What Are Some Career Options for a Criminologist?

A criminologist is generally not a law enforcement official, but a sociologist who studies the many factors and causes of criminal behavior. In understanding these factors, criminologists can go a long way toward figuring out how to stop the root causes of crime. If you would like to find out some of the career options for a criminologist, keep reading. Schools offering Criminology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Employment Opportunities

Qualifications for a career in criminology vary depending on organization and title of position. Many jobs in this field require a bachelor's or master's degree in social science or a related subject-area. Employers look for candidates with good analytical, research, and communication skills. In some cases, relevant experience may help qualify those candidates who do not meet educational preferences. Employment may be found through academic institutions, prisons, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $72,810 for all sociologists
Job Growth (2012-2022) 15% growth for all sociologists
Work Environments Offices, postsecondary schools, various environments for conducting research
Similar Occupations Political scientist, psychologist, social worker, urban planner, survey researcher

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Academic Research

Many colleges and universities have criminology research projects. Some studies are purely sociological, while others look at crime and its causes from a multi-disciplinary perspective, combining sociology, law, and psychology. Often, research projects are commissioned by law enforcement organizations or courts, which would give you the opportunity to research topics such as:

  • Juvenile justice
  • Domestic violence and protection order enforcement
  • Positive and negative trends in crime prevention
  • Police decision-making
  • Homicide investigations

Penology

Penology is a branch of criminology that studies prisoners and their treatment in the penal system. Penologists also examine the issues of prison reform, recidivism, and options for those leaving the prison system. Some penologists work directly for the prison system, while others may work for non-profit organizations.

Government Agencies

Large government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have criminology or behavior science departments that employ criminologists, police investigators, and other professionals to study procedures such as criminal profiling, psychological and societal impacts, and the methodology of terrorism.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has organized Violent Crime Impact teams all over the country, which combats violent crime through research and criminal investigation. Through the U.S. Justice Department, the National Institute of Justice uses information gleaned from their research professional Departments to find out more about local law enforcement methods. Many state-run organizations work on issues such as juvenile crime, victim advocacy, prisons, and probations.

Non-Profit Organizations

Some independently-funded organizations work either with or separate from law enforcement and academia in order to compile research and promote initiatives in crime prevention. Groups such as the Urban Institute look at crime with respect to the impact on a community, while the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) focuses on crime and our younger and elderly populations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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