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What are the Different Types of Criminology Jobs?

Criminology jobs span across various sectors, from law enforcement and corrections to academia and policy-making. These roles often involve analyzing criminal behavior, developing crime prevention strategies, and influencing justice policies. Curious about how these roles differ and which might suit you best?
Britt Archer
Britt Archer

People who are interested in the field of criminal justice but can't handle the more gruesome aspects of the profession might instead consider a criminology job. Criminology is a philosophical and sociological field that studies crime, the effects of crime on society and the law, as well as how criminals think and become criminals. Criminology careers are highly specialized, with criminology jobs being found in all areas of employment, including police departments, universities, psychological practices and more.

Criminology as a science is credited to the discoveries of Cesare Lombroso, a doctor who worked in Italian prisons in the mid-19th century. Dr. Lombroso borrowed many of his theories from the earlier studies in phrenology, the belief that a person's physical traits lead to certain behaviors or characteristics. Dr. Lombroso founded the Italian School of Criminology, which had many notable students, each of whom added to his theories or formulated ones of their own, leading to the wide array of approaches a criminologist might take today.

Sociological criminologists may study how a person's living environment  impacts their behavior.
Sociological criminologists may study how a person's living environment impacts their behavior.

People seeking criminology jobs need to have a degree in criminology or a related criminal justice field, which are offered as 4-year or more degrees from a variety of colleges and universities. During the education required for criminology jobs, a criminologist in training will learn the history of criminology, as well as the varied and complex theories of criminology, many of which are contradictory and some of which are interlinked. One theory, for example, states that criminals become criminals due to exposure to crime during their childhoods. Another theory states that a criminal may become a criminal by living in dilapidated surroundings.

Criminologists may work directly with inmates.
Criminologists may work directly with inmates.

Criminology jobs may be found most commonly working within law enforcement agencies as part of a team of psychologists who analyze suspects in major crimes. Other common areas for criminology jobs are hospitals and prisons, where a criminologist may be able to perform research on patients and inmates. With a PhD or above, a criminologist may also work at a university in a teaching or research capacity. It is also not uncommon to find governments requesting individual criminologists to perform work on their cases, and they may assemble a team only for a specific case, or recruit a criminologist for a permanent position.

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Discussion Comments


@Sunny27: Investigating fraud (or any other crime / irregularity) entails much more than just an insight into someone's mind. investigating a crime needs some experience in the specific field albeit fraud then you need financial or at least some banking experience to know how the system works and where and how to look for info or evidence.

A good investigator is a 'jack of all trades'. the hollywood image of a criminologist (like mentalist) investigating murders successfully are misleading.


Sunny27- I agree with you. There are so many banks hiring fraud investigators that this is going to be a field for the future.

I like the research aspect of the job, but I do not think I could do it. I think having to study the mind of a criminal would not let me sleep at night. The nightmares I would get would be horrible, and I need a good night sleep. I think

I’ll just watch my shows on television, at least I know they are not real.


Great article- I just want to add that many criminologists also become fraud investigators. Many banks, insurance companies and law firms hire criminologist to find fraudulent activity. Their trained knowledge of how criminals work helps to create a criminal profile of the potential suspect.

With the increased incidences of fraud, especially in the financial industry, I would think that this career is very much in demand, and I imagine that the salaries are going to be very high for someone with this particular background.

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    • Sociological criminologists may study how a person's living environment  impacts their behavior.
      By: Barbara Helgason
      Sociological criminologists may study how a person's living environment impacts their behavior.
    • Criminologists may work directly with inmates.
      By: ViewApart
      Criminologists may work directly with inmates.