How to Get into Criminology
Criminology is the scientific study of law enforcement, crime and criminals and one of the branches of sociology. The person who qualifies in criminology becomes a criminologist. With the increase in crime rate, criminology is becoming an exciting field to work on. To become a certified criminologist you need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree according to job requirement. If you want to know how to get into criminology then keep reading this oneHOWTO article.
If you want to be a criminologist then start from the beginning i.e. from your school. An early start will pave a clear way for your future
High school courses which are best for a budding criminologist are: sociology, history, statistics, psychology and government. If you get a chance to participate in any criminology related course then you should go for it. Some schools have criminology club and if you are lucky enough to have such a club then become its member. To broaden your analytical skills you can join a math team or debate club too.
Bachelor’s degree in criminology is mandatory and the first step to become a criminologist. There are various degrees in which you can major to become a criminologist. Some of these are: Criminology, Psychology, Criminal Justice and Sociology. Also, taking courses in areas such as writing, statistics and computer science will improve your chance to land a job.
While pursuing your bachelor’s degree or after completing the course, you can opt for an internship. It will help you in getting an experience of the real world works of a criminologist. You can seek internship with the following departments:
- A police department
- State or Federal government offices
- A law office
- Research groups
- Community organizations
A master’s degree is not mandatory to land a job as a criminologist. But having a master’s degree can up your chance while applying for a job. Usually criminologists go for a job after completing their bachelor’s degree. Then they complete their master’s while in the job. After the master’s degree some people even go for doctorate as it enables you to gain an advanced position with higher pay and greater responsibilities.
A graduate degree in the following field can aid your career as a criminologist:
- Criminal Justice
- Behavioral Science
Getting a License
After completing their studies, a person must obtain a license to practice as a criminologist. To earn the license you must pass a written exam. These exams are usually rigorous and hence rigorous preparation is needed to pass these exams.
While studying or while searching for jobs you can gain experience in criminology too. You can gain experience by joining one of the following organizations if you are in the US:
- The Western Society of Criminology
- The American Society of Criminology
- The Law and Society Association
- The Midwestern Criminal Justice Association
- The International Society for Criminology
Obtaining a Job
Once you have completed your studies and obtained the license, it’s time to land a job. There are a number of careers in which you can try and get a job. In the beginning it’s best to go for an entry level position. You can find a job with the Police departments, the FBI, consultancy agencies, state and local governmental agencies or colleges and universities.
But before going for a particular job you must know that once you are hired with a federal agency, it would be difficult to get an advanced job at a state agency or vice versa.
While being hired for a job in Criminology, you are required to pass through background and security checks. A clean record with impeccable ethics would make you a desired candidate for the job. But even a slightly tarnished image can be a great roadblock in your career as a Criminologist.
Develop your skills
Once you have landed a job, you need to constantly brush up and develop your skills. For further skills development you can do the following things:
- Attend professional criminology conferences
- Publish research in the field of criminology
- Keep yourself up to date with the new developments
- Develop a specialization
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