Polygence blog / Education and College Admissions

What You Can Do with a Criminology Degree: Careers & Job Paths

5 minute read

A criminology degree opens doors to a diverse range of career opportunities. Far beyond the stereotypical images associated with crime shows and detective dramas, criminology is a field that delves into the complexities of crime, its causes, and its impact on society. So, if you're a high school student with a passion for unraveling mysteries and making a difference, here's your roadmap to the exciting and varied terrain of criminology.

Criminology Careers

1. Solving Mysteries: Private Investigation

For those with a knack for detail and a love for mystery-solving, picture yourself as a licensed private investigator. With a criminology degree, you could be conducting research, gathering evidence, and assisting clients in various legal matters. It's like being the real-life detective you've always admired.

2. Criminal Profiling and Forensics

Ever been fascinated by criminal profiling and forensic investigations? Criminology graduates analyze criminal behavior patterns, create suspect profiles, and use scientific methods to contribute to investigations. It's the perfect blend of psychology, criminology, and investigative techniques. Bear in mind that being a forensic psychologist will involve graduate school and a heavier science workload than other criminology careers.

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3. Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Prevention

In a world dominated by technology, criminology takes on a high-tech twist. Imagine specializing in cybersecurity and cybercrime prevention—protecting individuals and organizations from online threats, investigating cybercrimes, and enhancing digital security. 

4. Law Enforcement

Want to be the first set of eyes at a crime scene? Law enforcement may be the path for you. A bachelor's degree in criminology lays a strong foundation for protecting public safety. With a deep understanding of criminality, you could even rise the ranks from police officer to deputy sheriff.

4. International Development and Human Rights

For the high schooler dreaming of making a global impact, criminology offers opportunities in international development and human rights. Work with international organizations, NGOs, or government agencies to contribute to projects addressing crime, conflict, and human rights violations on a global scale. It's a chance to be a human services hero and a global crime fighter!

5. Intelligence Analysts for Homeland Security

For those passionate about fighting crime, the government always has positions open for Intelligence Analysts for those interested in safeguarding nations from potential threats. In this specialized domain, criminologists become the architects of national security strategies, utilizing their analytical skills to interpret vast amounts of data, identify potential risks, and develop proactive measures. It's a role that requires a deep understanding of global threats, emerging trends, and the ability to connect the dots in a rapidly evolving landscape. From working in intelligence agencies to contributing to border security and counterterrorism efforts, professionals in this field play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and resilience of a nation. 

Role Model Alert: Take inspiration from criminologist Dr. Louise Shelley, whose work has influenced intelligence analysis. 

6. Legal Professions

If you've ever imagined yourself in a courtroom setting, a criminology degree can be your ticket. While not a direct path to becoming an attorney, it serves as a strong foundation for roles like legal researchers, legal assistants, or paralegals. It's a chance to be a trailblazer in the pursuit of justice.

7. Social Work and Community Outreach

For those high schoolers with a heart for making a difference at the community level, criminology opens doors to careers in social work and community outreach. Engage with at-risk populations, implement community-based programs, and address social issues contributing to criminal behavior. It's about making a direct impact where it matters most.

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8. Corrections and Rehabilitation

Ever thought about being a hero behind bars? In the realm of corrections, criminology graduates can pursue careers as correctional officers, prison counselors, or rehabilitation specialists. It's about working with incarcerated individuals, addressing their needs, and implementing programs aimed at reducing criminal behavior.

9. Advocates for the Voiceless: Victim Advocacy and Support Services

For those who want to be advocates for the voiceless, a criminology degree opens opportunities to be a victim advocate or support service social worker. Provide emotional support, resources, and assistance to those navigating the criminal justice system. It's a chance to stand up for those affected by crime and make a real difference.

The Wide World of Criminology Jobs

Whether you're drawn to the thrill of solving mysteries, the impact of global crime-fighting, or the opportunity to be a hero in your community, criminology is the pathway to a dynamic and meaningful career. So, which adventure will you choose, budding criminal justice professionals? The options are as diverse as the mysteries you'll unravel.

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Here are a few references for those interested in pursuing this path further. Bonus: there are also internships available at the university level at FBI, CIA, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations listed below! 

  1. American Society of Criminology

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook: Police and Detectives

  3. National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

  4. American Probation and Parole Association (APPA)

  5. American Correctional Association (ACA)

  6. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - Careers

  7. International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA)

  8. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS)

  9. Human Rights Watch