Study all things crime in an effort to stop it.
picture of Criminologist

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$44,000 – $130,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Criminologists do?

“One of these things is not like the others.” For kids, the popular children’s song is a fun game for comparing shapes, colors, and objects. For adults, however, it’s the perfect summary for a cool career: Criminologist. That’s because Criminologists analyze “one of these things”—criminals—that’s “not like the others”—law-abiding citizens.

You probably don’t sing songs about them, but you nonetheless spend your days as a Criminologist finding patterns and studying anomalies. You’re a special kind of Psychologist, and your job is two-fold: You find out why criminals commit crimes and, in so doing, help them re-enter society as productive citizens.

You might study people, reviewing their histories to find out why they became criminals. Or, you might study crimes, reviewing data about offenses, arrests, and convictions in order to develop profiles about criminal archetypes. You might even study the criminal justice system, researching the psychological and social effects of crime and punishment. Always, however, you’re acting as a Detective of the mind, collecting information about crimes so that you can control and rehabilitate criminals.

Typically employed by research universities, prisons, law enforcement agencies, security companies, and social justice groups, you might specialize in certain criminals — juveniles, for instance — or in certain crimes: homicide, for example.

A major benefit of your expertise is variety: Although you spend most of your time compiling data and writing reports, you might also attend autopsies or help Police Officers interview suspects and examine crime scenes. You might even testify as an expert witness in criminal trials, or contribute analysis to TV news reports.

Should I be a Criminologist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • How to become a Criminologist

    Most Criminologists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaakc9&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2810%25%29|master%27s+%2828%25%29|doctorate+%2862%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,62
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