- Seven Ways To Foster A Thrilling Career In Criminology
Are you fascinated by careers that involve thrilling crime-solving, mitigation, and prevention? Or perhaps, you’re more attracted to the etiology study of criminals and criminal profiling? Either way, criminology is the ideal career path for you as it investigates the psychological and physical aspects of crime.
Criminology is a field that investigates psychological and sociological matters. Criminology professionals study criminal minds, develop criminal profiles, and actively work to solve and prevent crimes. Criminologists work for various organizations, including police, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and even private organizations.
They are primarily responsible for analyzing and studying criminals, examining evidence, and conducting research to aid criminal investigations. If you’re anxious to start a criminology career, this article offers a 7-step plan to guide your endeavors.
How to Start a Criminology Career
PLANNING YOUR EDUCATION
It is ideal to start planning your criminology career in high school. You can take up various courses that will benefit your higher education pursuits, e.g., law, psychology, sociology, government, statistics, calculus, and history. Some high schools also offer courses in criminal law, criminal justice, and even criminology.
It is crucial to indulge in other activities to deepen your learning and expand your horizons. Take up additional readings on criminology to broaden your education. It is also advisable to participate in debates, mock trials, and explore criminology-focused documentaries.
An undergraduate degree lays down the foundation of your criminology career. Luckily, most universities and colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in criminology. There are no set of requirements to pursue criminology as a career. If you’ve already done your bachelor’s and are currently working in another field, there’s no harm in following your passion.
You can sign up for online pre law programs with a major in criminal justice or legal communication. It is also advisable to take up psychology, criminal justice, research writing, sociology, and lawful governance courses during studies. It opens up opportunities to apply for jobs in different law departments. You see, criminologists enter their profession from various academic backgrounds, primarily psychology, criminal justice, and sociology, amongst others.
SEEK OUT OPPORTUNITIES
Aspiring criminologists get expert recommendations to seek out opportunities to get real-world experiences while pursuing their education. Internships are an excellent strategy to gain first-hand knowledge and explore the energy and requirements of this field. You can consult personnel at your university or local and state agencies to figure out the internship opportunities available.
It is ideal to choose internships that are well-aligned with your academic and career goals. For instance, you can seek internships with the local police department and state of federal law enforcement agencies. You can also explore opportunities at the state or federal government offices that deal with criminal activities.
Internships at research-focused organizations, non-profit organizations, and community enterprises will also prove beneficial. You can also explore opportunities at a criminal-focused law firm.
PURSUE HIGHER EDUCATION
It is crucial to get an advanced degree to expand your career advancement opportunities and land lucrative positions. Criminologists can either pursue higher education before entering their profession or after landing a job. Pursuing a master’s degree will prove significant in expanding your career opportunities and elevating your pay scale and marketability.
A doctorate comes with even higher pay and significance as it will make you an expert in your field. It will open up lucrative advanced criminology positions, making you an integral asset for a crime-fighting organization. You can pursue a master’s in various fields aside from criminology, such as psychology, criminal justice, behavioral science, and sociology.
EARNING A LICENSE
It is crucial to get a license to start your career as a criminologist. Most countries and law enforcement agencies require licensed criminologists to qualify for their vacant positions. If you aim to earn a license, you will have to clear a written examination. This examination is usually different from any criminology degree or qualifications you may have received.
So basically, even if you have a criminology degree, you will need a license to start working as one. The licensure examination format depends on the country or state and the agency you seek to work within professional life. Typically, these exams are quite challenging and require a rigorous studying regimen.
NETWORKING & EXPOSURE
You may land your dream job with your desired organization, for instance, the FBI, but that shouldn’t keep you from trying. Building your resume and gaining experience and exposure is the right path to your desired career.
It is crucial to consider joining professional groups and organizations. Organizations, such as the International Society for Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, are great options. The American Society of Criminology, the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association, and the Western Society of Criminology offer tremendous networking opportunities.
These professional associations will help you expand your exposure and build a lucrative resume to enhance your marketability. Networking events and associations open opportunities for advancement, research, and job-hunting.
Criminologists can explore job opportunities in numerous fields and typically begin with entry-level positions. However, this career allows for lucrative opportunities for career advancement. Keep in mind that crossing fields are often tricky in criminology. If you’re working with a state agency, you might find it challenging to land a federal agency job.
Criminologists can seek out opportunities with colleges and universities, crime consultation agencies, criminal investigation agencies, the FBI, and law enforcement agencies. If you’re applying for state or federal agencies, such as the FBI, be prepared for lengthy background and security checks. Criminologists aiming for government agencies must maintain a spotless record and a faultless presence.
BUILD YOUR SKILLS
Once you’ve landed a job, your journey doesn’t end, but instead, it marks the beginning of your career path. Focus on building your skills and excelling in your job each day. Your workload will depend on your designation and expertise. It will also depend on your chosen agency or employers.
Typically, a criminologist’s job involves research and analysis, fieldwork, investigations, and preparing records. For instance, you may aid law enforcement personnel in gathering and examining evidence from a crime scene. You may review the social issues about a crime, such as corruption, drug abuse, or poverty. You can also play a role in processing information, writing reports, and conducting research. If you chose to explore governance-related positions, you could aid policymakers in mitigating and preventing crime.
As a criminologist, you can explore various alternative careers that are just as thrilling and fulfilling. Building your expertise, experience, and skills with continuous training will prove instrumental in opening up lucrative career advancement opportunities. You can seek out specializations in evidence analysis and handling or research criminal sociology and crime prevention.
It is crucial to attend conferences of various local and international societies focused on criminology. It will help you expand your network, stay abreast of industry trends and innovations.
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