Getting hired as a Criminologist

Criminal Justice Articles

Getting hired as a Criminologist

Getting hired as a criminologist means planning ahead to get the right education, hands-on training and interests. Criminology experts are trained to look at crime scientifically. For instance, you look at a particular crime to try and figure out how and why it occurred. Criminology includes the behavioral sciences: psychology, sociology, psychology, and law - especially criminal law.

A candidate who has earned an undergraduate degree is qualified to work in an entry-level position. A technician is usually the entry-level position in this field. An associate's degree in criminal justice or forensic science usually provides the knowledge and experience needed to assist scientists, physicians, and law enforcement professionals with gathering evidence for analysis. An advanced degree is required for higher profile positions working with private or government departments, and teaching and research positions within university environments.

Generally an ad is posted in the newspaper advertising an opening. The instructions in the ad will direct candidates to respond with a cover letter, and resume by a specified date. There are some agencies that will also require you to complete an application form as part of the application process.

It's always a good idea to make sure that your cover letter is related to the position that you are applying for. It should also be addressed to an actual person. Make sure the content of the cover letter and resume line up with the requirements listed in the job ad you are responding to. Keep your resume brief, relevant to the position you want and make it easy to read. If you don't hear something after a week, it's a good idea to follow up with a brief note.

Potential employers will consider a candidate's education before making a decision. While pursuing an education in criminal law, a student can choose a field that reflects his or her interests. These may include specific age groups, types of crimes, crime prevention, criminal investigations, litigation, corrections, and profiling or private government research.

The best way to plan for a criminology career is by staying on top of the trends and most common job openings in the criminal justice industry. This information is available when you visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics' website. They provide up to date information about the most popular criminology jobs available throughout the United States. You can even get information specific to your state.

If you are a student preparing to graduate, or a recent graduate, be sure to utilize your school's career services center and college library. You can even network among your professors, student counselors, other students, and professionals already working in this field to find out everything you can about job availability and tips for landing the job.

If you are preparing to work within a federal, state, county, or local government agency, there are usually 10 steps to the application process. They include:

  • Completing an application
  • Taking an entrance exam
  • Undergoing physical testing and a medical examination
  • Interviewing for the position
  • Participating in psychological testing
  • Background check

Once you are hired, you will be required to start academy training, field training, and need to pass a civil service exam.

Before attempting to get a job as a criminologist, you should make sure that your own criminal history is clear of any felonies or serious misdemeanors which includes any offense that carries a year sentence or longer. It's not unusual for someone to have had legal trouble in the past, and most examiners know this. If your legal trouble happened when you were younger and doesn't indicate a tendency to challenge authority, you probably have nothing to worry about. However, the final decision is left to each examiner's discretion.

Do what you can to get your foot in the door and gain more experience. Inquire about whether there are opportunities to volunteer for the agency you are interested in working for. Find out if the agency offers classes or workshops you could attend. Your tenacity will help you get hired as a criminologist.

Schools Offering Criminology Courses: