With a degree in criminology and criminal justice, many options are available for you to start or advance your career.

What can you do with a
criminology and criminal justice degree?

Whether you’re moving into criminology from another field or unsure about your next step in your current criminal justice career, it’s important to know your options. You may be thinking, “What can I do with a criminology and criminal justice degree?” Plenty.

Excelling in the criminology and criminal justice discipline requires a leadership mindset fueled by critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. Use this guide to explore the job outlook and find a role that’s right for you.

Which criminology and criminal justice
job is right for you?

The criminology and criminal justice field is wide, which means the career options are, too. PSU’s criminology and criminal justice degree can help you succeed in any path you choose. Explore a few of the careers detailed here to help you determine if your aspirations

are in line with the various demands and opportunities available in the field. This is not a complete list of available careers, and we encourage you to research and explore other resources for more information about these career paths.

Whether you’re interested in leadership, policymaking, management, research, or data analysis, our criminal justice job outlook research can help you make an informed decision for your future.

Develop the skills to plan public safety programs and put them into motion with our criminology and criminal justice degree. Learn to manage policies and services as a crime analyst or in public safety departments at the local, state, or federal level. With our CCJO, you can put your experience with research to work by helping public safety agencies create long-term solutions to crime.

The public service sector can lead to a variety of careers, including criminologist and attorney roles. As public servants working within government jurisdiction, criminologists and attorneys get an insider view of the criminal justice process in action. With Portland State University, you can help effect change at a higher level in public service.

Behind the scenes, criminologists use their knowledge of crime and its relation to society to understand criminal motivation and help communities form public policies to prevent crime. They may work with lawyers or with community leaders and politicians to provide insight on criminal behavior and victimization risk to help shape policies. Criminologists compile statistical data through research and advanced data analysis and formulating policy recommendations. This research-driven role may work with colleges and universities, think tanks, alongside the court system, or with legislative bodies. Criminologists often hold a master’s or doctoral degree in criminology and criminal justice

Criminology and criminal justice professionals are in demand in nearly every sector. Nonprofit and private organizations alike need skilled professionals to work as social researchers, policy analysts, or even criminal justice educators. Investigate social issues and develop research projects, educate the next generation of criminal justice professionals, or apply your skills in government with our CCJO degree.

Education is the first step for many criminology and criminal justice professionals, which makes CCJ educators a vital player in the criminology and criminal justice field. CCJ educators help students learn about criminal theory, crime analysis, research ethics in criminal justice, and more. Many CCJ educators also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books based on their findings.

Criminology and criminal justice educators work with higher education institutions, such as universities and community colleges. CCJ educators typically hold a doctoral degree in the field and may have held other criminology or criminal justice titles prior to joining the postsecondary education field.

Few positions hold more power in the community than policy analysts. These men and women help develop policies for the government and counsel officials and senior management. Their main tasks include reviewing, evaluating, and monitoring policies and examining the benefits and impacts of legislation. Policy analysts typically work in government agencies or for organizations that lobby for policy adjustments, though some private companies, like think tanks and consulting firms, use policy analysts to help steer regulation in favorable ways.

Our CCJO program doesn’t just focus on criminals, but also on victims of crime. Put your passion for criminal justice to work in social services and learn how to support victims, design outreach programs, and help individuals in your community heal. The social services sector allows you to pursue a career as a victim advocate or an advocacy role within a nonprofit organization or in the healthcare field.

Criminology and criminal justice
job outlook

Earning your bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice can open the door to future advancement opportunities. The job outlook for our students is bright, especially considering that our

graduates build in-depth knowledge and leadership skills that cover both the social aspects (criminology) and the systems in which crime is detected and prosecuted (criminal justice).

Occupations for individuals who plan, manage, and implement public safety programs, policies, and services are expected to grow by 13% by 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also estimates there will be 5.4 million workers in public safety, law, corrections, and security occupations by 2020.

The nonprofit sector accounts for more than 11.4 million jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Urban Institute, the number of nonprofits in the United States grew 25% compared to the 1% increase in for-profit businesses over the same 10-year period (2001-2011). As opportunities in the nonprofit sector continue to rise, so does the need for high-level leadership, managers, and policymakers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, community and social service occupations are expected to grow 17% by 2020. Today’s communities seek experts with analytical minds who can apply their critical thinking to help create and implement programs that aid crime victims, crime perpetrators, and at-risk youth. Leaders in social services are in demand now more than ever. Learn how to become one.

Criminal justice and law enforcement educators at the college level account for nearly 15,000 jobs nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Teaching criminal justice and criminology blends the opportunity for doing research and shaping the future leaders of the field.