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Crimes happen. People rob banks, they hold up stores. People are mugged, attacked and killed. Cars are stolen, homes broken into and children are kidnapped. Some crime is random, some is planned and plotted. Some criminals are desperate, while others are mentally ill.

Criminologists are the people who study crimes and criminal behavior. They look for answers to questions like, how does crime affect communities? What are the victims doing years later? How do the police handle serial killers? Why do people commit these crimes? And, most importantly, they try and solve the ancient riddle, how can crime be controlled?

Criminologists gather information on crimes and criminal behavior. They look at past crimes, victim statistics and social groups and areas most affected by violence and criminal activity. They look at the country's policing system and the punishments and rehabilitation of convicted criminals. They read reports, studies and statistical analyses written by police officers, lawyers, correctional officers and other criminologists. They interview detectives, criminals and victims. They visit crime scenes, autopsies and courtrooms. They look at the frequency of certain activities, they look for trends and repeat crimes. They try to track crimes and criminal trends over history and come up with conclusions about density, poverty and its effect on people. They look at racism, classism, and other stigmas, and determine the effects these things can have on crime rates.

While all criminologists concern themselves with these things, what they actually do with their findings and conclusions depends on where they work, and their training and experience. Criminologists usually specialize in one area, like sociology, psychology or history. They work for the government, and might present their information regarding poverty's effect on crime during restructuring of welfare programs. Some criminologists work with the police force, and help them with community outreach programming. Criminologists may work independently as consultants to community activism groups, and private companies. They are often professors, teaching criminology and psychology to university students, and some work as teachers in community colleges.

Criminologists are interested in crime and the criminal mind. Their work is important in controlling not only crime, but regulating the police force, adjusting the criminal justice system, and implementing criminal outreach programs in at-risk communities.
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Liberty University
Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
  • AA in Criminal Justice
  • And more...



  Interests and Skills  
Interested in a career in criminology? Criiminologists need to be analytical, patient,methodical and thorough researchers. They should be interested in psychology, criminal behavior, and cause-and-effect type science. You need to be a good communicator, both in written and spoken form. They must be good with computers, and able to use the Internet and other online sources in their research. An interest in the law and the criminal justice system, as well as an interest in and respect for all people, no matter what their background community, will benefit individuals in this career.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Study effects of crime on victims and society
  • Study effective crime prevention
  • Document findings, write reports
  • Monitor police work and the criminal justice system, including courts and prisons
  • Perform surveys, interviews and statistical analyses
  • Advise banks and insurance companies about safety measures and risk management
  • Advise governments, justice workers, and social activists about criminal behavior and trends
  • Run classes and mark papers
  • A criminologist will spend a lot of time reading studies, poring over police reports, and reading historical cases, court documents, and academic essays and publications about criminal theory. Criminologists spend each day trying to prove theory or establish new theory about criminal trends and behaviors. They will meet with government officials, other criminologists, and business executives to share their knowledge. This job will not entail much travel, but there are opportunities to meet all sorts of people, including hardened criminals and powerful politicians.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Where criminologists work depends on the type of work they are involved in. They most often work in private and public offices, libraries and police stations, as well as government departments, prisons, courts, universities and community colleges. Their work may take them to crime scenes and forensic labs. They work alone, or in small teams. They usually work regular workweeks. However, on difficult or urgent cases they may find themselves working longer hours. Criminologists may double as police officers or psychologists.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Where a criminologist can advance to depends on their level of training and experience. There is always teaching at colleges, researching with universities and government agencies, and becoming an administrator with the justice system. Those with computer experience will have more opportunities for research positions. Criminologists can also become police officers, lawyers, psychologists and writers.

  Educational Paths  
There are many paths an individual could take to become a criminologist. The easiest path, that covers all the bases, is to complete a bachelor's degree in sociology, psychology or criminology. Then they can join the police force and work as a criminologist in the thick of crime solving. They can go on to law school, and become a criminal lawyer. Or they may also find work with a correctional institution. However, if individuals would like to go on to work in universities or as a senior researcher, they will need to complete at least a master's degree, and potentially their PhD, in criminology. Some people choose to do their postgraduate degrees in psychology, in order to work as criminal psychologists.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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Liberty University
Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
  • AA in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School is a not-for-profit, regionally accredited institution with more than 4,285 students at campuses across the country and online. 

Programs Offered:
  • M.A. Forensic Psychology
  • Certificate in Forensic Psychology - M.A. Non-Licensure Track to Licensure Bridge Program

Grand Canyon University
Interested in enhancing your skills and knowledge in the criminal justice field? Learn more at GCU!
Programs Offered:
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Regent University
Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.
Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Criminal Justice

Post University Online
Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.
Programs Offered:
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New England College

Discover the Difference a Community of Support Makes in Your Educational Journey. From Application to Graduation, the Guidance You Need to Achieve Your Goals. 100% Online.

Programs Offered:
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • AA in Criminal Justice

UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
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