A criminology degree prepares students to pursue a career as a criminologist as well as other career paths related to criminal law, criminal justice and police administration and policy. Criminology degree programs can be completed at the bachelor's or master's degree levels at colleges and universities or online. The degree program includes a wide range of macro-level and micro-level courses so students can apply their knowledge and skills in several types of criminal justice and criminal law-related fields.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the majority of criminologists are employed by state and federal justice agencies, but some individuals who hold a criminology degree choose to open up their own private practice to work as private investigators, detectives or consultants.
Individuals with a criminology degree can choose career paths as a community corrections officer or coordinator, drug policy adviser, police officer, law reform researcher, regional crime prevention coordinator, crime intelligence analyst, forensic scientist, environment protection analyst, consumer advocate or a criminologist consultant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Although most criminology degree programs cover all of the major areas of criminology, such as criminal theory, constitutional law, criminal psychology and juvenile delinquency, the aspiring criminologist can choose to specialise in a particular area when pursuing an advanced degree program. According to Unixl.com, areas of specialisations for those who hold a criminology degree include criminal litigation, crime scene investigation, crime prevention strategies, corporate crime, organizational research, federal or state policy evaluation and victimology.
Criminology Career Training
Aspiring criminologists must take specialised courses in the field of law enforcement, forensics, government, crime history and criminal investigation. In addition to completing formal education at the bachelor's or master's degree levels, the student must complete an internship where they can conduct in-depth research, learn about psychological behaviours and learn how to develop scientific methods for resolving a crime.
Many of the skills needed to become a private investigator, detective or corporate investigator are learnt on the job through job training and mentoring programs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in some cases, a criminology degree may not be enough to obtain work in forensics or computer research. Some criminologists may need to get a secondary degree or a certificate in accounting, computer science and other fields in order to pursue jobs in the field of computer fraud investigations and database security.
Some states and the District of Columbia require private detectives and investigators to obtain a license. Licenses are granted to those who have completed a criminology degree program or criminal justice program, have a certain amount of work experience and have passed a criminal history background check by the state's department of justice.
Criminology Career Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of private detectives and investigators is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations from 2006 to 2016. Employment of science technicians such as forensic scientists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations during that same period, and this will be largely driven by increased demand for skilled scientists working for state and local government organisations.