Forensic psychiatry entails years of schooling for anyone who wishes to enter this field. Because these professionals are essentially medical doctors, they must attend medial school, then declare a specialty in forensics, followed by a few years of training in this specialty. Forensic psychiatrists must be licensed in their field, and they may have to keep up their license with occasional coursework. They often belong to an association or institute of some kind to keep abreast of new advances in the field. Before becoming a doctor, these individuals must first pass their state board exams.
Forensic psychiatrists are medical doctors with training in mental disorders. They often work with law enforcement to provide expert witness testimony on criminal and civil cases. They may also provide criminal profiles, psychiatry analysis, legal advice, diagnosis, and clinical reviews. They may work with children and adults, or have pediatric specialties.
In order to blend science with law, forensic psychiatrists should have an excellent technical proficiency in both areas, and be able to expertly apply it as well. They should be excellent listeners and shrewd diagnosticians, with an astute understanding of how the law works.
They should have good public speaking skills, as they are often called to court to testify on behalf of a patient. Due to their medical and psychology backgrounds, forensic psychiatrists, unlike psychologists, can prescribe medication to patients with mental illness. Other services may include evaluations, research, responsive services, and case management for civil and criminal cases. They often write up their findings to present in a report format.
Lawyers, law enforcement personnel, or anyone else who needs the services of a forensic psychiatrist can expect to have an initial consultation with the professional beforehand to learn about psychology practice history, professional profiles and rates, and legal qualifications.