Criminal Justice Careers and Job Profiles


Criminology is discipline within the field of sociology, which is the science or study of society. Criminology is the scientific study and analysis of crime, criminals, criminal behavior, and corrections. It also examines society's response to crime and to prevention of crime. Criminology includes the examination of criminal evidence, psychological and hereditary causes of crime, various methods of investigation of crime and conviction of criminals as well as the efficiencies of differing modes of punishment, rehabilitation, and corrections.

A criminologist is actually a sociologist or social scientist that 1) specializes in criminology and 2) researches, studies, and analyzes social behaviors. Criminologista examine behavioral norms (the behaviors most often seen in a society) and the deviations from these societal norms. It is important to recognized that every society has its own set of behavioral norms as as well deviations from these norms. As such, a career in criminology can present a myriad of career opportunities.

Where do criminologists work?

Criminologists mostly work in university settings, conducting research and teaching police administration and policy, juvenile justice, corrections, drug addiction, criminal ethnography, macro-level models of criminal behavior, victimology, and theoretical criminology. They conduct research about sociological, psychological, biological issues related to criminology. Some criminologists participate in community programs and involve themselves with policy projects with criminal justice agencies. Others work as policy advisors for state and federal agencies. A few start their own consulting businesses.

Common career paths in criminology
  • Corrections
  • Counseling
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Diversion Programming
  • Financial Fraud Investigation & Prevention
  • Forensics
  • Intervention Programming
  • Insurance Fraud Investigation & Prevention
  • Judicial / Courts
  • Law Enforcement
  • Medical Investigation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Research and Policy Studies
  • Private Investigation
  • Psychologist - Psychopathology Specialist
  • Retail Investigation
  • Special Agencies
  • Teaching
  • Women's Studies
  • Youth Programming & Counseling
  • Additional Careers in Sociology
Agencies and institutions that employ criminologists
  • Court Systems
  • Correctional Institutions
  • Counseling Agencies
  • Banks & Financial Institutions
  • Insurance Companies
  • Non-Profit Agencies
  • Private Investigation Agencies
  • Retailers
Federal Government
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
  • Homeland Security
  • U.S. Border Patrol

State Government
  • State Highway Patrol
  • Department of Rehabilitation & Correction
  • Youth Services
  • Public Safety
Local Governments: County, City, Township, Village
  • Local Police Divisions
  • Public Safety
  • Department of the Treasurer
Education and training

Recommended college courses at the undergraduate level for criminology typically include government, sociology, introductory psychology, sociological psychology, criminal law, juvenile delinquency, constitutional law, and criminal theory. Additional fields of study may include forensics, corrections, abnormal psychology, and statistics for the social sciences and business. A growing number of students also participate in social work courses that focus on the criminal system, corrections, and prisons. Criminologists also require classes in writing, computer science, and logic.

Criminologists typically earn a 4 year bachelors degree followed by a 2 year master's degree in criminology. Those who teach at a universities or conduct professional research are often required to earn a PhD in criminology or a closely related discipline. An advanced degree is also a prerequisite to achieving career advancement opportunities within the field of criminology.

Southern New Hampshire University    Online

B.S. - Justice Studies/Crime and Criminology

Join emerging and seasoned justice professionals in SNHU's affordable 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies/Crime and Criminology. Unlike programs that focus on only one aspect of the justice model, such as law enforcement, the SNHU program provides an overview of the justice system, criminal law, corrections systems, legal and social science research, and more. The Crime and Criminology concentration provides an in-depth study of the causes and impacts of crime through the behavioral, political, social and psychological lenses. Obtain the knowledge and skills you expect from a quality online program at a private, not-for-profit University, plus expertise in your field of interest to give you an edge in the job market.

Regis University    Online

Bachelors of Science in Criminology

Regis' online bachelor's degree in Criminology is for professionals in criminal justice and other fields such as social work and public policy who want to help prevent and solve crimes by understanding more about why they happen. The program is a critical analysis of social, political, and environmental factors that drive aberrant behavior, as well as the psychology of criminals. Unlike a criminal justice degree, which focuses mainly on policing and law enforcement, a criminology degree offers vital knowledge on criminal behavior, which can help you profile, identify, and ultimately capture criminals. Coursework in our online BS in Criminology moves from general behaviors and causes of crime to specific issues such as juvenile crime, violence in the workplace, and terrorism. The curriculum also explores topics related to leadership, such as interorganizational communication and ethics.The BS in Criminology requires at least one year of documented work experience.

Masters of Science in Criminology

Our online MS in Criminology offers an advanced analysis of crime through studies of criminal behavior and the many factors- environmental, political, social, psychological, and cultural- that can cause it. It is designed for individuals who want to contribute to criminal justice by predicting, preventing, and solving crimes of all kinds, such as terrorism, human trafficking, and white-collar fraud. With its focus on criminal behavior, the master's in Criminology differs from a criminal justice degree that emphasizes procedures related to the apprehension of criminals. It expands upon students' existing criminal justice knowledge by providing valuable insights into patterns and behaviors.

University of the Rockies    Online

PsyD - Psychology - Criminology/Justice Studies

Be a practitioner and a scholar with advanced courses and seminars in the arena of law enforcement and corrections. Earn expertise in cutting-edge theories of criminal behavior, and find real-world solutions. Explore how institutions process criminals through the correctional system, and learn to ensure due process. Distinguish between crimes and locate them within social and economic contexts. Discover proven methods to rehabilitate people, empowering them to return as productive members of society. The Doctoral curriculum can open doors to a career in the criminal justice system, in designing and steering public policy, and in scholarly research at the highest level. You can make a difference.

MA/Psychology - Criminology and Justice Studies

Take your education to the next level by following an advanced track of courses and seminars in correctional philosophy, law enforcement, victimology, juvenile delinquency, and modern theories of crime. Study our nation's legal system and the origins of law. Apply the principles of psychology to analyze and assess complex law enforcement strategies. Become a specialist in the psychology of criminal behavior, and thus contribute to a safer, more secure world. The Master's curriculum arms you for a number of exciting career opportunities, including management positions where you assess correctional organizations' performance, and professional jobs in law enforcement, corrections, and the courts.

Areas of specialization in criminology

There is a large variety of specializations that exist within the field of criminology. For their work, criminologist may focus on a specific age group, including elementary school age youth, middle school age youth, high school age youth, young adults, middle-aged adults, and/or senior citizens. You might ask yourself, what does criminology have to do with elementary school age youth? Unfortunately crime has worked its way down into the elementary school ages. Believe it or not, today, there are drug dealers that use elementary school age children to sell and distribute drugs and some children are actually taking loaded guns to school. Elementary school aged children are now found drinking alcohol and using controlled substances regularly. All of these delinquencies greatly contribute to the rate of crime in the United States, as well as the rest of the world.

Criminologists will often special in certain types of crimes. Some work with armed robbery, some with murders, others with prostitution, some with rape, others with serial crimes of varying types and degrees. Professionally, criminologists my developed specialities in crime scene investigation, crime prevention, criminal litigation, rehabilitation, corrections, or in a few instances the privatization of the state and federal prison system.

Profilers are highly specialized criminologists that develop detailed profiles of specific crimes and/or criminal elements by reviewing behavioral patterns by performing advanced statistical analysis. Profiles may look at particular segments of a population or identifiable groups of individuals that commit specific types of crimes and then build a sort of meta-profile, a combination of the behaviors, attributes and/or characteristics of those involved in perpetrating the crimes. A good profiler will be able to identify an average age range, demographics and other psychological characteristics for a "typical criminal" who's involved in specific type of crime.

Throughout their careers, criminologists can apply their knowledge and training in variety of disciplines including research, victim's rights, victimology, the juvenile justice system, forensics technologies, white collar crime, DNA/RNA evidence, and many other areas. A handfull of criminologists will decide to work on and for government policy initiatives, community-based initiatives and among CBOs (community based organizations), as well as a variety of other types of projects and programs.

Organizational Resources
  • American Society of Criminology (ASC)
    The American Society of Criminology is an reknown international organization whos membership is involved in research and policy in criminology, development and distribution of scientific and professional knowledge relating to the origins, prevention, and treatment of crime and delinquency; and promoting rehabilitation.

  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences
    The American Academy of Forensic Sciences is a professional society dedicated to applying forensic science to the criminal justice system. Members include criminalists, physicians, dentists,toxicologists, attorneys, physical anthropologists, engineers, document examiners, educators, and others involved in the field of forensic science.

  • Society for Research In Psychopathology
    Psychopathology plays an important role in some crimes. The Soceity for Research in Psycholopathology is dedicated to examining the interrelationship of the current issues in psychopathology and their impact on the individual, society, and criminal justice.

  • British Society of Criminology
    The British Society of Criminology is the United Kingdom's largest and most reknown criminological society. This organization is dedicated to further academic and professional knowledge of everything that is involved any aspect of criminology and criminal justice: teaching, research, or promoting knowledge.

  • International Association of Women Police
    The International Association of Women Police was established to help ensure equal employment for women in the criminal justice field by promoting and celebrating the individual strengths, talents, and skills of each of women involved in the fields of criminal justice and law enforcement.

  • General Council of the Bar
    This organization participates in many areas of criminal justice that include the administration of justice and relations with Government, the European Union, as well as a variety of legal professions in other countries, and other organizations with common interest.

Criminal Justice Degrees
Search criminal justice degrees, programs and certificates.

Criminal Justice Programs
Launch or advance your criminal justice career by earning your degree in one of the following criminal justice specialties:

Crime Scene Investigation
Criminal Justice
Homeland Security
Justice Administration
Juvenille Justice
Law Enforcement

Homeland Security AgentHomeland Security Agent
Homeland Security agents have jobs of vast responsibility. They are primarily responsible for ensuring the safety of our nation and security our country's borders.

Salary: $38k - $60k+
Education: Bachelor's Degree
Job Outlook: Excellent

Learn more...
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