Four reasons to have a career in criminology (and how to start)

So you want to have a career that benefits your community and work with public services. How can you do that? One of the ways you can do this is to think about having a career in criminology, where you could help people in your local area who have been victims of crime.

Not only can you be an asset to those around you, but you can also get a great sense of job satisfaction by knowing you can provide safety and security to society. If this sounds like the type of responsibility you want for a career, here are some reasons why criminology is for you.

1 You can help others

This is one of the top reasons why people decide to follow this career path. There are many different ways you can do this, too – there are few limitations to getting into the criminology or criminal justice workforce. So you can pick what role is best for you, your personality and skills to help benefit society. There aren’t many other careers that offer you so many diverse opportunities to do this.

The most visible of these roles is to become a police officer. If you become one, you will be responsible for enforcing the laws that apply to your area and to protect property and life. Even as part of the police service, you can pick from a variety of different departments to work in. This could be from street patrols, to working with dog units or traffic teams.

There are other ways you can work in criminology if policing isn’t for you. You could work for victim support, for instance, or be a forensic psychologist and profile criminals, or be a probation officer. There are many other roles you could look into as well, but these are just some of those you could consider.

2 You can use many of your skills

You won’t have a boring day on the job if you want a criminology career. You’ll be using a number of your talents and draw on your knowledge to do your role, so you’ll end up having a fulfilling time in the workplace.

Critical thinking is an important skill to have if you want to be a criminologist. This may be because you’ll be advising people about issues in society by drawing conclusions about human behavior, so you’ll need to collect and analyze data to do this. You may also need to write reports and findings, so you’ll need good communication skills and build criminal profiles based on previous experiences.

If you’re out in the community and come into contact with the public regularly, you may need to use other skills. You’ll have to use your judgment sometimes so you can make the best decision for the situation you’re involved in. Being able to read people is something you’ll need to do, too, so you can determine if a person is being honest with you. Mental toughness may also be required as well because, unfortunately, you might have to attend incidents that may be unpleasant for any number of reasons.

3 You’ll always be in demand

The good news is that the job outlook for those people with criminology qualifications is excellent, and is expected to grow. Because of the variety of careers, you could consider if you have any criminology qualifications, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something that will suit the skills that you have acquired.

Of course, your geographical location will have an effect on how many jobs will be available to you in your local area. There will be a higher demand with your level of qualifications in large cities than in small, rural communities, for example, but this may also depend on your circumstances and what skills are needed the most.

4 Good benefits

How much you’ll get paid for your criminology role will depend on what job you have, what level of seniority you’re at, your education or qualifications, and where you live. However, this will be the same no matter which career you decide to take, so it isn’t limited to those who want to work within criminology or criminal justice.

New police recruits may get, on average, USD $44,000 a year; this will steadily increase to an average of USD $72,000 if you have a career that lasts 20 years or more. Pay for criminologists will vary as well, with early salaries ranging from USD $30,000 to $50,000. After five years – and if you work in specific departments in certain areas – your salary may even exceed USD $100,000.

So how can I start a criminology career?

There will be some careers in criminology and criminal justice that many people will be able to get into with some training and/or certification (such as police officers), but others may require degrees to get an entry-level position. Even if you don’t need a degree to get your career started, you may be encouraged to complete one of these programs to get more senior roles.

Study Online

There are many criminology, policing and criminal justice degrees – at either bachelor, master or doctorate level – you can take that will help you progress your career, depending on which direction you want to go. You’ll need to have your high school diploma to start a bachelor of arts (BA) or science (BSc), but not necessarily any previous experience in law enforcement.

As you look to further your education to degree level, the opportunities now available for the modern-day student are so much better, thanks to the introduction of online learning. Not everyone is able to attend class during the middle of the day more than once a week due to work commitments or family. If you think you’ll find it difficult to attend classes because of these very reasons, for instance, then you may find online programs are better suited to you. This online criminology degree Canada offers the chance to study at a time that’s convenient for you while learning from experts in the field of criminology and policing.

Work experience

After graduating, you should aim to find some work experience to ensure that you can put your theoretical knowledge to the test in real life. You need at least three to four years of experience under your belt so try to actively look for work experience, either paid or unpaid in your local area. There are plenty of places that welcome volunteers.

Get the Appropriate Training

Choosing a career in criminology can open the doors to many careers such as the police force, so ensure that you have the appropriate training to qualify you for that career. Take part in the vigorous training exercises to make sure you are physically fit enough, but you could also build your other skills that are necessary for a career in this industry, from research to analytics and problem-solving.

There are many ways you can help your community with your career in criminology or criminal justice. So no matter which role you decide, you will be an important part of protecting society.