What are some potential career paths for Criminology?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Vicki, Nov 30, 2022.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Well-Known Member

    I know that I have seen some folks here have degrees in Criminology or related areas so I am hoping for some insight.

    For the first time in a long time, my 16 year old son expressed interest in going to college for Criminology. He is very interested in history and why people do what they do. He enjoys watching videos about solving crimes. At one point, I thought he could be a good prosecutor just based on his interests and the way he can argue a point with solid facts. But with ADHD, he is not the best student - so Law school is probably a stretch. We pulled up some random course guides for criminology and criminal justice to see what might be typical of the programs. For now, I have suggested he take electives in high school for Psychology, Forensics, Criminal Law, Sociology, and Intro to Criminal Justice. He probably won’t be able to take all of those, but taking some should help him figure out if that is a path he wants to take.

    We mentioned it to my husband who is a police lieutenant and he said it was a waste of time to get a degree in criminology and he should just get a business degree. Well, he has zero interest in that right now. Of course, his interests may change, but I’d like to encourage him to explore the options.

    Any insights from those that KNOW the field? Like what jobs could that lead to?
  2. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    social services
    substance abuse counseling (depending on state requirements)
    community corrections (parole and probation)
    criminal intelligence analyst
    crime scene technician or crime scene investigator (depending on the courses taken)
    state law enforcement
    the rare city or county law enforcement job that requires a bachelor's degree
    security management
    federal law enforcement (depending on the agency and position)
    corrections counselor (this is an unlicensed position within the Federal Bureau of Prisons)
    unlicensed counseling for youth
    non-sworn investigators, such as regulatory, compliance, and civil investigators
    high school criminal justice teacher

    ADHD may or may not be a disqualifier for a sworn law enforcement or corrections position. They will likely request a letter from a mental health provider stating whether he can safely perform the required duties.

    Getting a general business, business management, or business administration degree is almost as risky as getting a criminology or criminal justice degree. Both types of degrees are among the top 10 most popular (they're oversaturated), they're both a mile wide and an inch deep in content, and they don't prepare students for any specific career. However, a business degree will be relevant to a broader range of jobs.
    sideman and Studious like this.
  3. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    Business degrees may be more "useful", as far as being applicable to a wider range of jobs, but if one is unable to finish the degree then it's worthless. Having "a" degree is infinitely better than having no degree, as long as you're not paying through the nose for the privilege.

    This is the kid who also has an interest in computer games, yeah? He could get a degree in criminology and then go on to develop a popular realistic psychological horror murder mystery game or something.
    sideman and Studious like this.
  4. Studious

    Studious Member

    My degree is in Business, Management, and Economics, yet that's not my passion, and accordingly, my career is in another field. No degree is a waste of time. @sanantone listed three of the ideas I had, plus several more. Even if the degree track doesn't appear to be marketable, the fact that he's showing a strong interest is a good sign.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  5. Vicki

    Vicki Well-Known Member

    Yes! And he tends to gravitate towards games that have some root in history. Based on what he has told me, and picking from the list sanantone gave, he may be interested in something like criminal intelligence analyst. I don't really know what exactly that is, but the title seems applicable. LOL. At this point, I want to encourage him to explore anything that might interest him.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Criminal intelligence analysts look at crime trends and analyze data on emerging problems to inform law enforcement agencies of where they should be concentrating their efforts. There are also investigative analysts. It helps to have skills in Excel, databases, statistics, and geographic information systems.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  7. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

  8. Nemo

    Nemo Member

    I have a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and would not recommend anyone earn the same unless, like me, they have no career aspirations requiring a specific degree.
  9. Asymptote

    Asymptote Active Member

    Grand larceny
    Wire fraud
    Safe cracking
    Running numbers
  10. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    Ha! You sure you don't mean Political Science majors?
  11. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    FTX Fraud examiner, media contributor, etc. :D
  12. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    chrisjm18 likes this.
  13. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    Like others have said, many, many jobs ask for a Bachelor's degree of SOME kind, but are often open ended by stating "or related field" which can mean anything the employer wants it to mean. Get the interview and make your degree relevant in the discussion. I'm confused as to why so many people see their degree as a LIMITATION instead of a FOUNDATION. Besides the jobs already mentioned, and State jobs that might involve working with policymakers, courts, research, administration, and other aspects of the justice system, insurance companies and employee benefit providing companies, etc. often need fraud investigators and folks that handle all of that process and procedure - those could also be an entire industry segment to explore. Including those other corporate jobs that just require a degree in "something".
    Rachel83az likes this.
  14. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I think he was a law enforcement officer, but most of the criminal justice professors I've had never worked in the criminal justice field, and they know nothing about the job market. Among the ones who did work outside of academia, most of them were attorneys.

    If anyone has specific questions about the jobs I've listed, I worked in half of them and received job offers or interviews for others. My list comes from applying to hundreds of jobs during the aftermath of the Great Recession, to be honest. If someone has mainly been in one career and didn't apply to others, they may not know all the potential opportunities available for their degree.
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  15. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I happen to log in just to share the good news that Columbia Southern achieved SACSCOC accreditation and saw you mentioned me.

    I worked in the CJ field - law enforcement agencies (municipal and university in U.S. and national-Jamaica) and a state juvenile justice agency.
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  16. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Criminology and Criminal Justice are two different yet related disciplines. The former focuses on trying to understand/explain why people do what they do (i.e., commit crime and engage in delinquency). The latter is responsible for responding to those who commit criminal/delinquent act, e.g., police, courts, and corrections.

    I think a degree in CJ is more versatile. There are many opportunities beyond the typical law enforcement, courts, and corrections. You can find employment in victim services, domestic violence, case management, etc.

    In my CJ department (400+ students), only the department chair doesn't have practical experience. One was a police chief before earning his Ph.D. at U at Albany. I'm the only one with a non-traditional doctorate. Others graduated from Rutgers, Michigan State, and Indiana University, to name a few.
  17. Vicki

    Vicki Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. My son said he is interested in WHY people do what they do. For my part, I just want to encourage anything that involves future goals. For his part, he won’t be interested in going to school unless it’s something that interests him. At *this* stage, that’s a “win”.
  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Then, criminology or forensic psychology would probably be a better fit than criminal justice.
    Vicki likes this.
  19. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Late to the party, but Criminology could also lead to a Forensic Psychology Master's and PhD and resulting career as a Psychologist working with offenders. I took a course in undergrad on Threat Assessment and Risk Management. My Professor was a former Police Officer turned Criminologist with a PhD in Forensic Psychology. We learned how to administer and score tools like the Violence Risk Assessment Guide (VRAG) and the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG).
  20. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    There's usually no prerequisite major for earning a master's in forensic psychology. They might ask for a few prerequisite courses, but you could have a degree in mathematics. Most forensic psychologists have a doctorate in clinical or counseling psychology and are licensed as psychologists. Psychology jobs working with offenders almost always require a license to practice. It's almost impossible to get ABPP board certification in forensic psychology without going through an APA-accredited program or the Canadian equivalent. APA only accredits clinical, counseling, and school psychology programs. One might be able to find an APA-accredited program with a concentration in forensic psychology.

    Parole and probation officers with bachelor's degrees administer risk assessments, so it doesn't require a high level of training. I received that training in a parole officer academy.

    If one wants to be a practicing forensic psychologist, be sure to complete a license-eligible program.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2022
    Vicki likes this.

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