After Richard Nelson was shot and killed by police officers during what should have been a routine traffic stop, the need for more mental health professionals in Hawaii became very clear. Nelson was one of many mental health patients awaiting a mental health evaluation, a wait that can take months due to a shortage of forensic psychologists in Hawaii. According to Daryl Matthews, one of Hawaii’s forensic psychologists, Nelson’s violent reaction to being pulled over may have been avoidable had his evaluation and subsequent treatment been conducted in a more timely manner.
Due to this and other similar incidents, the Hawaii Department of Health has implemented many new strategies to improve preventative measures in mental health. These new plans have created many open positions for forensic psychologists in Hawaii. The high demand has also caused salaries to become very competitive for Hawaii’s forensic psychologists.
Job Growth and Salary Expectations for Forensic Psychologists in Hawaii
The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations estimates that the forensic psychology field will grow by approximately one percent each year, equivalent to thirty new jobs being created each year.
Forensic psychologists in Hawaii receive salaries that are quite competitive compared to the U.S. national averages in the same field:
- Experienced (U.S.): $113,600
- Mid-Career (U.S.): $68,900
- Entry-Level (U.S: $40,100
- Experienced (HI): $148,400
- Mid-Career (HI): $68,100
- Entry-Level (HI): $42,000
Salaries for Forensic Psychologists in Hawaii’s Major Metro and Non-Metro Areas
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2014, there are approximately 770 forensic psychologists working in Hawaii. The statewide average salary for forensic psychologists is $87,620. Though detailed statistics about salaries in the Hawaii nonmetropolitan area have not been released, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the nonmetropolitan area employs 140 of Hawaii’s forensic psychologists.
The majority of the forensic psychologists in Hawaii are located in the Honolulu metropolitan area. Psychologists here earn an average salary of $79,730.
For a more detailed analysis of forensic psychology salaries in Hawaii, see the chart below (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014):