How to Get a Job in Criminology


Getting a job in criminology requires one to pursue the proper education and gain necessary skills to stand out. Criminology is a broad field. It can lead one to research positions in think tanks. It can lead to jobs in academia. It can lead, as well, to positions within government organizations, including parole departments and state departments of corrections. How do you land one of these jobs? Here’s a guide on getting started.

Education matters
Criminology, like several other so-called “soft sciences,” is very much an empirical field in which people have to have the requisite education in order to get a good job. This means that you should start by pursuing a career in a related field. There are several fields that may work out well for those seeking a criminology degree. Criminal justice is perhaps the most obvious of these. You may also land a job in this field by studying psychology or sociology, however. A four-year degree is usually required for government jobs in criminology.

Going the extra mile for a research position
If your job is to contribute to the body of knowledge started by the Chicago School of Criminology or by the most prominent criminologists of the 20th century, then you should pursue additional education. Those who end up teaching and doing research projects will usually have at least a master’s degree in criminology. In many cases, they will have a doctorate. The more education you can amass, the easier it will be to land one of these highly desirable positions.

Entry level work in government
To get going in your criminology career, you may first want to apply for government jobs. Many with these degrees work in parole and probation departments. There, you may be a case manager, looking after a person who has either been placed on probation or released early from prison. As you move up, you will have an opportunity to set policy, weighing in on what things might be done by the state in order to encourage people to commit less crime.

Ultimately jobs in criminology are many. You can work for law firms, for courts and even for law schools. This is a field where education and credentials matter. Don’t skimp on your degrees if you want to advance up the ladder. You will quickly find a low ceiling if you lack a solid college degree in a related field.