What is a Criminologist?

Criminologist Careers

Criminologists use social patterns, statistics, and psychology in order to analyze the behaviors of criminals and methods used by criminals in order to help predict and prevent criminal behavior from occurring in the future.

Psychological profiling plays an important role in the profession as well.

In addition, a criminologist will evaluate how different methods of law enforcement affect crime rates.

A criminologist will use their education in federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies or work as college professors.

In addition, criminologists are employed by the FBI, the Secret Service of the United States, and other federal and state agencies.

Requirements

The majority of criminologists have a bachelor’s degree in either sociology or psychology.

Many criminologists often hold a Ph.D. or master’s degree in one of the behavioral sciences as well.

In addition, a criminologist has to be an expert in analyzing statistics and crime rates.

They must be able to write reports that are clear and thorough in order to share their findings and knowledge.

For this reason, it is recommended that an individual interested in a career as a criminologist take courses in writing, computer science, and statistics.

what is a criminologist?

Criminology Careers

Becoming a Criminologist

The logical place to start gaining the necessary skills to become a criminologist is by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, sociology, or psychology.

Individuals who are currently working in corrections, or law enforcement, or have related training and experience, may only need to complete a bachelor’s degree in order to pursue a criminologist career.

In addition, there are some states that require criminologists to become licensed and other states that do not.

It is important to look into the requirements of your particular state when pursuing a career in this field.

In order to be competitive in the field it is recommended that a person pursue a graduate degree in criminal justice, sociology, or psychology as most people working in this field have at least a master’s degree in one of these subject areas.

Work experience may be substituted for education in some areas.

There are degree programs available at most major colleges and universities both on campus and online.

When choosing a college it is important to make sure that the program that is being pursued is accredited, especially for pursuance of a graduate degree.

Salary Information by State

State Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Alabama1,110$74,780$35.95$138,570$40,150
Alaska110$128,410$61.74$165,690$75,500
Arizona5,260$90,010$43.28$127,520$55,000
Arkansas520$60,680$29.17$129,750$36,310
California11,280$110,320$53.04$153,210$73,320
Colorado1,780$95,450$45.89$147,370$60,280
Connecticut800$96,020$46.16$150,820$68,290
Delaware100$97,490$46.87$158,930$58,070
District of Columbia2,870$133,890$64.37$175,340$85,560
Florida5,950$85,330$41.03$149,410$42,900
Georgia4,030$72,000$34.62$141,090$39,070
Hawaii430$119,290$57.35$150,740$94,490
Idaho510$74,710$35.92$125,820$45,850
Illinois2,570$100,140$48.14$152,980$62,650
Indiana990$70,340$33.82$134,910$40,000
Iowa390$81,930$39.39$133,680$52,350
Kansas920$66,530$31.99$96,430$38,960
Kentucky660$75,930$36.51$141,540$39,520
Louisiana1,480$67,390$32.40$137,610$36,940
Maine530$79,470$38.21$112,530$50,840
Maryland890$117,800$56.63$169,120$59,070
Massachusetts1,620$99,560$47.87$158,480$59,170
Michigan1,960$94,540$45.45$151,420$63,590
Minnesota1,550$82,410$39.62$122,530$53,900
Mississippi930$58,500$28.13$117,960$35,000
Missouri1,460$78,060$37.53$139,360$42,430
Montana440$86,120$41.40$129,750$57,700
Nebraska280$86,150$41.42$138,490$49,490
Nevada660$88,130$42.37$136,050$53,390
New Hampshire390$83,970$40.37$145,270$54,720
New Jersey3,740$103,960$49.98$163,240$60,990
New Mexico1,840$77,480$37.25$99,990$43,830
New York9,950$110,390$53.07$169,100$61,410
North Carolina3,060$66,150$31.80$122,760$43,400
North Dakota370$80,890$38.89$129,750$48,030
Ohio2,210$83,150$39.98$137,970$49,990
Oklahoma1,010$70,920$34.09$125,820$43,260
Oregon560$96,720$46.50$147,260$59,990
Pennsylvania3,240$94,140$45.26$142,000$64,190
Rhode Island390$90,340$43.43$140,860$70,160
South Carolina1,160$68,170$32.77$137,610$40,980
South Dakota220$74,700$35.91$129,750$46,450
Tennessee1,820$74,500$35.82$133,680$41,880
Texas17,890$82,990$39.90$129,650$46,550
Utah430$82,320$39.58$141,540$43,820
Vermont180$97,310$46.78$141,540$61,940
Virginia3,390$100,010$48.08$169,120$48,270
Washington1,560$110,620$53.19$153,340$74,590
West Virginia230$87,670$42.15$149,410$41,700
Wisconsin1,530$82,970$39.89$98,180$60,710
Wyoming150$82,580$39.70$133,680$53,990
Puerto Rico520$85,560$41.14$145,480$33,270

Annual Average Salary: Top 10 States

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $133,890.

These are the top 10 earning states in the field:

  • District of Columbia - $133,890
  • Alaska - $128,410
  • Hawaii - $119,290
  • Maryland - $117,800
  • Washington - $110,620
  • New York - $110,390
  • California - $110,320
  • New Jersey - $103,960
  • Illinois - $100,140
  • Virginia - $100,010
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Detectives and Criminal Investigators, OCC Code 33-3021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Job and Career Opportunities in Criminology

Criminologists are technically referred to as sociologists and can be employed in a number of different areas.

There are jobs for criminologists who have graduate degrees in academia working as professors or conducting research.

Most commonly, a criminologist will work in a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the United States, the median salary for a criminologist who works in law enforcement is approximately $72,430 (2013).

Those who work in the academic environment earn anywhere from $60,000 to over $100,000.

Generally, the more education and experience an individual has in the field, the higher the salary a person can earn.

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Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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