6 Careers with an Applied Criminology Degree
An Applied Criminology degree program is designed to enhance the skill set and employ-ability of those interested in the ever-evolving field of criminology. By combining theory, research and best practices, Applied Criminology programs provide advanced instruction on issues of criminal justice, victim services, security, forensic psychology and criminal law. As with any degree, it’s important to know what type of jobs are available before making the commitment to a program. Graduates of Criminology degree programs can pursue a variety of careers, from law enforcement and corrections to teaching and consulting.
Below are six common categories of employment for Criminology graduates. Many of these careers, including the Analyst, Investigator and Corrections job categories, often only require candidates to have a Bachelor’s in Criminology (among other related degrees) and previous work experience. However, in most cases in these career fields, having a Master’s in Criminology will negate the necessity to have previous relevant work experience.
Crime and intelligence analysts collect, analyze and evaluate data to identify emerging patterns and trends in criminal activity in order to help law enforcement agencies prevent and reduce crime. Crime analysts can be employed in a variety of organizations, from city and state police departments to national security organizations. Some analysts work with intelligence data to prevent organized crime specifically relating to narcotics, gangs, terrorism or national security threats.
Crime and intelligence analyst jobs often require critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills, in addition to good administrative, communication and organization skills. As most analysts need to use complex systems and applications to accomplish their work, strong technical skills are also valuable. Extensive reporting is often part of an intelligence analyst’s jobs, so the ability to process complex information and disseminate it through clear, concise writing is also important.
Corrections Jobs: Probation Officer and Correctional Counselor
Both probation officers and correctional counselors work with offenders to promote rehabilitation and prevent further crime. These positions interview offenders, as well as their families and friends, to evaluate potential problems and assess the best course of rehabilitation. They also provide offenders with resources to aid their rehabilitation, such as opportunities for education and job training programs.
Probation officers work with offenders who have been put on probation instead of serving their full term in prison; correctional counselors work with both current inmates and previous offenders who have served their time and are no longer in prison or on parole. These jobs titles are just a few of many within this division of work. Other possible job titles include: Correctional Counselor, Parole Agent, Parole Officer, Correction Officer and Probation Counselor.
Corrections jobs tend to require a strong attention to detail and good communication skills. Writing skills are also helpful as probation officers and correctional counselors spend a fair portion of their job writing detailed reports on the treatment and progress of each offender. Good relationship skills are also critical to corrections jobs. If you don’t have a good relationship with the person you’re working with, it will be much harder to understand what’s going on in their lives and better aid their rehabilitation.
The term Investigator covers a wide variety of jobs. Depending on the organization you work for, you could be investigating anything from crimes to compliance issues. Two of the most common investigator jobs are:
Compliance Investigator: Compliance investigators, often referred to as compliance officers, are employed by a wide variety of organizations, from universities to local, state and federal government agencies. Compliance officers are responsible for investigating the internal actions of an organization to ensure they are in compliance with not only local, state or federal law, but also with the organization’s self-established policies and procedures. At the federal level, these positions often operate under the title of Inspector General.
Criminal Investigator: The most obvious type of investigator is a criminal investigator. These kinds of positions have a wide range of titles, including Special Agent and Detective. Criminal investigators look into suspected criminal activity at a local, state or federal level and as such can be employed anywhere from a city police department to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
With an advanced degree and years of experience in the field, you may be able to work as a consultant in the field of criminology. This role can take many forms. You might serve as an expert witness in trials. You could be employed by a government agency or organization to help develop policies related to crime and public safety. Or you might work in the private sector providing guidance on security planning and prevention. (Learn more about advanced security jobs.) This type of role is usually only available to very experienced criminologists, and depends heavily not only on years of experience and an advanced degree, but how you shape your career over the years in the field of criminology.
Court Operations Manager and Court Services Specialist
Having a background in Criminal Justice and Criminology can also help qualify you for positions in court management. Court operations managers oversee court services and court programs. This includes developing a budget; hiring, training and managing court staff; and overseeing facility operations. Court Services Specialists provide support for court operations. They provide information to the public on court procedures; receive, examine and file legal documents and exhibitions; prepare and issue legal documents under the supervision of a judge; and prepare court-related documents such as court minutes, calendars and petitions.
Professor, Lecturer or Teacher
As with any profession, the opportunity to teach your expertise is always an option, and the field of Criminology is no different. If you have an advanced degree in Criminology and a passion for teaching, a wide variety of educator positions at universities and community colleges are out there. Positions and job titles vary from campus to campus, but some of the most common are: Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Adjunct Faculty, Instructor and Lecturer. This is also a career field where the future looks promising – the Occupational Information Network projects that the field for criminal justice and law enforcement teachers will grow 8-14 percent between now and 2022.
Alliant’s Applied Criminology Degree Program
Alliant’s California School of Forensic Studies offers a Master’s in Applied Criminology at its Fresno, Irvine, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco campuses. The program is also available in a fully online format. Students in the Applied Criminology program can customize their program to fit their interests by choosing from three concentrations: Criminal Behavior, Conflict Resolution and Crisis Management, and Victimology. To learn more about our Master of Science in Applied Criminology program, or to speak with an advisor, please contact us.