How much can forensic psychologists make?

In another blog, I pointed out that we do not have survey data telling us how much forensic psychologists earn, on average. However, how much they can earn is a different question. Answering it does not require survey data.

The answer is simply this: a forensic psychologist in private practice can easily enjoy a six figure income. Consider a forensic psychologist who charges $300 per hour, which is not an uncommon hourly fee. If this forensic psychologist works only ten (10) hours a week for fifty weeks of the year, he or she would have a gross annual income of $150,000. If this same forensic psychologist put in twenty billable hours of work per week, his or her gross annual income would be twice this amount.

Of course, simply calling oneself a forensic psychologist does not automatically guarantee a six figure income. To command a fee of $300 per hour (or even more), you must know what you are doing. No one is going to pay a significant fee to a forensic psychologist who is not familiar with the court rules that apply to expert testimony or who does not know how to draft an effective report, or how to prepare for deposition or trial, or what to do or not do when being deposed or when testifying in court.

Moreover, even if you have the necessary knowledge and skills, you aren’t going to earn a significant amount if you don’t know how to market your practice or how to interact with potential clients, or how to establish a business relationship with your clients.

It’s important to emphasize that you aren’t born with any of this, nor are you likely to learn how to establish a forensic practice in a traditional clinical graduate program.  Although you will use skills you acquired in your graduate program and your clinical practice, it will be up to you to acquire the additional knowledge you need. And how do you acquire this knowledge? There are a few graduate programs in the country that offer courses in forensic psychology. Some of these courses may be helpful. There are also books that may help. And there are DVD programs, such as the program I have produced.

As shown on this website, my program will prepare you for a high quality forensic practice, and will show you how to market it. The cost of the program is miniscule in comparison with the rewards, and it comes with a money back guarantee.

Shirley Feldman-Summers, Ph.D.

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