forensic psychiatry jobs that those who have specialized in this field can opt for.
However, before we take a look at the various jobs available in this field, one thing should be clarified. There is a difference the field of forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry.
Professionals from the latter are licensed to diagnose and prescribe medication for various mental health conditions, while those from the former are confined to the field of research and interviews.
Any job in the field of forensic psychiatry requires certain personal skills and qualities. It is necessary that the psychiatrist be a curious person by nature, and a natural learner who absorbs information easily.
With the vastness of law and the complex nature of mental health, this attribute is absolutely necessary. Further, preparedness for the risk in the job is necessary. Such professionals will be dealing with criminals who may have committed serious offenses such as murder, rape, and other such crimes.
Since this profession involves dealing with the law at large, the ability to clearly express one's opinion and state it in a crisp manner is required of forensic psychiatrists.
These individuals cannot be emotional or affected by either what the law says about them, or what they believe a convict is going through. Having an objective, practical approach is essential in this field. If you think these are some skills you possess, or that you can develop, take a look at the various jobs you can take up in this field.
Jobs in the field of Forensic Psychiatry
Forensic psychiatrists usually work closely with law enforcement agencies based on their role.
They may work with lawyers as private consultants, where they are expected to understand the complexities of the mental health of the offenders, provide expert opinion, and testify for or against them.
They may also work in mental health facilities or in prisons. Some forensic psychiatrists also find employment in rehabilitation facilities.
Forensic psychiatry nursing is another field open to those qualified in this field. This field implements the knowledge of nursing along with that of understanding the complexities of mental health, and such nurses are usually assistants to forensic psychiatrists.
Such nurses gather evidence pertaining to a case, and then move on to patient care for the victims. This includes both, physical care, as well as the need to make the patient emotionally stable. Such professionals may work with both, hospitals as well as law enforcement agencies.
Occupational therapy is also included in this field to rehabilitate convicts who cannot be tried due to the state of their mental health. Such individuals work closely with qualified forensic psychiatrists who analyze triggers for unhealthy behavior, and have them perform tasks that does not trigger such behavior.
They enable the patient to learn skills that will help them lead a normal, independent life. Motivating patients and developing their interest in leading a normal life, even when under rehabilitation, is the job of an occupational therapist who is also qualified as a forensic psychiatrist.
Apart from working in these settings, the field of social work is also open to forensic psychiatrists, where such professionals are termed as forensic psychiatric social workers. Such professionals work in teams with other social workers, particularly in correctional facilities.
Here, they provide therapy after understanding various case histories, and also provide an appropriate treatment method. They assist patients who require rehabilitation and slowly reintroduce them to a normal life. They may help with finding them housing facilities, jobs, etc.
Any of the aforementioned jobs not only require a specialized degree in forensic psychiatry, but also a degree in the field of work they specialize in. For instance, to be a forensic psychiatric nurse, you require to be a licensed nurse. Similar is the case with the fields of social work and occupational therapy.
The outlook for jobs in this field looks positive with the increasing demand for forensic experts among law enforcement agencies. The forensic psychiatry salary varies based on the way such professionals charge their fees. The fees may be charged on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis.
Some charge a flat rate for the entire case. Salaries will also vary based on the level of expertise of the forensic psychiatrist. Since there is a difference between a forensic psychologist and a forensic psychiatrist, the salary of a forensic psychologist will be different from that of a forensic psychiatrist.
A forensic psychiatrist can earn anywhere between US $40,350 and US $68,600 in a year. With experience, the salary range will also increase.
Resilience, determination, curiosity, and hard work is what will help you achieve greater heights in any of these jobs. If you think you are made for this field, brace yourself, for you are in for a very interesting ride. Good luck!