Anyone with a strong interest in crime and criminal psychology will be familiar with the term ‘criminologist’, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what it actually means and what being a criminologist entails. Criminologists are involved in a diverse range of professions, lending their expertise to discussions about crime and punishment in a wide range of different contexts.
As a career, criminology has a lot to offer. Because the work that criminologists do is relevant to such a wide range of other studies and disciplines, criminology graduates are able to pursue work that interests them in any industry they choose. Whether you want to be a part of the academic discussion, or you want to be involved in actively shaping policy, a career in criminology gives you the opportunity to take on the causes that matter most to you.
Studying to earn a criminology degree will teach you everything that you need to know about crime and the underlying societal issues that pertain to it. By gaining a better understanding of these, students of criminology will be able to contribute to broader discussions and research pertaining to why people commit crimes and how we can be proactive in reducing crime.
For example, one of the most important issues that criminologists debate today is how best to rehabilitate prisoners after they have served their sentences. Reintegrating people into society can be a difficult process and approaches to it differ dramatically around the world. Criminologists also help formulate policies for helping the victims of crime.
There are a variety of careers that you can pursue with a criminology degree. Some criminologists will work on the full range of issues impacting the field, whereas others will be focused on very specific issues.
Supplement a Psychology Degree
Many of the most popular career paths for criminologists to pursue are related to psychology. If you also hold a masters’ or a doctorate degree in psychology, then adding a criminology degree on top will make you an ideal candidate for a range of popular careers.
For example, forensic psychologists are psychologists who study criminal behaviour in an aim to identify patterns in the data that tells us about how criminals behave and why. This information can then be used to build profiles of suspects. These profiles are used to help law enforcement narrow down their search for suspects in criminal cases. This kind of forensic work is usually associated with hunting serial killers but is actually used for a variety of cases. Forensic psychologists also study the ways that different law enforcement techniques yield different results.
Forensic psychologists can work in a variety of roles. These include the following:
- Criminal profiler
- Jury consultant
- Prison psychologist
- Expert witness
- Psychological investigator
Gain a Better Perspective on Societal Issues
There are a variety of issues that impact crime, and understanding the underlying social issues that lead to crime is vital if we are to combat it effectively. Criminologists will learn about the existing research regarding how demographics, education, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status all impact crime. Understanding how these things affect levels of crime informs decisions about law enforcement and the passage of laws in general.
Access a Wide Range of Careers
There are a wide range of careers that you can pursue with a criminology degree. The impacts of crime on society are widespread. As a result, criminology is an area of academic study that touches on a wide range of industries and ideas. Below are just some of the more popular careers for criminology graduates to pursue. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is representative of the diverse range of jobs on offer.
- Police officer
- Corrections officer
- Forensic science technician
- Probation and community control officer
- Loss prevention specialist
- Border officer
- Canadian Intelligence Service
If any of these careers appeal to you and you want to pursue them, you should consider studying for a criminology degree. For example, Wilfrid Laurier University Online offers a criminology and policing course that covers both criminology, the study of why crime is occurring, and policing, which looks at law enforcement issues. Click here to find out more.
Become a Criminologist
The most obvious career to pursue with a criminology degree is that of the criminologist. Professional criminologists will usually have a master’s degree in criminology, which means that they will also have a good working knowledge of a particular specialty. For example, some criminologists work as environmental criminologists, studying the details of the environments that crimes occur in to try and learn more about how these can influence criminal behaviour.
Throughout their careers, criminologists help police to improve their policies and procedures through a variety of initiatives. These often involve working with a number of other entities, such as:
- Colleges and universities
- Legislative bodies
- Other public institutions
Criminologists also frequently advise other academics, politicians, law enforcement agencies, and members of other institutions on matters relating to their area of specialty. Because crime and its impacts touch on every other aspect of society, the need for a better understanding of it is widespread.
These are just some of the reasons why a career in criminology is worth pursuing. The issues that criminologists wrestle with have an impact on us all. Our approach to criminal justice defines us as a society, it is important that people are engaged with the issues surrounding it. Criminology is not just about profiling and tracking down criminals; it is also about finding the right solutions to many of the most challenging issues currently facing our society.
Some criminologists will dedicate the entirety of their professional lives to better understanding and tackling many of the most deep-seated societal issues that affect crime. Others will learn how to profile specific types of criminals based on their area of specialty. The incredibly diverse range of jobs that are available within the field of criminology is staggering. This makes a criminology degree an excellent investment for anyone who wants to keep their future career options open.