8 Rising Careers in Criminology

From delving into the minds of criminals to conducting stakeouts as a private eye or watching gamblers in a casino, the field of criminal justice offers a range of career choices with a solid demand for workers.

Along with the diversity of career paths, workers can enter the profession with a range of educational qualifications – a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, for example, provides a solid foundation for most positions.

  • Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist

Probation officers seek to ensure that individuals who are on probation or parole can re-enter society while complying with court orders. They also work to ensure that offenders do not present a danger to the community. Correctional treatment specialists often work with probation officers to develop plans for the rehabilitation of offenders, including by evaluating inmates and offering counseling.

For both professions, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work or a related area is usually required.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 18% employment growth for correctional treatment specialists and probation officers nationwide through 2020.

  • Gaming Surveillance Officer and Security Guard

Gaming surveillance officers monitor casinos for cheating and other illegal activity by employees and patrons. They also respond to disturbances and emergencies within the establishments. Certification programs are offered by some educational institutions and organizations; casinos also typically provide training.

Security guards patrol residential, commercial and other properties for criminal activity and unauthorized visitors, including through the use of surveillance cameras. Employers may prefer to hire security guards with a criminal justice degree and many states require guards to be licensed.

The BLS forecasts 19% job growth for security guards through the end of the decade, with 9% growth for gaming surveillance officers over the same period.

  • Private Detective and Investigator

Often, private detectives and investigators are hired by companies, individuals or attorneys for a variety of tasks that could include tracking a cheating spouse, conducting background checks and gathering evidence for a criminal or civil case.

Some jobs in the field require a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in criminal justice. Licensing and permits may be required; for example, for private detectives who want to carry a firearm.

The profession should see 21% job growth through 2020, according to the BLS.

  • Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists usually work with attorneys and court officials to examine the psychological profile of individuals involved in a case, such as criminal defendants or the parties in a child custody dispute. They often testify about their findings in depositions and trials.

Overall, jobs for psychologists are expected to jump by 18% between 2010 and 2020, the BLS reports.

Because the field combines the specialties of psychology and criminology, a bachelor’s degree in either discipline is a good first step toward the graduate-level qualifications necessary to practice as a forensic psychologist.

If a career in forensic psychology interests you, click here to learn more

  • Criminologist

Criminologists study criminal behavior, profile suspects and predict where crimes may occur. They incorporate social patterns, psychology and statistics, and their research can be conducted at correctional facilities, crime scenes and other locations.

Federal projections call for 18% employment growth for sociologists, the broader category of professionals that includes criminologists. A master’s degree or doctorate, often in sociology, is usually required and may be pursued after an individual attains an undergraduate degree.

  • Juvenile Justice Officer

These professionals share many of the same duties as probation officers but focus on supervising young offenders, including those on pretrial release and those who are serving non-incarceration sentences. Juvenile justice officers may monitor a teenager’s participation in drug and alcohol treatment programs, and coordinate rehabilitative services with court personnel and education professionals.

Degrees in criminal justice, psychology or sociology can provide entry into the field.

  • Crime Analyst

Through the examination of trends, illegal activity, police reports and other data, crime analysts seek to formulate projections about future offenses and identify patterns of predicted behavior. Such information is vital for local police officers and their crime prevention activities.

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or criminology is usually the minimum to enter the field and coursework in statistics can be an important aspect of a candidate’s background and qualifications.

  • Forensic Scientist

Forensic scientists typically work at crime scenes to gather evidence for processing and analysis in labs. Some of these professionals, also known as forensic science technicians, regularly testify about their findings.

Job opportunities should be promising for forensic scientists, with the BLS projecting 19% growth through 2020. Continuing advances in technology and science should help fuel this demand. A bachelor’s degree is typically a minimum requirement for employment.

With numerous professions in the field projected to experience robust job growth for the foreseeable future, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can provide an excellent first step toward a rewarding career.


This guest post was provided by Tyana Daley. Tyana is a writer for Bisk Education. She works with the online bachelor’s degrees from New England College.


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