Forensic Criminologist: Job Description and Requirements

Forensic criminologists study the behavior of criminals and the processes that make the criminal justice system work. They typically hold graduate degrees in criminology or criminal justice, though certificate programs in forensic criminology are available. Their focus is usually on research meant to keep the criminal justice system current and effective.

View 7 Popular Schools »

Job Description for Forensic Criminologists

Forensic criminologists examine the criminal justice system from a sociological perspective. They are trained to assess court systems, prison facilities and law enforcement agencies on the federal, state and local levels. Some forensic criminologists specialize in various criminal populations, such as juvenile offenders or the mentally ill. Their research often focuses on the sociological causes of various types of crimes as well as what motivates the criminals who commit them.

Forensic criminologists' research can be used to evaluate legal procedures and create new public policy when necessary, explains a career description from Brigham Young University's microbiology and molecular biology department (http://mmbio.byu.edu). Lawmakers use the analysis of forensic criminologists to ensure that all aspects of the justice system meet a society's legal needs.

Job Requirements

Forensic criminology professionals should have a clean criminal record and a reputable work record and credit history, explains Texas Wesleyan University (www.txwes.edu). Those employed in entry-level research or administrative positions usually hold a bachelor's degree. A doctoral degree is required for most research positions, explains BYU's career description. Common areas of study include criminology or criminal justice. Coursework usually includes topics such as criminal law, forensic psychology, criminological theory and crime control policies.

Certificate Options in Forensic Criminology

Certificate programs in forensic criminology also teach aspiring forensic criminologists to assess criminal behaviors and identify personal characteristics and other factors that may be related to criminal activity. Though not very common, certificates in forensic criminology are available on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Not just for criminologists, they may be taken by people in other professions related to the justice system. Courses included in such programs include forensic investigation, forensic sociology and criminal psychology.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect data on forensic criminologists, it does report on the field of sociology, in which forensic criminology is included. In 2013, the BLS reported that the median salary for sociologists was $72,430 per year, with the top 10% of earners in the profession making almost $127,590 or more annually. The BLS projects a 15% employment increase for sociologists from 2012 to 2022.

Show me popular schools

Related to Forensic Criminologist: Job Description and Requirements

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Become a Forensic Geneticist: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become a forensic geneticist. Learn about the job description, and read the step-by-step process...

Forensic Examiner Certification and Training Program Information

Forensic examiner can refer to many careers, including that of a forensic pathologist. Certification in forensic pathology can...

Best Colleges for Forensic Pathology: List of Top Schools

Explore some of the best colleges offering programs in the field of forensic pathology. Read up on two top universities,...

Certified Forensic Scientist: Career Options and Certification Info

Forensic scientists gather and scientifically assess the evidence from crime scenes. There are many aspects to this procedure:...

Pediatric Forensic Pathology Education and Career Information

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Georgia (3 campuses)
    • Virginia (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate in Criminology and Forensic Technology

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Which degree level do you plan to pursue?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (2 campuses)
    • California (5)
    • Colorado (2)
    • Florida (1)
    • Hawaii (1)
    • Illinois (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • New Mexico (1)
    • Nevada (1)
    • Texas (2)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • All degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree or higher
    • Post-Master's Certificate degree applicants must have a Masters degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Maryland (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • Master of Liberal Arts

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8)

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
        • Anthropology
        • Archeology
        • Criminology and Criminalistics - General
        • Global Studies
        • Population Studies
        • Sociology, General
        • Urban Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
        • Anthropology
        • Criminology and Criminalistics - General
        • Multidisciplinary or Interdisciplinary Studies, Other
        • Sociology, General
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
        • Anthropology
        • Criminology and Criminalistics - General
        • Multidisciplinary or Interdisciplinary Studies, Other
        • Sociology, General
      • Social Studies and History

Popular Schools

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Associate in Criminology and Forensic Technology

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • When do you plan to begin your studies?

  • Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

    • Master of Liberal Arts

    What is your highest level of education?

    • B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8)

    What is your highest level of education?

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics