If the relationship between human behavior and crime fascinate you then you can consider a career as a criminologist. In this profession, you will be looking more closely into the elements of crime and criminal behavior. You will examine the factors behind the commission of criminal acts and the motivations behind violent actions. Your work will help law enforcement officials in identifying suspects and capturing the perpetrator of the crime.
The research that criminologists will do greatly help police and investigators determine the reasons why a person has victimized another. You will be profiling the suspects and looking into their family life, education and mental behavior, among others, to determine if personal events triggered their criminal behavior. You will also be looking at the profiles of other criminals to look for patterns and even make projections on what the next move of a suspect is, especially if the latter is still at large. Their research will also include an in-depth study of the theories involving various aspects of crime in an effort to truly understand why such things as juvenile delinquency, rape, murder and other criminal acts occur. They also look at the criminal justice system and the law and find ways by which truly effective reforms of those who are serving time in jail can be carried out.
As a criminologist, you will also be working directly with law enforcers in examining the scene of a crime. Through the lenses of forensics and psychology, you will try to recreate what happened in order for investigators to have a clear understanding of the events leading to the commission of the criminal act. You may also be asked to conduct autopsies to further support your findings.
To succeed as a criminologist, you need to be keenly observant and highly-analytical so you can figure out the motivations behind a criminal act and be able to thoroughly work the crime scene to get the evidence you need. Since you will help law enforcement officers figure out puzzling details about a crime, you need to have a penchant for problem solving as well.
Why Become A Criminologist
A career as a criminologist is best suited for those who are interested in studying and understanding human behavior especially as it relates to crime and the criminal justice system. Those who want to play a role in keeping communities safe from crime will find this a very fulfilling career. Criminologists are also paid well.
Criminologists work with federal and state agencies as well as hold their own private practices where they act as consultants for various issues involving crime and the criminal justice system. They may also teach in colleges and universities in subjects about law, crimes and legal studies. The work is often fulltime.
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have salary data specifically for criminologists. However, it does have salary information for sociologists, an occupation that is closely related to that of criminologists. The mean annual wage for sociologists is $78,120.
Criminologist Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not specifically gather data on the job outlook of criminologists. However, the projection for sociologists which is a similar occupation is quite positive. From the period covering 2012 to 2022, their employment rate is seen to rise 15 percent which is much faster than the average for all job types. The demand will be fueled by the need to have a deeper understanding of people, society and their dealings with each other.
The educational preparation for a career as a criminologist begins with a bachelor’s degree in sociology or criminology. However, this will only qualify one for entry level positions in government agencies and research organizations. To become a full-fledged criminologist entails pursuing postgraduate studies like a master’s degree or a doctoral degree with a focus on criminology. Those who plan to teach in the university while pursuing their profession at the same time should complete their doctoral degree.