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Criminology is one of the disciplines within sociology. It covers a range of areas including the scientific study and analysis of crime, criminal behavior, corrections, criminal evidence examination, psychological and hereditary causes of crime, investigative methods of crime, criminal convictions and the differing modes of punishment, rehabilitation and corrections. Qualified criminologists have a wide field of career opportunities to choose from including private and public agencies, federal, state and local government agencies and in education conducting research and teaching.
The forensic criminologist is a sociologist specializing in the study of criminal behavior. Part of the job profile is to study the causes and effects of crime; identify economic, sociological and psychological characteristics that cause people to commit crimes; seek ways to better understand why people become criminals; study crime prevention methods; and test methods to reduce peoples’ inclination toward crime. Forensic criminologists work in federal, state and local government agencies to help to investigate crime scenes. They also work in juvenile detention centers, prisons and mental institutions.
Education and Training Criminologist
The education and training criminologist profile is suited for a number of criminology career roles. Working in universities, the criminologist may conduct research and teach criminology, law and sociology and legal studies. Criminologists may choose to become full-time faculty members, professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors or lecturers. Education and training criminologists also have the choice to become consultants, researchers and policy advisers.
A legal criminologist will apply an education in politics, economics, sociology and psychology to better understand law making, law enforcement and law breaking. Criminologists investigate various areas of crime including criminal behavior, why a crime was committed and the changes in crime over time. A legal criminologist will work with data to research, analyze, investigate, gather information and conduct problem solving; with people to help, advise, persuade, negotiate and manage; with ideas to plan, initiate, create and communicate.
Federal Law Enforcement Criminologist
Federal law enforcement includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Secret Service and Border Patrol. Criminologists who seek employment in federal law enforcement will require a higher level of education and professional experience than is required in a similar position at the local level. A bachelor's degree in criminology combined with criminal justice or a post baccalaureate certificate in criminology and criminal justice is the first step to becoming a law enforcement criminologist. This career involves helping the victims of crimes from all walks of life.