Where will I work in my criminology career?
After completing online criminology programs or any traditional program, you will have various work environments to choose from. You may find yourself in a police department, correctional facility, laboratory or college, depending on how much education you decide to pursue.
Working as a police officer or private investigator are just 2 of the available careers with a criminology degree. Most officers spend a large part of their work day traveling and interacting with new people, although they are often in dangerous and stressful situations. Investigators may spend more of their time doing computer and phone investigations, but surveillance is often required in unusual settings, so the work environment is constantly changing.
There are a few graduate criminology degree careers that do not require extensive travel and hostile conditions. If you decide to go into forensic science, you will spend most of your time in a lab, and criminal lawyers spend most of their time at the courthouse or in an office setting. If you decide to get a masters or PhD in criminology, you may even be able to work from your own home as an online college instructor.
How long does it take to find a job in criminology?
Police officers and public detectives might be able to find jobs more quickly, as turnover rates are very high. Still, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs will grow by only 7% over the next 10 years, which is much slower than the national average.
On the other hand, private investigation is 1 career in criminology that will be flourishing over the same time period. Because of increased technology and insurance fraud, theft and the growing need for background checks, these jobs are predicted to increase by over 20% by 2020.
Although finding a job as a correctional officer in a prison might be easy, the outlook for this criminology career is not very good. Government cuts are expected to reduce jobs and growth is expected at a much lower rate than the national average at about 7% over the next 10 years.
Jobs for criminology majors, such as probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are more stable but require further education. These jobs are predicted to grow by about 18% because of changes in sentencing restrictions that allow lower risk criminals to avoid prison by being actively monitored by parole officers.
How have criminology careers changed over the years?
The study of criminology has its roots in religion and sociology. From earliest history, deviant behavior has been controlled through the use of religious doctrine and social stratification. It has only been in the last few hundred years that criminal behavior has been studied from a purely scientific perspective.
Over the years, careers in criminology have changed as technology has increased. While police officers and investigators used to spend extensive time researching evidence at crime sites and poring through physical evidence lockers, criminologists today have computer databases and lab tests that provide much more conclusive evidence.
Many of the current jobs in criminology have been radically altered in just the last 50 years. With the validation of genetic testing by the National Academy of Science in 1993, forensic scientists have traded field work for lab work. The Internet gives police officers and investigators more instant access to criminal and personal files for easier identification. Even the racial makeup of correctional and probation officers has changed, as more Latino and African-American officers have entered the field.
What are the top employers for criminology jobs?
Although a majority of criminology degree jobs are found in the local and state government, the highest paying and most prestigious jobs are found in the federal government. Working as a local or state police chief or other police administrator has an average annual wage of over $77,000. Jobs with the FBI, CIA or Homeland Security are difficult to come by, but can pay from $50,000 to over $100,000 per year.
There are also a number of available private sector jobs with a criminology degree. Most investigators work for investigation and security services, which employ almost half of all private detectives and investigators. If you are interested in either forensic science or being a parole officer, treatment facilities and hospitals consistently hire students with criminal science degrees.
By far the safest and highest paying criminology degree careers are in the criminal law field. If you can invest the time to complete the extra educational requirements, you can make an average of $130,000 annually. Additionally, criminal law can provide media exposure if you are interested in pursuing political office.