Have you ever considered becoming a criminologist? Similarly, do you know what it takes to earn a degree in criminology? Do you know what kinds of jobs require such a degree?
Can you pursue this degree online, or must you attend class on campus? Is an online degree in criminology costly? How long does it take to complete? All of these questions, and more, will be answered in this article.
Let’s Start With the Degree Required to Obtain A Degree In Criminology
The Princeton Review rates the academic requirements for criminology as “difficult.” For example, to enter the most basic level of positions in criminology requires at least a bachelor’s degree.
Additionally, upper-level positions may require a Master’s or Doctorate level degree. On the other hand, some employers will pay for continued education toward an advanced degree.
Certainly, if you plan to become a criminologist, earning a criminology degree is the most obvious choice. Alternatively, some students pursuing a career in this field choose a major in sociology or psychology instead.
Likewise, a degree in sociology or psychology, with a strong emphasis on the study of crime, might be accepted for some positions. A few of the essential classes include computer science, logic and statistics, and English composition.
Sociology vs. Criminology
In short, sociologists train to study the way people interact with one another. In addition, they also study how groups and organizations work.
Sociologists, whose focus is primarily on criminal behavior are criminologists. To sum it up, they study criminal motivation and potential societal changes that could alter crime rates in the future.
What Are Career Options for Criminologists?
There are several well-paying career options available to those with the appropriate education. However, diverse experiences make your application more desirable for some of these positions.
In other words, the right experience combined with a degree in criminology may land you the position you most want.
Criminal justice system professionals use their wide range of knowledge in their various roles. This knowledge includes sociology, political science, criminal justice, law, forensic science, and psychology.
This quickly evolving industry relies on these professionals in so many ways. In short, the time is right for earning a degree in criminology.
Simultaneously, our federal government is continually increasing its focus on stronger social control and improving our security levels. This is especially true in public places.
Further interests include the deterrence of crime, the increased rehabilitation of offenders, and criminal penalty mitigation. Certainly, this is a rapidly expanding area of need.
In short, persons who complete criminal justice degrees gain the knowledge and skills required to obtain lucrative careers. Furthermore, they also have a bright future for advancement.
What Are The Highest Paying Criminal Justice Careers?
To sum up, based on the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), as well as other sources, here are the 10 Best Paying “Criminal Justice Careers.”
Basically, they provide clerical support within various court systems and municipalities, as well as for federal licensing agencies and bureaus. To clarify, some of their administrative duties include:
- the research and retrieval of information,
- court case docket preparation,
- financial record and fiscal account maintenance,
- collection of fees and issuing licenses and permits,
- the drafting of town or city council bylaws.
Most importantly, court clerks must have completed either a technical program offered by a vocational school or have earned a two-year associate’s degree to qualify for employment.
In general, court clerks earn between $23,430 to $77,770 annually. Obviously, there is room for growth for individuals just starting off in this career.
Above all, Victim Advocates assist victims who have been traumatized by various acts of violence. Such trauma may be caused by rape, domestic abuse, and other types of physical assault.
They are employed by hospitals, jails, offices of the district attorney, hospitals, or other non-profit organizations.
Helping clients to work through the recovery and legal process, Victim Advocates direct them to optional resources and offer support. When needed, they may go with the victim to court.
Additionally, they may help their clients to obtain a court injunction when necessary. Their main goal is to minimize both the physical and emotional consequences of the crime that the victim might experience.
Victim advocates also:
- investigate complaints,
- offer administrative support with statistical record-keeping,
- devise means of improving client support services.
A degree is required to enter this profession. It may be either a bachelor’s degree with work experience or a master’s degree.
The degree may be in criminal justice, psychology, or sociology. Typical earnings for victim advocates range from $25,636 to $31,616, annually.
Corrections Officers provide oversight to offenders who are incarcerated within jails, prisons, or other centers of detention. It is their responsibility to maintain security and to uphold the regulations and policies of each institution.
Further, they prevent escapes, control prison populations, and minimize disturbances in general. Other responsibilities of Corrections officers include the following.
- the transport of inmates
- completion of reports regarding inmate behavior, and their activities
- inspection of facilities for compliance with sanitation, safety, and hazards regulations.
Above all, to qualify for a position as a Corrections Officer, you must possess a high school diploma before the completion of specialized training.
The American Jail Association and the American Correctional Association provide this required training.
Recently, it has become common for candidates to be required to complete a bachelor’s degree in a criminal justice field. Additionally, they must also have three years of work experience.
Corrections officers typically earn $29,660 to $51,000 annually.
Probation Officers are expected to do the following things.
- Supervise, rehabilitate, and reform offenders. The offenders may be convicted of crimes, on probation, awaiting sentencing, or are not incarcerated.
- Assist offenders just released from incarceration and oversee their activities for a specified time.
- Investigate offenders’ history, backgrounds, and environment and report findings to court officials
- Recommend social resources and rehabilitation assistance
- Recommend and review sentences
- Assist with modifications of court orders
- Refer offenders to counseling, career training, or community service program
Probation officers are required to pass oral, written, and psychological tests. They must have earned a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
The degree may be in criminal justice, law enforcement, social work, or a related field. The typical annual salary for a Probation Officer is in the range of $35,990 to $60,430.
Paralegals work within several, varied locations such as:
- law firms,
- law offices,
- organizations or corporations,
- license service companies,
- bankruptcy firms,
- arbitration services,
- public notaries,
- independent consultants
Paralegals specialize in the research, analysis, organization, and collection of information. Their work products are used for meetings, hearings, trials, and other various proceedings.
Some Paralegals assist with estate planning, creating trust funds, and in the preparation of tax returns. They may also provide oversight to other law office staff. Paralegals frequently maintain financial records for their places of employment.
A minimum of a two-year associate’s degree within a paralegal program is required. However, applicants who have completed an advanced degree are more desirable and are better compensated.
Paralegals typically earn an annual salary ranging from $36,080 to $58,540.
Forensics Analysts are vital employees within the criminal justice system. They may be employed by various entities such as the following.
- city, county, or state crime labs
Further, they may work at crime scenes and often work closely with the following people.
- medical examiners
- police departments
- toxicology lab technicians
- hospital staff
- researchers at colleges or universities
Forensic Analysts collect, analyze, identify, and classify physical evidence for law enforcement investigations. Some forensic analysts specialize within specific, related fields like the following.
They often testify in court. As expert witnesses, their reports regarding the laboratory findings carry a lot of weight with a jury.
Since they are considered experts in their field, Forensic Analysts must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree. This degree must be earned within a criminal justice program with a forensic science specialization.
In other words, most law enforcement agencies give preference to applicants possessing a graduate-level degree. Typically, Forensic Analysts have annual salaries in the range of $37,520 to $58,510.
Federal Marshals are vital members of the U.S. government. These agents are in charge of the following functions.
- securing federal courts
- protecting both court officers and court structures
- locating fugitives, serving arrest warrants and, transporting prisoners
U.S. Marshals are required to have earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. They must also have had a minimum of three years of work experience.
Their background check must be clear. They must also pass written, physical, and psychological assessments to gain admittance into the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy.
Located in Glynco, Georgia, the Academy consists of 17 ½ weeks of basic training. This training consists of both practical experiences and classroom training.
U.S. Marshals typically earn an annual salary in the range of $38,511 to $48,708.
Police Officers perform many functions. Here are some of those functions.
- maintain public order
- collect evidence
- pursue and apprehend criminals
- testify in court
- prevent, investigate, and report suspicious activities
- respond to calls from those in need of their assistance
- make arrests
- temporarily detain individuals
Local, State or Federal agencies may employ police officers.
Qualifying as a police officer requires the completion of several tests. Police Officers must pass written, medical, and physical fitness tests. Additionally, they must pass all psychological evaluations.
The psychological tests determine their intellectual, physical, and emotional capabilities as required for employment. Applicants must pass all required tests to advance to police academy training.
These programs offer practical training and classroom instruction. They also provide candidates the opportunity to enhance their physical fitness.
Basic Educational Requirements
Candidates are given preference if they have completed studies in law enforcement or administration of justice within a degree program. Either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree will suffice.
They typically often earn better salaries than do applicants with less education. Police officers typically earn an annual salary in a range from $38,850 to $64,940.
Private Investigators and Detectives
Private Investigators (and Detectives) utilize law enforcement techniques specifically designed to perform the following functions.
- collect evidence
- apprehend criminals
- solve crimes
- maintain laws
- examine records
Private investigators (PIs) gather facts via various methods. They use their skills of observation, interviewing, and researching records to aid in raids or arrests.
Detectives are not always licensed. Licensing requirements depend upon their place of employment. There are various opportunities for employment as a PI or a detective.
Most PIs work for private firms, police agencies, various interagency task forces, or individuals. They often specialize in fields such as the following.
- SWAT teams
Most detectives were once police officers. They gradually advanced after gaining experience and further training.
This additional training may be obtained via law enforcement or criminal justice programs. Occasionally, it is earned within a political science program.
Detectives typically earn an annual salary in the range of $59,320 to $92,700.
In spite of the many bad lawyer jokes, attorneys hold the #1 spot for being the highest-paid member of this group. This representation may be in criminal and civil trials or for advising them about their legal obligations and rights.
Lawyers act as advocates or advisors. Based upon their personal knowledge of the law, judicial decisions, and research into a topic, they provide clients sound business advice or courses of action.
Specialty fields of law
In addition, lawyers may specialize in a particular field of law. Some of their areas of expertise may be as follows.
- intellectual property
- criminal law
- civil law
- public interest
- elder, or probate laws
Basic Educational Requirements
Lawyers must “Pass the Bar” to be able to practice law. Before they can sit for the Bar Exam, they must do the following things.
- Initially, earn a 4-year undergraduate degree as a minimum degree.
- Additionally, you must be accepted into and graduate from an accredited law school. Depending on the law school, it can take 3 or 4 years to complete. Further, you must have a law degree to sit for the bar examination.
- Most importantly, these degrees are required to obtain a law license. You cannot practice law without a license.
Lawyers typically earn an annual salary in the range of $74,980 to $163,320.
Costs of Online College Courses
In a nutshell, the costs of online college courses are often less than those taken on campus. A full discussion regarding this topic is in other articles on this site.
Basically, it costs no more to pursue one field of study than another. The costs go up for the advanced degrees because of the number of credits you must earn.
In the same vein, the topic does not determine the cost. So, whether you are studying education, art, business, or criminology, the cost will be the same. The subject matter is not the cost determining factor.
In short, an Associate’s degree costs less than a Bachelor’s degree. Basically, the number of credits required to earn the degrees determines the cost.
Additionally, the list of the top ten careers above tells you the degree preferred or necessary for each one.
Due to the length of this article, I refer you to other articles on the website. Read the ones providing information about the costs of online colleges as compared to brick-and-mortar colleges.
In conclusion, if you are considering an online degree in criminology, take time to seriously research the element of cost. It is worth your time and effort to do so. https://onlinecollegelife.info/what-does-online-college-cost/
Photos courtesy of Pixabay