Why do people commit crimes? Criminologists seek to reveal the answer to this question, understanding who commits crimes — and why they do it. Criminology students study theories and practices that help to develop a better understanding of crime, its causes, and appropriate responses.
Online Criminology Degrees and Programs
Criminology is rooted in behavioral science, which includes sociology, psychology and psychiatry. Students of criminology study the nature, extent, causes and, most especially, the control of criminal behavior in society and within the individual. Study focuses on the social impact of the crime, the victim and the criminal. The online degree is usually part of a criminal justice program, and some programs link criminology and criminal justice together in a single combined degree. Online education in the field ranges from certificate programs to master’s degrees.
As the technological science of solving crimes continues to evolve, so does the science of understanding them. Even with advanced techniques to understand how crimes happen, we often still don’t understand who or why these crimes are committed.
Criminology, a specialization of sociology, offers professionals the opportunity to answer these questions and seek to understand, among other things, the motives behind crime. This is an intriguing career field that comes complete with a strong earning potential. Expect to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher to enter this field.
As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average salary of $93,420 for criminologists. Early career professionals can expect to earn about $65,680, which represents the 25th percentile, while seasoned pros earn about $143,020, which represents the 90th percentile.
Growth in this specialized field of sociology is projected to remain strong in the coming years. Between 2019 and 2029, the number of jobs among criminologists is expected to grow by about 4%. During this period ending in 2029, the profession will see about 300 annual job openings due to a blend of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.
Graduates with online degrees in criminology can explore employment opportunities in law enforcement, private security firms, all levels of the court system, legal offices, victim advocate agencies, and correctional facilities. Professionals in criminology often work for:
- Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private
- Research and development in the social sciences and humanities
- Local government, excluding education and hospitals
- Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for sociologists. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed June 2021.
National job growth projections for sociologists sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net database(2019-2029).
Common Criminology Courses
Students who decide to obtain an online degree or certificate in criminology may be required to take some or all of the following courses:
- Research Methods in Criminology: Often, a prerequisite in statistics is required for this class. It teaches advanced research design and data analysis as well as the study of experimental and non-experimental research designs.
- Victimology: This course investigates legal and philosophical issues surrounding victimization, among them the roles of victims in the criminal justice system.
- White Collar Crime: Students examine individual occupation-related criminality and crimes against organizations and corporations, and discusses societal reactions to such crimes.
Earn Your Degree in Criminology
Excited to understand the sociology of crime? Get started with an online criminology degree from an accredited college or university.