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Criminology Careers and Degree Courses

A criminologist is involved with the study, research, and reporting of the social and psychological conditions related to a crime. Careers in criminology center around in-depth research and analysis of various situations that cause criminal behavior, and how different laws apply to an investigation. Criminologists work on ways to better serve and protect society from crime, and help with criminal rehabilitation so that they can reenter the workforce to provide for themselves and their community. Some careers are involved with the criminals themselves, while others use data and reports to draw conclusions related to a crime.

What You Need to Know About Criminology

Anyone interested in learning about criminology can choose classes in the field of forensics, law enforcement, crime history, and crime investigation. Criminology degrees allow individuals to become experts in their field, and becoming a criminologist requires formal training, coursework, and completing an internship. These careers can branch out into various domains. Criminology falls under the category of forensic science careers, combining the fields of law enforcement, justice administration, police services, and general forensic science applications. A criminologist is responsible for researching criminal laws and analyzing criminal behavior, and is often involved with conducting necessary investigations and research related to a crime.

Job Description and Responsibilities with a Criminology Degree

Criminology degrees provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to conduct in-depth research, work within the criminal justice system, and learn about specific psychological behaviors that apply to criminals. After completing a degree program, most graduates gain work experience and training through a professorship or internship program. This helps them work with professionals in their industry, and they can get hands-on experience with a variety of projects. A criminology degree helps students to:

  • Study and participate in the criminal justice system
  • Collaborate with students, professors, and other professionals in the industry
  • Study data and make inferences and conclusions about a particular crime
  • Draw from history and theories about crime for various investigations
  • Suggest ways to reduce the influences of criminals on society
  • Determine punishments and outcomes of various criminal acts
  • Develop scientific methods for detection and resolving a crime
  • Studying clues and fingerprints
  • Work with crime labs to identify criminals

Careers in Criminology

Most careers center around crime prevention, crime intelligence, and even community corrections where a criminologist is involved with both research and analysis of a particular criminal act. Criminologists can work at colleges and universities as educators, or choose to work as Federal and state justice agencies. They may also serve as research officers and policy advisers. A criminologist may also work in the fields of juvenile justice, law reform, or local criminal justice agencies. Some choose to open their own private practice to provide consulting services. Common careers in may include:

  • Law Reform Researcher
  • Regional Crime Prevention Coordinator
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Crime Intelligence Analyst
  • Community Corrections Coordinator
  • Police Officer
  • Drug Policy Advisor
  • Environment Protection Analyst
  • Criminologist Consultant

Criminology Majors, Programs, and Course Requirements

Criminology majors offer students a chance to explore a variety of legal and criminal justice topics, allowing them to choose from various criminology course programs and electives. Standard requirements of most criminology degrees includes classes such as:

  • Crime, Criminology, and Justice
  • Administration of Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • Statistical and Computer Applications in Criminal Justice
  • Crime and Violence in America
  • Directed Policing
  • Professionalism in Criminal Justice
  • Psychology of Crime
  • Alcohol, Drugs, and Criminality
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice

Students are required to complete all degree requirements, as well as an internship or work-study program to gain experience. Becoming an expert criminologist is a lifelong learning process, and completing a bachelor degree is not the only choice. Many students choose to complete a master degree for increased work and career opportunities, as well as options to pursue in-depth research studies and teaching in the field.

Pursuing an Online Criminology Degree

An online degree helps students complete their criminology degree program with more flexibility than campus-based classes. Completing a degree online makes it simple for students to earn their degree and training while working at a job or take classes at their own pace. Students have an opportunity to conduct research, take part in online lab simulations, and network with professors and students using a web-based platform. Online criminology degree programs are especially valuable to stay at home parents or students juggling a career and higher education. Both a bachelor degree and master degree are available in an online format. Key benefits of online learning include:

  • Access to online research libraries and databases
  • Increased opportunities to fine-tune online communication skills
  • Collaborating with students and professors from around the world
  • Downloading all relevant course information, guides, and tutorials
  • Creating presentations and projects using online tools and platforms

Employment Prospects and Job Opportunities for a Criminologist

Employment prospects and job opportunities for careers as a criminologist are favorable, and are expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. Employment largely depends on the location and crime rates of various regions, and more Federal and government law enforcement agencies are looking for skilled and well-trained individuals in the field. Median annual earnings for detectives and criminal investigators were $53,990 in 2004. Related occupations include:

  • Security Guards
  • Private Detectives and Investigators
  • Correctional Officers
  • Surveillance Officers

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