Forensic psychologists in New Mexico earn high salaries for contributing their psychological and legal expertise to help both individuals and society. A major employer of forensic psychologists in New Mexico is the state’s Behavior Health Institute in Las Vegas.
This institute’s forensic section houses defendants that have been found not competent to stand trial and deemed highly dangerous. While many patients are eventually released, eight patients are likely to spend the rest of their lives there. This includes John Hyde who was institutionalized after his five murders in 2005.
Albuquerque’s reaction to this tragic set of crimes had national implications. Hyde’s refusal to keep taking his medication and subsequent homicidal behavior led the city to become the first in the country to adopt Kendra’s law. This statute allows the police to force mentally ill patients to take their meds if they pose a danger to the community or themselves.
Salaries for New Mexico’s Forensic Psychologists
New Mexico has among the highest rates of serious mental illness in its general population in the country according to a 2015 report released by the state’s Legislative Finance Committee. This has strong implications for the state’s criminal justice system, which relies on expert testimony from forensic psychologists.
The New Mexico Division of Workforce Solutions expects the number of forensic psychology jobs in the state to increase significantly between 2012 and 2022. This agency expects this rate to be 1.7%–more than 50% higher than the average for all occupations in the state. Job growth for forensic psychologists is expected to be particularly high in Albuquerque, where it is expected to increase at a rate of 2.4% per year.
Shown below are the salaries for forensic psychologists that worked for the state of New Mexico in 2015:
According to the New Mexico Division of Workforce Solutions, forensic psychologists in New Mexico earned an average salary of $62,360 as of 2014. Those with experience earned an average of $72,860, while the average salary for entry-level professionals was $41,370.
Forensic Psychologist Salaries Throughout New Mexico
Forensic psychologist positions in rural parts of New Mexico can pay extremely well according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014):