There is reason why television shows on crime are so popular. The entire science of discovering the who, what, where, when and why of crime is so interesting that even the most minute details and discoveries can cause a view to be on the edge of their seat. It is for this reason that so many students have begun to enter the field of Criminology. Becoming a Criminologist gives you a front row seat to solving crime, and although it is an extremely interesting career path, is not nearly as glamorous as portrayed on television.
Although it involves science, for the most part you couldn’t be a good Criminologist unless you had analytical thinking skills and the ability to think subjectively about the world around you. When studying criminology, you will be exposed to course work beyond the scope of simple criminology. All of these will affect your ability to reason deductively and perform your job to the best of your ability.
What specifically does a criminologist do? Criminology is the very basic study of crime. If you’ve ever heard the term “profiling” you will have hit upon one of the many tasks that is up to the criminologist. Working with law enforcement agencies such as the local police or as high up as the FBI, criminologists analyze crime, criminals, and patterns in order to create profiles both complex and simple. Profiling assists in capturing criminals in that you can get inside their heads prior to the crime being committed. In this way, the criminologist also assists in preventing crime, as police officers can identify behaviors and work to avoid situations before they arise. In addition, the criminologist will analyze the criminal justice system at large and identify patterns in laws and how they are broken.
To become a criminologist, you will need an Undergraduate degree with a major in Criminology. Courses taken during your time at University will include basic and abnormal psychology, criminal and constitutional law, sociology, and computer science. For those who wish advancement in their field, a Masters degree in Criminology is preferred.
When entering this field, you can expect employment with local police, FBI or CIA, or as a medical examiner. If you have a higher degree and experience, you can also become a professor at a University. As well, you could find a job as a social worker, security officer, or as a profiler for a large corporation.
The average salary for a person who chooses to be a criminologist is approximately $60,000 per year. For those with advanced degrees, the ability to make $100,000 per year is not out of reach. This is a career field that is rapidly growing, as the need to eliminate crime before it happens has never been more important to the safety and security of our country.
A criminologist has the benefit of providing a real service to those who employ them. Not only do they assist their employers in solving and preventing crime, they assist the public by making our neighborhoods and cities safer places to live. If altruism is your focus, becoming a criminologist is a sure to be a fulfilling career.
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