According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago unfortunately has one of the highest violent crime rates among major U.S. cities. Although the violent crime rate per capita has slowly been decreasing, there were still over 500 murders in Chicago in 2012 alone, prompting the FBI to nickname the city “the murder capital.”
These staggering numbers call for concerted collaboration between the criminal justice system and forensic psychologists. There are many ways in which Illinois forensic psychologists are able to use their expertise as it relates to homicide research, criminal pathology and much more:
- Child protective services
- Expert witness
- Victim assistance
- Elderly abuse investigation
- Court-appointed advocacy
- Independent consulting
- Healthcare facilities
Job Growth and Salary Expectations for Forensic Psychologists in Illinois
The Chicago metropolitan area is abundant with job opportunities for forensic psychologists. There are more forensic psychologists in Chicago alone than all other Illinois regions combined.
Chicago’s Cook County Jail, sprawled over 96 acres, holds anywhere from 9,000-11,00 inmates. One out of every three Cook County inmates suffers from a mental illness. Because of the high demand for psychological intervention, new initiatives are being introduced in Cook County to better serve the multitude of inmates in need of psychological treatment. These initiatives require even more collaboration between law enforcement and forensic psychologists and will create more job opportunities for those pursuing careers in forensic psychology.
The Illinois Department of Labor has projected that 293 new jobs in the forensic psychology field will be created in the state by the year 2022.
The salaries that forensic psychologists earn depend greatly on their level of experience. U.S. Department of Labor reports show that a highly experienced forensic psychologist in Illinois may earn almost three times as much as an entry-level forensic psychologist:
- Entry Level: $34,000
- Mid-Career: $64,600
- Experienced: $99,400
Salaries for Forensic Psychologists in Illinois Major Metro and Non-Metro Areas
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois-based psychologists earning the highest average salaries are employed in Bloomington, Springfield, and Lake County. In these areas, forensic psychologists earned an average salary of more than $70,000 a year.
Shown below is a detailed analysis of forensic psychologists’ salaries in the state of Illinois (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014):