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Job Disadvantages of Being a Criminologist

Some individuals turn to criminology because they possess a fascination with the way in which the criminal mind works and a desire to help better society by contributing to the understanding of perpetrators of crime. While this job certainly has its rewards, there are some negative aspects associated with working in this profession as well. Before you decide upon this job as the ideal option for you, consider the negatives and decide if the advantages outweigh these potential setbacks.


As with any job in which you work closely with criminals, being a criminologist can expose the individual to danger. Many criminologists work in police stations or in prisons, interviewing suspected or convicted criminals. While security takes measure to ensure that these working criminologists remain safe security measures can fail, exposing the criminologist to danger.

Irregular Work Hours

Depending upon the organization for which a criminologist works, he may be expected to work irregular hours. Particularly when criminologists work closely with police forces, they may be called upon to work outside of traditional office hours and instead be available whenever criminals strike. This can create hardship for criminologists who also have families with whom they wish to spend time.

High Stakes

Working as a criminologist can be highly stressful, as the decisions you reach have major, potentially life-altering, consequences. If a criminologist makes a mistake or a poor call, his error could have serious ramifications. Particularly when criminologists are called upon to testify, their testimony can prove crucial in convicting or acquitting suspected criminals. This means that a simple error could result in an innocent individual spending time in jail or a guilty individual walking free. These serious repercussions can create stress that some criminologists find it difficult to deal with.

Heavy Academic Requirements

Because of the seriousness of their jobs, criminologists are held to high education standards. These workers must possess a minimum of a master’s degree. Earning this degree requires a long amount of time spent in study and a serious dedication to the profession. Additionally, while some criminologists are paid handsomely, others start off with a low wage, making the repayment of these likely school debts quite the challenge.


Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.