How to Become a Criminologist
Job Duties of a Criminologist
Skills or Qualities Needed to Become a Criminologist
Criminologist Salaries
Influential Professional Criminologista
Leading Organizations for Criminologists
Top Cities for Criminologist Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Criminologist

A well rounded education in both criminal justice and psychology is generally necessary to become a criminologist. Undergraduate study often involves criminal and constitutional law, as well as general and abnormal psychology, sociology, criminal theory, and statistics. Criminal Justice degrees are generally acquired, although some criminologists also begin with degrees in psychology or sociology.

A master's degree in criminology, psychology, or sociology is often a minimum requirement in the field. Individuals with only undergraduate degrees may be able to work for some government agencies, however pay is generally low.

Many criminologists obtain PhD's, and it is necessary in order to work in teaching. Graduate study in criminology generally follows the same coursework found in the criminal justice field. Areas of study include the psychology and sociology of deviant behavior, design and systems analysis, and their application to crime.

What does a Criminologist do?

A criminologist studies and analyzes the nature of crime and criminals. The study of criminology is a social science and the work of a criminologist is often similar to that of a psychologist or sociologist, based largely in research and teaching. Criminologists focus on the psychological makeup, behaviors, societal backgrounds, and other aspects in the lives of criminals. They also investigate where crime is concentrated within our society and reasons for variation.

Criminologists often work in colleges and private universities as professors. Some work in junction with law enforcement agencies, both local and federal. Criminologists may also work in prisons or security companies.

A criminologist may work within a specialty area, such as criminal investigation, crime prevention, or corrections. Some criminologists specialize in certain types of crimes or criminal behavior, or devote their work to research and profiling. Criminologists take into account psychological issues, social and environmental factors, education levels and biological aspects when researching criminals and deviant behavior..

The extensive data collection and research done be criminologists can aid law enforcement officials in tracking and capturing criminals. A criminologist may work primarily with statistics and data, while others may profile individual criminals to gain insight into the motivations and factors behind deviant behavior. Some criminologists study mainly the history and theory of criminology as opposed to current crime trends. The academic knowledge and input of the criminologist can also help to develop crime prevention strategies and determine useful rehabilitation programs. Some criminologists conduct their own research projects while teaching at colleges and universities.

Criminologists may work in variety of settings including classrooms, crime scenes, medical examiner offices, courthouses, prisons, police stations, or private offices. Criminologists may use their education and training to move onto other jobs either in psychological study or law enforcement.

Criminologists are sometimes confused with criminalists, or forensic science technicians. While both professions work in the field of criminology, a criminalist focuses on the physical evidence of crimes while the criminologist focuses on the environmental and psychological triggers involved in criminal behavior.

Criminologists are academics who work to gain an understanding of the motivations and causal factors behind the behavior of criminals. Criminologists research a variety of issues in psychology and sociology in order to explain the nature of crime and criminals. Such investigation is undoubtedly beneficial to our culture and necessary in order to achieve a safer society.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Criminologist?

A criminologist, like a psychologist, must be interested in human nature and behavior. An interest in justice and improving society are important traits in criminologists as well. Strong research and analysis skills are vital as so much of the job involves data collection and interpretation. An aptitude for math is important because statistics are crucial in the study of criminology. Teachers must have a tolerance for working with an ever changing group of students and all criminologists must have the endurance continue their education and research on an ongoing basis. Good communication skills are also important because a criminologist often works to describe the theories of criminology to students, law enforcement officials, or other professionals.

How much do Criminologists make?

Many criminologists work in teaching and research and are paid between $32,270 and $66,460 annually. Among teachers, professors earn the highest wages and assistant professors and lecturers earn less. Those teaching in 4-year institutions generally earn higher salaries than teachers in junior colleges. Many criminologists working for state and local governments earn between $30,000 and $55,000 per year depending on education level and experience.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Raffaele Garofalo was the first to coin the term "criminologist." He was an Italian jurist who said that the only way to understand crime fully was to study it by scientific methods. Edwin Sutherland was a sociologist who was also an extremely influential criminologist. Sutherland studied how criminals study from master criminals and learn their techniques.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The American Society of Criminology is, contrary to its name, an international society for criminologists. The ASC studies ways to prevent and learn about crime, as well as discussing criminal law.

What are the top cities for Criminologist jobs?

The overall job outlook for criminologists is poor. New jobs in the field are dependent on public funding for crime prevention, which is often low. The majority of work for criminologists exists within colleges and universities, with the highest concentration of job opportunities in junior colleges.

Sacramento, California is the top city for criminologist jobs in the United States, with Baltimore, Maryland in second place.

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