What Jobs are Available with a Criminology Degree?

There are plenty of jobs available with a criminology degree, and five of the most intriguing positions include criminologist, corrections officer, forensic psychologist, probation officer and private investigator. These different career opportunities focus on crime as a social phenomenon and problem that can be remedied with correctional measures.


Criminologists, experts in criminology, typically work in academic-related fields or in areas that significantly influence public policy. This prestigious position often requires a master’s degree, but many criminologists prefer to specialize in a specific area like drug law or environmental criminology. Criminologists operate in colleges, legislative bodies, public policy areas, think-tanks and in close partnerships with police departments or correctional facilities. These experts utilize their understanding of theoretical explanations of criminal behavior to influence politics, assess the effectiveness of crime policies and help victims break their deviant behavior cycles.

Correctional Officer

Correctional officers that work at the county or state level usually only require a high school diploma, but having a degree in criminology can greatly increase your chances of being hired and making more money. Federal level correctional officers must have a degree. Correctional officers face the jail’s general population on a daily basis, so they must also maintain a certain level of physical fitness. A background check and psychological exam is necessary due to the use of firearms and high stress levels that this job requires.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists are knowledgeable in both human psychology and criminology. A strong educational background in criminology helps forensic psychologists make more informed decisions on legal matters like child custody issues, assessing a person’s risk of violence, mediation, jury selection and mental examinations of criminal defendants. While most forensic psychologists earn their degrees in psychology, a criminology background is beneficial in developing investigatory skills and understanding the courtroom environment. Most often, these experts are called upon to research, organize and compile court testimonies that are scientifically valid, according to Psychology Today.

Probation Officer

Probation officers supervise and make recommendations for offenders who have been either recently released from prison or who have been sentenced to probation periods. Probation officers must research each defendant’s past history prior to sentencing and closely monitor the individual’s progress throughout the probation period. This type of job requires a very extensive knowledge of both the criminal justice system and the court system. Communication skills, both oral and written, are highly important for court appearances. Probation officers work closely with the criminal population and must be the individual’s advocate in the court.

Private Investigator

The role of private investigator is one of the prestigious and sought-after jobs available with a criminology degree. These detectives usually work independently or in partnership with attorneys and the police. They are employed for a wide number of tasks such as serving legal papers, tracing the location of individuals avoiding debt collectors, collecting evidence of adultery in divorce cases and technical surveillance. Most areas require private investigators to have both a degree and a license to practice. They do not carry the same authority as police officers, but they are expected to be prepared to testify in court and keep detailed records of any observations.

Related Resource: How Do You Become a Forensic Psychologist?

Five of the most intriguing positions in the criminology field are criminologist, corrections officer, forensic psychologist, probation officer and private investigator. A criminology degree builds skills like information management, teamwork, critical analysis, global perspective, project management and communication. With such a wide-range of marketable skills, it should be no surprise that there are so many different jobs available with a criminology degree.