With a bachelor's degree in criminology it is possible to pursue a career as a sociologist, police officer or detective. Some careers, such as a career in sociology, may also require a master's degree.
Criminology majors are qualified to begin training programs for several law enforcement positions, as well as related jobs in research and social services. While a bachelor's degree is not required for some positions, it can help with career advancement. Some positions may call for graduate study. Law enforcement professionals must complete training at academies after they're hired.
|Career Titles||Sociologist||Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officer||Detective and Criminal Investigator|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's for some positions, but many jobs require master's or doctoral degrees||High school diploma or equivalent; some departments require a degree||High school diploma or equivalent; some departments require a degree|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-1%||5%||-1%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$73,760||$58,320||$77,210|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Criminology as a Building Block
When paired with higher education and advanced training, a bachelor's degree in criminology can act as a building block to help individuals attain specific careers. The jobs available to those interested in criminology include such law enforcement titles as police officer, detective and criminal investigator. Positions in sociological research are also available.
A bachelor's degree in criminology provides an excellent means of entrance to many careers within law enforcement. Most of these law enforcement careers will require additional skills and training. Each bureau and department has its own specific requirements, such as physical training and education on department rules and policies. For example, police and sheriff's patrol officers, detectives and criminal investigators must complete academy training and on-the-job training, and they also must pass various physical tests.
Police and sheriff's patrol officers reportedly made a median wage of $58,320 in 2015, and detectives and criminal investigators earned a median salary of $77,210 in that same year, per the BLS. Job openings for police and detectives are projected to grow at a slower-than-average rate of 4% from 2014-2024.
Sociologists have the choice of specializing in one area, and many choose criminology as their specialization. These professionals study how criminals interact with one another and in society. A master's degree in a relevant major is highly recommended in order to advance one's career.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2015 that sociologists made a median yearly salary of $73,760. Employment of sociologists is expected to decline 1% during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS.
There are many different career options for individuals with a degree in criminology. Some may choose to pursue a career in law enforcement or criminal investigation. Those interested in pursuing a career in sociology with a specialization in criminology may need to complete a master's degree before entering their career field.