People looking to become enforcers of the law often get into criminology programs and earn a degree in the field. This area of expertise teaches you the ins and outs of the police system and how they handle law enforcement. However, being a police officer isn't the only profession you can take on with your degree; there are a lot of other jobs out there with which you can apply all your knowledge about criminology. Here's how to get involved with criminal justice careers.
- Police officer. Using your criminology education to become a police officer is the most common career track out there. With your extensive knowledge about crime solving and the many intricacies of enforcing the law, you'd sure be on your way to fighting crime in the city and being prepared for the duties of a police officer. However, some state police departments have problems accommodating criminology graduates since it's mostly the default job for them. If you want to move on to a higher career track or criminology jobs, you might want to consider getting a masters degree first.
- Criminal investigator. As a criminal investigator, you are tasked to use the knowledge and skills you acquired from your criminology degree in assisting to prepare evidence, keep track of records and investigate criminal cases. If you need a pop culture reference to help you visualize this career track, then think of police detectives and FBI agents you see on movies-they are the closest thing to criminal investigator jobs out there.
- Forensic expert. This is a rather rare job option for someone who's a graduate of a criminology program, but it is equally exciting. If you've watched episodes of CSI and other forensic detective drama series', then you've got your eyes set on what a forensic expert does. However, being one requires a little bit more knowledge about solving crimes, so you may want to enroll in extra classes focusing on forensics to aid you in your job. There are colleges offering online classes if you're interested, or if you're too busy with your current job to attend classes.
- Prison warden. Prison wardens oversee operations of a prison. Usually this position requires thorough knowledge of law enforcement and adequate management skills. You may also have to couple your knowledge and skills with a sociology class, since you'll be required to handle a large group of people. It's important to know how people confined in a single holding unit will interact with each other, so you are prepared for anything.
- Professor. Of course, your wealth of knowledge and experience about criminology can always be used in the field, but if you're looking at a career track that entails sharing that knowledge and skills, then why not become a criminology professor yourself? You'll be asked to take several education or teaching units but aside from that, your knowledge and expertise of the field would do.
In choosing careers in criminology, make sure you set a short- and long-term goal to achieve in a span of years. Your goals will help you decide which steps to take, careers often have a track that you must follow in order to get to where you ultimately want to be.