There are multiple benefits to pursuing a degree in criminology. While most areas of law enforcement require a degree of some sort, criminology is a highly specialized field that employs the best and the brightest, and deals with crime on many levels. Your bachelor’s or master’s degree will allow you to demonstrate your worth to a potential employer, and will help you to stand out from the crowd.
Not only will you have a much greater chance at employment with a degree, you’ll also gain valuable knowledge and skills in the many areas that pertain to criminology—sociology, psychology, forensic science, research and analysis, and many more. Although a degree program might seem expensive from the get-go, there are plenty of low-cost programs and financial aid to help you along.
Among the biggest is the fact that, once you obtain your degree, you will have much higher earning power than those without a degree. In essence, school bills will eventually pay for themselves!
What to Expect from a Degree in Criminology
A degree program in criminology is likely to be extremely varied in content. You’ll have the freedom to choose courses that will interest you and help you to expand your knowledge base. For example, you will be able to study criminal behavior and profiling in order to get a better grasp on the way the mind of a criminal works.
Coursework may be geared toward forensics, with an emphasis on processing and analyzing data left behind at the scene of a crime. Because criminology is inextricably linked with law enforcement, you’re likely to be required to take courses that focus on the function and purpose of law enforcement in society. A degree program will probably allow you to pursue some field work to get a better feel for what a career in criminology will be like.
Types of Criminology Degrees
Generally, a degree in criminology will take at least four years to complete. Although associate’s degrees in criminology can be found, the vast majority of job opportunities for criminologists will require a bachelor’s degree or higher. A master’s degree in criminology can be obtained from many universities and colleges, while some also offer Ph.D. programs in the field. As you continue pursuing additional education, the job opportunities for which you will be qualified will increase, likely along with pay and benefits.
What to Look for in Criminology Degree Schools
Online courses in criminology are offered by many online schools and universities, and some physical campuses allow the majority of the coursework for a degree in the field to be completed online. By doing an online search for a degree in criminology, you will be able to compare rates between schools and the programs that they offer.
Any legitimate school from which a degree can be obtained will have a website that details the requirements for completing a degree, along with information about tuition and financial assistance. If you are located near a local college, try calling them to find out what they have to offer. Community college is often cheaper than large universities, and will not require having to relocate in order to complete a degree program.