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What Can I Do With a Criminology Degree?


Pursuing a degree in criminology can offer a range of both fascinating and worthwhile career options.  A graduate can work in various fields, from law enforcement agencies and prisons to universities and advocacy organizations. Plus, criminology careers usually provide job security along with great benefits.​

Make the World a Better Place

Beyond enjoying the benefits, criminology professionals often want to improve their communities. Some choose to pursue a degree in criminology because of the level of job satisfaction. Although it can be time-consuming and sometimes even dangerous, a career in this field can be quite rewarding as you involve yourself in a community.

Getting a Degree in Criminology

A criminology degree is ideal for anyone interested in law enforcement, advocacy or the study of criminal behavior and social justice. You will gain the insight needed to interact with individuals exhibiting deviant behavior and understand them, create policies and procedures to prevent crime, and work compassionately with survivors of crime.

Not to be confused with criminal justice, criminology is more about the academic aspect of criminal behavior, victimology, and the improvement of criminal justice systems. Criminology studies crime to understand how best to address and eliminate criminal behavior, while criminal justice focuses on how to work within the criminal justice system as law enforcement.

Types of Jobs Available

While some entry-level jobs may not require a degree, having one will set you apart from the other candidates and enable you to move up in your field. So, if you are interested in earning a criminology degree, here are some types of jobs available:

Loss Prevention Officer: Loss prevention officers specialize in theft prevention. Retail businesses hire them to deter and detain shoplifters by patrolling stores.

Private Investigator: People hire private investigators to research a specific crime. They work independently from the police. These jobs typically call for additional licensing.

Correctional Officer: Correctional officers enforce the rules and regulations within a prison. In addition, they interact with the incarcerated individuals, supervising their activities and resolving conflicts.

Jury Consultant: Jury consultants assist in the selection of jurors for court cases. They interview and do background research on potential jurors to determine if they will be unbiased.

Probation Officer: Probation officers support the incarcerated who may be leaving prison to re-enter society. They recommend rehabilitation plans, check progress, and contact the courts for parole violations.

Police Detective: Police detectives investigate crimes, apprehend individuals who break the law and keep the peace in their community. Additional experience as a patrol officer is typically required to advance to the role of police detective.

Forensic Scientist: Forensic scientists study crime scenes and gather physical evidence. Therefore, most criminology majors would have the option to take forensic science courses while in college. Becoming a forensic scientist typically requires an additional degree in chemistry or biology.

Criminology Professor: Professors of criminology teach college students about criminal psychology, sociology, and law. Teaching in higher education typically calls for a graduate degree.

Lawyer: Lawyers must graduate from law school and pass the bar exam to practice. However, a lawyer who chooses to specialize in criminal cases may get a degree in criminology. It could strengthen their ability to interview witnesses, present evidence in court and negotiate with offenders.

Criminal Profiler: Criminal profilers use criminal psychology to predict the activities of serial perpetrators. They also analyze specific criminals, which aids in the pursuit and apprehension of suspects. A graduate degree in psychology is usually required to become a criminal profiler.

Crime Victim Advocate: Crime victim advocates support victims as they face the emotional, financial, medical and legal impacts of crimes. Crime victim advocates support them by providing emotional support, professional advice and referrals to other professionals.

Education Can Lead to Reform

Another advantage to obtaining a criminology degree is the ability to become an agent of change for law enforcement. For example, research shows that police officers with at least two years of college education are less likely to receive misconduct complaints. With such a clear benefit, more agencies may require a college education, including courses in psychology and sociology, to develop the tools necessary to build strong relationships with the community.

With crime impacting almost every aspect of our society, law enforcement will always be essential. Therefore, getting a degree in criminology can lay the foundation for a successful and meaningful career.

Learn more about Northwest Missouri State University's online Bachelor of Science in Criminology program.


Sources:

American Psychological Association: How Can Psychology Advance Police-Community Relations? Using Psychological Science and Advocacy to Contribute to Solutions

Chron: What You Can do With a Criminology Degree

eLaw Talk: What Makes a Good Crime Victim Advocate?  

Indeed: 12 Jobs You Can Get With a Criminology Degree

The Balance Careers: What Can You Do With a Criminology Degree?


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