People who are interested in the field of criminal justice but can't handle the more gruesome aspects of the profession might instead consider a criminology job. Criminology is a philosophical and sociological field that studies crime, the effects of crime on society and the law, as well as how criminals think and become criminals. Criminology careers are highly specialized, with criminology jobs being found in all areas of employment, including police departments, universities, psychological practices and more.
Criminology as a science is credited to the discoveries of Cesare Lombroso, a doctor who worked in Italian prisons in the mid-19th century. Dr. Lombroso borrowed many of his theories from the earlier studies in phrenology, the belief that a person's physical traits lead to certain behaviors or characteristics. Dr. Lombroso founded the Italian School of Criminology, which had many notable students, each of whom added to his theories or formulated ones of their own, leading to the wide array of approaches a criminologist might take today.
People seeking criminology jobs need to have a degree in criminology or a related criminal justice field, which are offered as 4-year or more degrees from a variety of colleges and universities. During the education required for criminology jobs, a criminologist in training will learn the history of criminology, as well as the varied and complex theories of criminology, many of which are contradictory and some of which are interlinked. One theory, for example, states that criminals become criminals due to exposure to crime during their childhoods. Another theory states that a criminal may become a criminal by living in dilapidated surroundings.
Criminology jobs may be found most commonly working within law enforcement agencies as part of a team of psychologists who analyze suspects in major crimes. Other common areas for criminology jobs are hospitals and prisons, where a criminologist may be able to perform research on patients and inmates. With a PhD or above, a criminologist may also work at a university in a teaching or research capacity. It is also not uncommon to find governments requesting individual criminologists to perform work on their cases, and they may assemble a team only for a specific case, or recruit a criminologist for a permanent position.