Criminologists study society and try to determine patterns that can cause crime. They conduct research at crime scenes and in different neighborhoods, courts, jails and prisons, and they write reports or books about their findings. This is a highly intellectual and competitive field.
Obtain a bachelor's degree, preferably in sociology or psychology. Make certain your electives include numerous courses in computer science, statistics, logic and writing.
Receive a master's degree in behavioral science. Go on to an eventual Ph.D. in criminology, psychology or sociology if you wish to teach. Visit the gradschools.com for links to schools offering advanced criminology degrees.
Work part-time and during the summers as an intern in the field. Consult with your guidance counselor for available opportunities.
Check with your state to see if its licensing requirements include a written exam.
Decide if you want to work for a local, state or federal government agency, or for a private firm. Be prepared for mainly office work during your first years as a junior-level criminologist.
Expect a thorough background check before you begin working for a law-enforcement agency.
You may have to view crime scenes or autopsies and question dangerous criminals as a part of your job.