Criminologists use what is known in the social sciences such as psychology sociology and criminal justice to understand why crimes are committed and to make efforts to prevent future occurrences of criminal acts. They use statistics to determine when crimes are most likely to occur and psychology and social patterns to analyze why crimes occur. Some criminologists do psychological profiling to try to determine what type of person would commit a crime.
With regard to education a bachelor's degree with a major in sociology psychology or criminal justice is the minimum level of education which can be sufficient if individuals also have practical experience working in law enforcement. However criminology is a competitive field and earning at least a two-year Master's degree will open up more job opportunities.
Criminologists should have a good background in statistics computer science and writing because they must not only analyze crime statistics but also write reports about crime in their jurisdictions. Many criminologists want to teach or conduct research at a university in which case they will need to earn a Ph.D. degree. Some states have licensing requirements for criminologists.
According to the website Criminaljusticeusa.com criminologists who do not work in university settings are usually employed by police departments medical examiner's offices courthouses or prisons. Some criminologists are involved with community initiatives designed to deter crime which may be funded by local state and federal criminal justice agencies.
The website Legal-criminal-justice-schools.com reports that entry-level salaries are approximately $30000 with a bachelor's degree and $55000 with a Master's degree. Some experienced criminologists with Ph.D. degrees earn as much as $100000 a year but these jobs are few and far between.