Criminologist — Degree, Career & Average Salary
Criminologists study crime and criminal law, so count on achieving a graduate-level degree in criminal law and criminal behavior to land this specialized position. Often, the criminologist is involved with research and teaching, and a doctoral degree is not hard to fathom for this position as a two-year master’s degree in criminology is required. Criminology programs often focus on crime and deviant behavior, so expect to study psychology and sociology as well as criminology.
Students enrolled in a program with a criminologist career in mind will learn about design and systems analysis, and how it pertains to crime and criminal justice. This type of study entails analyzing criminal behavior patterns and criminal laws and providing theoretical explanations for criminal and delinquent behavior. The reason behind the teaching career is that individuals who choose this career often can provide a vast store of knowledge to courses that focus on police work, juvenile justice and delinquency, correctional administration and policy, drug addiction, criminal ethnography, macro-level models of criminal behavior, radical criminology, theoretical criminology, and victimology.
Criminologists also evaluate various biological, sociological, and psychological factors related to criminology. Some criminologists may conduct their own research while teaching legal studies, criminology, sociology, and law at a university. Some may work for state and federal justice agencies as policy advisers or research officers. Some may work in private practices where they provide consulting services for various issues such as crime statistics, juvenile justices, adult corrections, and law reform.
Government agencies or private organizations also employ criminologists to conduct research and to advise on specific cases and the overall criminal justice system. These professionals need to understand the latest developments in criminal psychology and more to remain valuable to the teaching community.
Career options for criminologists are varied and so are the salaries. The salary outlook ranges from $38,000 to over $80,000 for professors and teachers and between $36,000 and $45,000 for professionals.