At this moment in time, you are thinking about whether or not a job in criminology is right for you. Perhaps you were watching a crime television series and thought to yourself that the work they do is interesting, or ideally, you talked to someone that has recommended you a job in this particular field.
If you plan on pursuing this thought further, it’s important to understand exactly what criminology means, and how you can go about getting hired as a criminologist. For starters, it is nothing like crime movies or television shows that you have been watching, as those are made to be action-packed and filled with drama. There is a high likelihood that you will not solve a big crime in less than 24 hours, even if you have the best team imaginable.
This article will better explain what this job means and how to get hired for it.
Understand what criminology means
Before you delve any deeper into how to get a criminology job, you need to understand what criminology is.
It is the study of crime, and it is not to be confused with criminal justice studies. A criminologist is someone that studies and researches everything surrounding a crime, whether it’s the social aspect, the causes, a government’s reaction to crime, an individual’s reaction and so on. Criminal justice, on the other hand, involves the study of criminal laws, and thus what the legal consequences of committing a crime are.
A criminologist not only studies the criminal but the victim as well, next to society’s perception of the event. The goal of someone that studies this discipline is to not only determine the cause of a crime but to come up with a rehabilitative means of preventing it in the future. This means that the solution isn’t to lock someone in prison and to throw away the key.
Ensure that the job fits your personality
Determining your future job should always be based on your personality. What is the point of spending countless hours of your day, waiting for the time that you can finally go back home? Nor should you live your life in a way where you are constantly waiting for the weekend to arrive.
Start by ensuring that you can envision yourself in the role of a criminologist. In fact, you may even want to speak to some individuals that work in the field, as you will get a much better sense of what your day to day tasks will entail. Ask yourself whether or not you like working with people, whether you’re someone that wants to help or persuade, whether you are creative or more practical and rational, and so on. All of these personality traits will propel you towards a job that is perfect for you.
The skillsets of a criminologist
Considering that you are here to learn how to get hired for a job as a criminologist, you should also have a clearer picture of the type of skillsets that you will have to develop and foster.
For starters, you must have an interest in human nature, considering that you are studying crime in a bigger picture. You should also have an interest in research, writing and communicating, and be a keen observer of the world around you. The chances are that you will be dealing with statistics a lot, and you need to objectively analyze the data you are given, rather than allow your own prejudice to come into play. Of course, you must thus also be highly analytical and critical.
Get the necessary education
The type of education that you receive has a significant impact on whether or not you will get hired in the role of a criminologist. In fact, there are three steps that you must be mindful of here, and these include:
- Graduate high school
Although it may seem common sense to some people, it is still important to mention that graduating high school is your very first step to getting hired as a criminologist. Without this preliminary education, you will not be able to advance and obtain your bachelor’s degree at a reputable academic institution.
2. Bachelor’s degree
Choosing the place where you will study criminology is important, as these are the real first steps you are taking towards getting hired. The good news is that there are plenty of academic institutions that offer you the possibility to enroll in a criminology degree.
Preferably, you should always seek a location that is convenient for you, and you can even do a mix of online and in-class criminology courses at some places.
Without getting your bachelor’s degree, you will not get a detailed understanding of how to work as a criminologist, and this is what truly prepares you for your career, aside from the internship and work experience you will obtain after you graduate.
Examples of courses that you will take includes an introduction to criminology, the psychology of crime, mental health and justice, policing, and many others.
3. Continuing education
At no point in your life should you stop learning. Once you have obtained your bachelor’s degree, you can always choose to get continuing education and specialize in your field. Moreover, if you want to work in a college setting, you will need to also acquire your master’s and Ph.D.
Reading the latest criminology research and publishing some yourself will help you stay up to date with all of the latest insights in the industry.
Moreover, this will give you an edge in the profession, so it’s definitely something that you should consider doing, especially if there is a particular study that interests you, as someone else can then learn from the research you have done, or can expand on it further.
Career prospects in criminology
It’s important to think about all the different career options for criminology. The fact is, you can not only become a criminologist, but the field can open up new doors as well. Consider the following three factors when you are looking to get hired:
- Get an internship
An internship is something that you can seek while you are still studying, or as soon as you have graduated. It will provide you with the first real hands-on experience in your field, and you get to shadow an established professional, which will help you further develop your own skillsets.
- Find a full-time job
When you are looking for a full-time job in this field, it’s important to consider the different options for what you can do are. If you so choose, you can go into forensics or pursue a criminal justice education after the fact. Otherwise, you can look for jobs such as:
- Probation officer
- Police officer
- Corrections officer
You can look for work in a private or public sector, work for the government, think-tanks, or even at colleges as a criminology professor, so long as you pursue your higher education. Criminologists work as advisors to preventing crime, such as in state legislatures.
- Get your background check
There is a good chance that in working as a criminologist, you will also need to get your background check so that your employer can guarantee that they are hiring someone who is trustworthy and reliable in this role.
The importance of networking
Learning how to properly network will help you in obtaining any job, and criminology is no different. Make a point of going to industry relevant events, and even reach out to people yourself. The college where you are getting your degree will also help you meet the right people.
Pick a city with the right opportunities
There are some places that will have more job opportunities than others, and you should decide carefully on where you want to live. If you want to work in the criminology field, it would be in your best interest to be in or near a city, rather than somewhere in a rural area where there isn’t any need for someone that studies crime.
All in all, there are plenty of institutions that offer you the possibility to pursue this as a career by obtaining the proper higher education, you simply have to find the best one for your needs. Make sure to choose the best city in terms of location, and even look at the reputation of the program, perhaps reading some previous online reviews or getting in contact with alumni to get their opinion on it.
Like any job, it is a process to finally get hired in the role that you want. Give yourself time, but make sure to always be in a constant state of learning and make use of the opportunities that arise around you. Above all, remember to learn how to network, as this will certainly help you get hired much quicker. So long as you follow the tips outlined thus far, and you are sure of yourself that this is a job that will fit your personality and life well, you are on the right track.
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