Criminologists study a variety of tangible and intangible factors that contribute to crime statistics, including demographics, social behavior, criminal behavior and psychology, and statistics. Criminologists are needed to analyze all of these factors and report their predictions for how overall crimes can be minimized or prevented, how specific criminals can be caught and prosecuted, and how a particular crime fits into the larger pattern of criminal behavior and/or social problems. Daily duties range from interviewing witnesses and suspects, to writing and studying reports of demographical issues and social problems, to visiting crime scenes to testifying in court. Criminologists combine their understanding of very technical, practical skills like reading and reporting statistics with their ability to communicate intangible factors like social psychology and criminal research. Both of these aspects of their job are used by lawyers and law enforcement officials as methods of gathering evidence and pursuing an investigation. Criminologists typically enjoy regular work schedules but are often needed to put in overtime hours, accept on-call shifts and attend crime scenes in addition to their research.
Top Criminologist Programs
Criminologists work in many different business environments, including colleges and universities, law enforcement agencies and government. Because of this versatility, the pay scale and salary expectations for criminologists also differ. If a criminologist combines his or her teaching position with consulting work for a law enforcement agency, the salary expectations may be higher than if income was only coming from one source. Some criminologists also work as full-time psychologists, which can be a lucrative career depending on location, experience and education. Benefits packages are readily available for those who work for universities, psychology offices and law enforcement agencies, but may be harder to secure if you are self-employed.
Criminologists are experts at combining skills from many different fields to become marketable criminal justice professionals. Education and training in research, psychology, sociology, statistics, criminal justice, history, geography and other fields is important. Master’s degrees are preferred in this industry, as criminologists are expected to have spent a lot of time studying criminal behavior. A Master’s degree in criminal justice, sociology or psychology with a concentration in criminal behavior will be very useful with research projects, analytical work and when communicating with legal and law enforcement professionals.