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What Can I Do After Completing a Criminology Degree Program?

Obtaining a degree in criminology prepares graduates for jobs in a number of fields, including policing and justice administration. Read on to learn about career options available to people who complete a criminology degree program and to get details on available degree programs.

Career Options in Criminology

The type of degree students earns an impact on their career options. Individuals with associate's or bachelor's degrees in criminology often qualify for similar law enforcement jobs. Examples of jobs available for graduates of associate's or bachelor's programs include highway patrol officers, police officers or customs agents. Those with bachelor's degrees may find it easier to be promoted to management positions than people who only have associate's degrees.

A master's degree in Criminology prepares students for careers in criminal justice administration or supervisory positions in such areas as law enforcement or corrections. Those who complete criminology doctoral programs usually become researchers or professors.

Important Facts About This Field

Police OfficersCorrectional OfficersPostsecondary Criminal Justice Teachers
TrainingReceive training as a recruit before becoming an officerReceive training before starting work, continuing with on-the-job trainingLittle training other than a minimum of a master's degree in their field
Key SkillsCommunication, empathy, leadership, good judgment, perceptiveness, physical stamina and strengthGood judgment, interpersonal skills, physical strength, negotiating skills, resourcefulness, self-disciplineCommunication, critical thinking, writing, resourcefulness
Work EnvironmentWork can be demanding physically and mentally; one of the highest rates of injury and illnessMay be required to stand for long periods, rotating shifts, may have to work overtime, nights, weekends, and holidays; high rates of injury and illnessFlexible schedule; must find time to teach classes, grade work, and conduct their own research
Similar OccupationsEMTs and Paramedics, Firefighters, Private DetectivesProbation Officers, Correctional Treatment Specialists, Security Guards, Gaming Surveillance OfficersCareer and Technical Education Teachers, Sociologists, Postsecondary Education Administrators

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that employment for police officers and detectives, in general, would increase by 7% from 2016-2026. In May 2018, according to the BLS, the median annual wage for police officers was $61,380. Correctional officers earned a median annual wage of $44,330 in the same year, the BLS said, with the highest-paid 10% making $76,760 or more. The median annual wage for postsecondary teachers teaching criminal justice and law enforcement in 2018 was $61,900, and employment for postsecondary teachers, in general, is expected to grow 15% from 2016-2026.

Criminology Degree Information

Criminology is a commonly offered field of study at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. In an undergraduate program, such as the associate's or bachelor's level, you might study crime prevention and control methods or learn why people commit crimes. These programs often include internships. Master's and doctoral programs are also available in this field. Master's programs may provide opportunities to study public policy or policy analysis while doctoral programs focus on criminology, criminal behavior theories, and research.