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Careers in criminology are highly sought after by many people who are just starting out in their careers. However, becoming a criminologist demands a lot of commitment and dedication. You need to understand the steps that you need to take towards your dream job, as well as what you can expect if you do decide upon a career in the public sector.
What do you have to do to get a criminology career?
The first thing that you need to consider when you are deciding whether criminology is a career that you would like to pursue is the steps that you need to take to achieve this and whether these are something that you could commit to. The actions that you need to take to follow a criminology career are:
- You need to take an appropriate degree to ensure that your resume can meet the qualification requirements of the job role. These degrees can also allow you to gain the specific knowledge that you need, hone the skills that are integral to the position, and even allow you to gain hands-on experience. At colleges like Wilfrid Laurier, they can provide you with online BAs in criminology and policing that can help you to take the first steps towards your future. You may also decide to take a master’s qualification to specialize in a specific subject or to be in a better position to apply for leadership roles.
- You will then have to find a graduate training scheme which can open doors into the sector and allow you to make professional connections, learn practical skills, and get the experience that you need in a working criminology environment.
- You can find criminology jobs by looking at this list of careers in criminal justice, specialist job boards, searching for positions on your government’s website, joining professional organizations, and networking with others in the public sector.
What are your salary expectations?
Although the salary of a criminologist may not be essential for every applicant, your potential salary could affect your lifestyle in the future. So, you must consider this before you make a definite decision. Your wage will depend largely on the job role that you decide upon, with popular positions including fraud investigators, researchers, correctional officers, and case managers. The average criminologist makes just over $72,000 a year. However, starting salaries reach an average of $32,000, meaning that it may be a few years before you can earn the wage that you are looking for.
What are your duties?
Criminologists investigate the causes of crimes and seek to understand criminals to prevent the same events from occurring again. As a criminologist, you will often work with other law enforcement officials, such as the police, to stop crime in the future. The duties of a criminologist include:
- Creating criminal profiles
- Researching past crimes
- Seeking out patterns in behavior
- Looking into the background of criminals
- Working continually with statistics
It will also be necessary for you to analyze crime scenes and autopsies, and you will be asked to develop reform policies and crime prevention schemes. You might also be asked to interview suspects and formulate plans to ensure that they are being treated humanely.
However, it is essential to realize how much of your time will be spent conducting research rather than taking an active role in crime prevention. In fact, you will hand over your findings to law enforcement officials who will be able to enact these. Instead, you will write reports with this research, which can be used to implement new laws and regulations.
What is your personality type?
Your personality type can profoundly influence whether a career in criminology is right for you and whether you have the soft skills that are necessary for the role. Criminologists need to be resilient, and they must also have the excellent physical aptitude to ensure that they are prepared for long hours and for witnessing difficult situations. You need to have an interest in understanding human psychology and behavior, and this requires a certain amount of empathy to allow you to see the world from another’s perspective. It is also vital that you have the patience for when you are conducting weeks of research without the results that you need and that you have been looking for.
You do not only need to have the right personality type, though, and you must be able to increase your soft skills if you do not have a natural aptitude for them. Some of the soft skills that you need include:
- Excellent written and verbal communication
- Independent thought
- Critical thinking and analysis
- A good understanding of statistics and math
- Observation skills
Who do you want to be employed by?
However, one of the significant factors that could decide whether you want to become a criminologist or not is who you will be employed by if you follow a career in law enforcement. For instance, most criminologists are employed by social and government agencies or crime prevention services. However, if your job focuses more on the research aspect of criminology duties, you may be employed by a college or research facility where you can teach the subject in between your findings.
Not only will you be employed by these facilities, but you will also work with a broad range of different companies and professionals, including police services, prisons, and rehabilitation centers, to have a positive impact.
Choosing a career in criminology is a big decision to make. It can be tough but also very rewarding at the same time, and it will allow you to make a genuine difference in your community. Before you make a final decision on whether to pursue a career in criminology, it is essential to understand the requirements and duties of the role and whether they are right for you and fit in with your current lifestyle. From salary expectations to your employer, all of these factors could potentially impact your career choice and your passion for the role in the future.