You are here

Criminology & Criminal Justice

Help make communities safer by preventing, discovering, and investigating crimes. Criminology and criminal justice professionals work in a variety of areas including victim services, re-entry, law enforcement, the courts, community and institutional corrections, non-profit services, and education. 

Degree Programs

Requirements 

Requirements and training vary by profession. Many criminology and criminal justice professionals should be prepared to pass drug and background checks as well as meet physical requirements.

Jobs

Criminology

Criminology is the study of the causes, correction, and prevention of crime using approaches from myriad disciplines including sociology, biology, psychology, economics, statistics, public policy, and philosophy. 

Corrections

Institutional and community-based corrections balance public safety with offender rehabilitation. Re-entry programs and offender rehabilitation programs help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reintegrate into society. Jobs include:

  • Institutional correctional officer
  • Probation officer
  • Parole officer
  • Caseworker in re-entry or rehabilitation agency

Courts

Work within the legal system to serve justice. Jobs include: 

  • Bailiffs 
  • Court clerks
  • Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers 
  • Paralegals and legal assistants (requires additional education)
  • Lawyers (requires additional education) 

Crime Scene Investigator

Help solve crimes with the application of science. Crime scene investigators collect and preserve evidence at the crime scene and prepare it for analysis in the lab.

Law Enforcement

Serve communities by enforcing the law with the goals of providing public safety and maintaining public order. Jobs include: 

  • Municipal police officer
  • Sheriff deputy
  • Non-sworn support employees in municipal police departments (e.g., crime analysts or public information officers)
  • Federal law enforcement 
  • Specialized law enforcement (port, airport, transit, fish and game, etc.)

Work Settings

  • Custody settings (prisons and jails)
  • Courthouses
  • Offices 
  • Police departments
  • In the field (in communities, along borders, national parks, on the water, etc.) 

Career Outlook & Pay

Outlook

The criminal justice career sector is among the fastest growing in the United States. Across the nation, there is a focus on law enforcement, public safety, and security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this growth will continue into the next decade. 

Median annual wages

  • Criminologists (sociologists): $82,050
  • Corrections and bailiffs: $44,400 
  • Forensic science technicians: $58,230 
  • Police and detectives: $63,380 

Interests, Skills & Values  

Service orientation

Criminology and criminal justice professionals are committed to serving the public, upholding the law, pursuing justice for all individuals, and ensuring public safety.  

Ethical responsibility

Criminology and criminal justice professionals are committed to the treatment of all people with respect and dignity.  

Empathy and cultural competence

Criminology and criminal justice professionals are open to the perspectives of a wide variety of people from different backgrounds.

Analytic skills

Criminology and criminal justice professionals have strong analytical skills. They are able to compile, analyze, and interpret data to address complex social issues. 

Public policy interest

Criminology and criminal justice professionals can shape public policy. They promote data-driven, evidence-based policies, and practices that benefit the greater good.

Communication skills

Criminology and criminal justice professionals express themselves effectively in writing and orally. Report writing, testifying in court, giving presentations, and working together in a team are essential components to a successful career.   

Physical strength and stamina

Many criminology and criminal justice careers require physical strength and stamina. Many are required to pass physical examinations and to maintain a minimum level of physical fitness.

Decision-making skills

Many criminology and criminal justice professionals must be able to make critical decisions quickly. They are  able to make decisions without the interference of personal feelings, prejudice, or animosity

Leadership skills

Criminology and criminal justice professionals who promote to leadership positions have strong leadership skills. They work with diverse populations and can be in stressful circumstances. They must be able to remain calm under pressure. 

Related Careers