Learn How to Become a Criminologist
1) Start by earning a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Sociology or Criminal Justice.
2) Research your state and county criminologist licensure requirements. (Some states require a license and others do not.)
3) Most Criminologists have at least a Master's Degree in Psychology, Sociology or Criminal Justice, so it would be a good idea to pursue your graduate education to be competitive in this field. Work experience can be a substitute for education in some cases. For example, a law enforcement or correctional officer may only need to earn a bachelor's degree to qualify for a criminologist position.
4) If you are interested in research or teaching at the university level, you will need to earn a PhD in Psychology or Sociology.
Criminologist Career Description
Criminologists use psychology, social patterns and statistics to analyze criminal behaviors and methods to help predict and prevent future criminal behavior. Psychological profiling also plays a role in the criminology profession. Criminologists also evaluate how crime rates are affected by different law enforcement methods.
Criminologists apply their education and experience in local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, or they may work in academia (as college professors). Criminologists also work in law enforcement for the FBI, state and local police departments, the U.S. Secret Service, and other state and federal agencies.
Learn How to Become a Criminologist: Requirements
Most criminologists hold a bachelor's degree in psychology or sociology, but many have master's or PhD degrees in the behavioral sciences. Criminologists must be experts at analyzing crime rates and statistics, utilizing the most current crime fighting technology. They must also be able to write clear and thorough reports to share their knowledge and findings. Because of this, it's a good idea to take courses in statistics, computer science and writing.
According to the 2012-13 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, criminologists, who are technically sociologists, and who work in law enforcement, earned a median annual salary of $72,360. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
If you'd like to read more about this field, check out our article on careers in criminology.
Or, now that you know you would like to enter the criminologist field, what are you waiting for? Request free information from the accredited online schools below.
Online Criminal Justice Schools
- Master of Arts in Criminology (Online)
- Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology - Non-Licensure Track (Online)
- Master of Science (M.S.) in Forensic Psychology (Online)
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Forensic Psychology (Online)
- PsyD - Criminology and Justice Studies (Online)
- MA in Psychology - Criminology and Justice Studies (Online)