The work of a criminologist is many things, but boring is not one of them. A criminologist studies criminal behavior, basically working to understand what makes criminals tick or, rather, what motivates a person to commit a crime. While some criminologists feel isolated from their law enforcement peers, others describe the work as both fascinating and unpredictable.
The primary job of a criminologist is research, and for those who require work that provides mental stimulation, the profession of a criminologist is ideal. Criminologists not only provide answers as to why crimes are committed, but perform valuable research for crime mapping, risk assessment and security management. They not only search to provide answers as to why criminals commit crimes, but they also develop ideas on crime prevention that can be used for product and environmental design.
While some criminologists work with law enforcement to put the bad guys behind bars, others become criminologists because of their passion for social justice. They work with advocacy agencies and consumer groups to bring help to those who have been neglected by the criminal justice system, either on behalf of prisoners who might be wrongfully accused, or for the victims of crime who have yet to see justice.
Since there is stiff competition for jobs with local state agencies, many criminologists find satisfaction working with other types of organizations, such as border protection and intelligence agencies, colleges and universities, research institutions and non-government organizations. With these organizations, they may perform data analysis to assist in crime prevention, research ways to help rehabilitate prisoners, or offer guidance to those who govern police and corrections.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies criminologists in the same category as sociologists, since both examine society and social behavior. The BLS expects employment for this field to grow 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, which compares to the expected average growth of 14 percent for all U.S. jobs. While this is a favorable trend for those looking to become criminologists, job seekers still face stiff competition; there is only a relatively small number of positions available in this field.
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