What Can You Do with a B.A. in Criminology?
Career Paths to Consider
- Social Services - Domestic/Sexual Violence or Human Trafficking Centers, Victim Advocate
- Corrections - Probation Officer, Detention Deputy, Re-Entry Programs
- Law & Courts - Court Clerk, Diversion Programs, Lawyer, Paralegal, Pre-Trial Services
- Private Sector - Private or Fraud Investigation, Loss Prevention, Risk Management
- Juvenile Justice - Group Homes, Residential Officer, Case Management
- Cybercrime - Intelligence Analyst, Cyber Threat/Fraud Analyst
- Law Enforcement - Federal & State Agencies, Police Officer, Crime Scene Investigator
Questions to Ask Yourself
- At what stage of the criminal justice system do you want to be involved with?
- If you want to help people, how directly or indirectly do you want to work with them?
- What type of job components/functions are you interested in?
What is the Difference between Crime Scene Investivation and Forensic Science?
The main job of a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) is to document, identify and collect physical evidence at a crime scene. CSI’s are often police officers, although with some agencies there are civilian CSI positions. The BA in Criminology is a degree option for this career path.
A forensic scientist is first a scientist, who is an expert in their science. When a scientist’s knowledge and expertise is used to help lawyers, juries, and judges understand the results of scientific tests, the scientist becomes a forensic scientist. Careers in forensic science require knowledge from specific disciplines and often require advanced degrees/professional training well beyond the undergraduate level. Students interested in being a forensic scientist should major in the subject area they want to become an expert in. Criminology can be a good option for a minor or possibly a double major.
See a side-by-side comparison between CSI and Forensics.
Common Types of Forensic Scientists:
- Psychiatric & Behavioral Science - Forensic psychologists generally major in psychology/behavioral science during their four years of college, complete an additional one to two years of training for a master’s degree, and spend an additional four to six years in graduate school to obtain a PhD in psychology.
- Criminalistics (analyze evidence in a lab) - The minimum educational requirement for a criminalist is a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, physics, molecular biology, forensic science, or a related physical science.
- Anthropology - Forensic anthropologists usually earn a PhD in anthropology with an emphasis on the study of human osteology and anatomy.
- Digital & Multimedia Sciences - a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, preferably in computer science, information technology, or engineering
- Pathology/Biology - All forensic pathologists are medical doctors with an MD or DO degree.
Forensics Information provided by American Academy of Forensic Sciences: www.aafs.org
FBI & Federal Law Enforcement and Government Positions
If you are interested in the FBI, have you recently (or ever) visited the FBI website? Do you know what they really do (as opposed to what you think from TV)? Are you aware of the eligibility requirements and disqualifiers? Preferred majors? Do you know the amount of full-time professional (as opposed to general work) experience required? Have you looked at other federal jobs? Visit the FBI website below:
- Approximately 25,000 people apply for the FBI special agent position at each posting, approximately 200 are selected for agent training at the FBI Academy. Therefore, you want to make yourself the strongest candidate possible.
- The majority of crimes the FBI investigates: terrorism, white-collar, and cybercrime - not serial killers and sex crimes.
- Thoroughly review the FBI Website and pay particular attention to the eligibility requirements - and under that section, read the disqualifiers.
- Review the website as the requirements may have changed. Historically, you must:Never
have committed a felony.
- Never have used hard drugs in the past 10 years.
- Never used prescription medication that was not prescribed to you. For example: taking a friend's prescription Ritalin to help get you through a test.
- Never used marijuana in the past 3 years.
- Have at least 3 years of professional experience or an advanced degree.
- Please note: having an advanced degree does not negate the need for professional experience - even with an advanced degree (master’s and/or doctorate), applicants must have two years of full-time professional work experience. This means that having a goal to be in the FBI is great - and you should also focus on finding something else you love, which will make you happy because you will need to do it for at least 3 years.
- To be a “profiler” in the FBI, you must be a special agent (SA) first. Of the 13,000+ FBI SA's, about 7 are profilers in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (the Behavioral Science Unit was dissolved in 2012).
- Profiling is a career that students often misunderstand - both what it really is (vs. TV) and the available opportunities. If interested, further explore the position, requirements, and opportunities. Also, consider looking into crime analyst and/or behavioral analyst careers.
Employment Eligibility & Disqualifiers
Directly From The FBI Website (1/13/2019)* - You should revisit the website NOW to see the most current information.
To be eligible for the FBI Special Agent position, candidates must meet all of the requirements on our Eligibility page, as well as the following:
- Be 23 to 36 1/2 years old.*
- Meet the Special Agent physical fitness standards.
- Possess a minimum of a U.S.-accredited bachelor's degree.**
- Have at least three years of full-time work experience.***
- Have a valid U.S. driver's license.
- Be completely available for assignment anywhere in the FBI's jurisdiction.
* FBI Special Agents must be appointed prior to their 37th birthday. Because of the lengthy application and hiring process, the FBI does not normally accept applications from applicants older than 36 and a half. Although we accept applicants up to age 36 and a half, the hiring process can take a year or more. If, at any point during the hiring process, it becomes apparent that an applicant cannot be appointed prior to their 37th birthday, an age waiver will be required. Waivers are only granted in certain circumstances. Please reach out to your field office Applicant Coordinator for more information.
** We accept those who possess an advanced degree from a U.S. accredited college even if your bachelor’s degree is not from a U.S. accredited college.
*** The three-year work experience requirement does not include summer jobs, internships, seasonal positions, temporary employment, and/or volunteer work. Certain specified experiences or abilities may waive some (but not all) of the work experience requirement. These include:
- A Juris Doctorate (J.D.)
- A license as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- An advanced degree
For eligible veterans, part-time, internships (paid or unpaid), or Reserve/Guard duty count toward total work experience. Applicants with an advanced degree (master’s and/or doctorate) must have two years of full-time professional work experience.
Education & Skills
While the FBI encourages applicants from all backgrounds to become Special Agents, we are currently looking for Special Agent applicants with skills in the following areas:
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
- Foreign Languages
- Emergency Medicine
- Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)
- Military (specifically Special Forces, Explosives, WMD, and Intelligence Experts)
- Scientists (lab experience)
- Foreign Language(s) speakers
- Pilots (helicopter, fixed-wing)