15 Pros and Cons of Being a Criminologist

Criminologists must have an understanding of criminal behavior.

Being a criminologist means that you should have critical thinking skills and a strong educational background.

If you’re considering becoming a criminologist, you should be aware of the pros and cons associated with the profession before you take that path.

If you decide being a criminologist is indeed the perfect choice for you, the extensive number of years you spend studying can turn into a rewarding career.

Pros of Being a Criminologist

Here is a list of pros related to being a criminologist:

1. Opportunity to Work in Varying Areas

A job as a criminologist never gets boring.

That is because you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of areas.

However, if you are really focused on spending your time in one specific area, you do have the flexibility to do just that.

But, if you prefer to expand your interests, you will have the chance to work with others.

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to apply your research in different areas of the world.

2. Flexible Career

Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to being a criminologist.

Criminologists obtain a high sense of flexibility because they are given a lot of independence.

Many criminologists perform research while others teach various college programs.

This allows for a lot of flexibility within their schedules.

For example, criminology professors must follow a certain class schedule to teach students.

However, they have a lot of free time afterward if they have no other commitments.

3. Make an Impact in Your Community

Criminologists have the ability to make a positive impact on the communities in which they serve.

Criminologists will work with security companies, prison inmates enrolled in programs, and law enforcement when conducting research.

This ensures that their analysis is applicable.

The results from their research can then be used to determine how they can make necessary improvements to address crime.

The work that criminologists perform can improve the lives of people living within those areas.

4. Mentally Challenging

Many criminologists refer to their work as mentally challenging.

This can be seen as a huge advantage within their career.

That is because the majority of their time is spent performing research, examining data retrieved, and creating reports.

Criminologists also spend a lot of time reading reports and articles regarding the latest issues within the criminal justice system.

There are some criminologists who work with law enforcement and government agencies.

They spend their time coming up with ways to tackle drug and gang-related crime.

5. Ability to Network

Criminologists working for various organizations such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Studies or the American Society of Criminology have the chance to meet new people.

This is the perfect opportunity to network with others in the criminal justice field.

Networking is a plus because it allows criminologists to communicate with others about issues that occur within their profession.

This also presents plenty of opportunities to share research with others and discuss new job opportunities.

6. Forever Changing

Crime constantly changes and continues to evolve.

There will always be criminals out there that figure out new ways to commit crimes.

This means that professionals like criminologists will have to constantly adapt to determine new ways to prevent crime.

If you want to study crime, you will soon learn that as a criminologist, there will be plenty of chances to conduct new research.

Now many professions offer this perk.

7. Great Salary

Criminologists have an attractive salary.

Additionally, the job outlook for criminologists is expected to increase by 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.

The average salary for a criminologist is $74,010.

Entry-level criminologists make an average of $52,930, while experienced criminologists make an average of $91,404.

The salary is extremely promising, the more experience you have.

If you have strong research skills, you can count on plenty of future openings as a criminologist.

Cons of Being a Criminologist

Here is a list of cons of being a criminologist:

1. High Education Requirements

Criminologists have serious jobs.

Because of this, they are expected to meet high education requirements.

Criminologists must at least have a master’s degree to be hired.

Obtaining a master’s degree alone takes a considerable amount of time and dedication.

Additional certification and training is also required.

Most employers would like to see prior experience.

Furthermore, the starting pay for criminologists is relatively low.

This makes paying off student loans a challenge.

2. Stressful Job

A criminologist’s job can be extremely stressful.

This is because you are in charge of making life-changing decisions that can impact another individual’s life.

For example, one mistake or error on your end could result in serious consequences.

If you are called on to testify under oath, the testimony you give could be what causes a conviction or an acquittal in a criminal case.

These circumstances can cause stress that many criminologists find challenging to deal with.

3. Inconvenient Work Hours

Criminologists can work unexpected and irregular work hours depending on the company they work for.

Most criminologists work alongside law enforcement.

This means that they may be on call at some of the most inconvenient times, including nights and holidays.

This can put unnecessary stress on their lives, especially if they have children and families they must tend to.

4. Dangerous Job

A job as a criminologist is dangerous.

This is mainly due to the fact that they work closely with criminals.

Working in a prison or police station puts your life in danger.

Criminologists come face to face with convicted criminals and suspects daily.

Even though there are security measures in place to protect criminologists, it’s still possible for these to fail.

5. Horrifying Crime Scenes

One of the most difficult parts of being a criminologist is being present at horrifying crime scenes.

This is especially true when the crime scene involves murder or extreme violence.

It can make examining a crime scene difficult and emotionally challenging.

Many criminologists find this part of their job intimidating.

If you have a weak stomach, this is probably not the ideal profession for you as you will have to analyze autopsies and gruesome crime scenes.

6. Not a lot of Room for Growth

If you make the decision to become a criminologist, you must be okay with having very limited room for growth.

Many criminologists remain in a single agency until they retire.

While it’s possible for criminologists to become promoted, they are rarely transferred to a different agency.

For example, it’s unusual for criminologists to transfer from a state agency to a federal agency.

With that being said, you must be content with where you are at.

7. Focal Point is Negative

The nature of a criminologist’s job is focusing on the negative.

They deal with crime on a daily basis.

Most of their attention is spent focusing on the negative qualities of a person.

They must study the mind of a criminal.

They are responsible for finding out why a criminal is behaving the way they are.

These things can make a job as a criminologist depressing.

8. Face Strong Competition

There’s a lot of competition in the job market today for prospective criminologists.

This makes it challenging to retain a position as a criminologist.

It also means that having experience will put you in front of the line when it comes to getting hired.

Holding a single degree without experience won’t do you any good.

Internships are available for prospective criminologists to gain hands-on experience.

Should You Become a Criminologist?

A job as a criminologist may or may not be the perfect career choice for you.

However, it is a job that offers plenty of stability and security.

Once you gain experience, the salary of a criminologist can be very rewarding.

But, a career as a criminologist also comes with a dark side.

You deal with criminals on a daily basis.

You will also run into some pretty gruesome crime scenes and work irregular hours.

There’s also not a lot of room for growth which means you must not expect to advance too far within your career.

If you are able to keep your job and home separate and not internalize what you deal with at work, this may be an ideal profession for you.

Pros and Cons of Being a Criminologist Summary Table

Pros of Being a CriminologistCons of Being a Criminologist
Opportunity to Work in Varying AreasHigh Education Requirements
Flexible CareerStressful Job
Make an Impact in Your Community Inconvenient Work Hours
Mentally ChallengingDangerous Job
Ability to NetworkHorrifying Crime Scenes
Forever ChangingNot a lot of Room for Growth
Great SalaryFocal Point is Negative
Face Strong Competition

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.

4 Responses to 15 Pros and Cons of Being a Criminologist

  1. Avatar
    Sharon Warren #

    Great breakdown! As someone considering a career in criminology, it’s helpful to see the pros and cons laid out like this.

  2. Avatar
    Ken Fitz #

    Interesting read! I’m already in the field, and I can definitely relate to many of these points. It’s a rewarding career path, but it does come with its challenges.

    • Avatar
      Kiley #

      is there any travel involved with criminology?

  3. Avatar
    Linda Nguyen #

    I appreciate the balanced approach to discussing the pros and cons. It’s important for anyone considering a career in criminology to understand both sides before making a decision.

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