Why i Choose Criminology: the Path to Criminology Unveiled

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Why I Choose Criminology: An Exploration of the Law and Legal Process

For the Law and Legal Process field, I choose to look into the criminologist career. A criminologist can be defined as the study of crimes, their causes, effects, and impacts (Criminologist). Criminology also falls under the area of sociology, which is the study of society. Being a criminologist and criminology are relatively new compared to other careers in the criminal justice field but are very important because they can give an idea of how to deal with crimes and the history of crimes (Roufa).

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For what criminologists actually do, the job is very research-driven. They have to gather statistics, identify patterns, and analyze data to determine why crimes are committed; they can also use information like demographics or location when determining these factors (Roufa). They can also use information gathered from criminals; criminologists can interview and question criminals to try and learn about their mindsets and motivation for the crime they committed (Roufa). Another aspect of the job is they can help create policies with lawmakers to try and reduce the amount of crime (Roufa). A lot of the work done by criminologists does not happen in the crime sense; time can be spent there, but a majority of the time, they are in their office or a laboratory (Criminologist).
For education to become a criminologist, you have to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, or psychology, preferably (Roufa). This can be dependent on the employer as well; some employers want coursework after a bachelor’s degree, while others may require a higher education, whether that be a Ph.D. or a master’s degree (Roufa). The courses you will have during your education could include criminal theory, behavioral sciences, social deviance, types of crime, and causes and effects of crime (Criminologist). The types of organizations criminologists can work for are federal and state government, local law enforcement, private companies, universities, and colleges in their research departments or as teachers (Roufa). The salary for these jobs can vary; it can be anywhere from $40,000 to $122,000 (Roufa). For a starting salary in the field with just a bachelor’s degree, it can be expected that the salary would be around $33,000 (Criminologist). The availability of criminologist jobs is expected to increase, but these jobs can be difficult to get and hard to find (Roufa). These jobs are highly competitive and can require extensive background checks, numerous interviews, drug screenings, and having no criminal background (Criminologist).

Personally, I would not want to work as a criminologist. The job itself sounds very interesting because you get to try and figure out why people commit crimes and analyze data around this idea. It also seems very difficult to get into, with both education and jobs. I am not in the criminal justice field; I am in finance. There could be some similarities between the two fields because of the collection and analysis of data, but my degree, wouldn’t work well with becoming a criminologist because of the competitiveness.

Criminology and ATF Investigators: The Police and Law Enforcement Realm

I picked ATF Investigators and Special Agents to research for the Police and Law Enforcement category. AFT stands for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF Agent Careers). Becoming and being an ATF agent is one of the most challenging positions in federal law enforcement (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). A basic description of the position is enforcing laws based on the sale and possession of firearms, drug trafficking, and the use of explosives or arson (ATF Agent Careers). Being an ATF agent means you are under the federal organization that is the only type of organization ATF agents work for. ATF agents can be based all over the United States, the headquarters is in Washington DC, and there are departments all over the United States and even overseas as well (ATF.gov).

For what ATF agents actually do, they conduct “investigations, analyze evidence, write reports and testify in courtrooms for federal offense cases.” (ATF Agent Careers). Specifically in the investigations, ATF agents can interview both suspects and witness to gather information, make arrests if needed, do surveillance of locations, and also they search for physical evidence (ATF.gov). To become an ATF agent, there are multiple tests you have to pass, including a physical test, a drug screening test, and a special agent exam (ATF Agent Careers). After you pass each of these tests, then you go to training. The first training is the Criminal Investigator Training Program, which takes place at the Georgia Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (ATF Agent Careers). The first training is a 12-week program where you learn about how to handle firearms, conduct investigations, and use law enforcement and surveillance technology (ATF Agent Careers). Once you get past the first training, there is a second training which last 15 weeks, where you learn the basics of being an agent (AFT Agent Careers). The salary for ATF agents can vary from $34,000 to around $60,000 (ATF.gov). For education, you don’t need a degree to become an ATF agent, but it is a good way to start out your career. Bachelor’s degrees in the fields like psychology, sociology, homeland security, or anything related to law enforcement or criminal justice set a good base and background for what you will have to know to become an ATF agent (AFT Agent Careers). There are multiple qualifications to become an agent; some are that you have to be a U.S. citizen, you have to be older than 21, but you can’t be older than 36 at the time of your appointment, and you have to pass all the prerequisites like the exams (AFT.gov). They also want you to have good communication skills, as well as writing and problem-solving skills; you also have to be physically fit and strong mentally.

Before looking into ATF agents, I thought the job seemed very interesting, but after researching it, I don’t think it would be something I would want to do. As a job, I think it could be fascinating to see the types of cases they deal with. I feel like the exactingness of the job would come with where you are located; if you are in an area that is infested with this type of crime, I feel like the job would be very fast-paced and interesting. But if you are located in an area where they are a low crime or not this type of crime, there wouldn’t be much to do with the job. I find the idea of this type of job in television to be portrayed as much more interesting than it actually seems, which I knew was going to happen, but I think it really depends on the cases you get for how interesting the job will end up being. Overall, I think being an ATF agent seems interesting, but it’s just not the job for me personally.

Criminology Beyond the Obvious: Forensic Accountants

Lastly, for the Crime and Criminology category, I decided to research forensic accountants. These types of accountants are under the criminal justice category because they look for fraud, embezzlement, corruption, and other financial crimes in businesses (How to Become a Forensic Accountant). These crimes are known as “crimes against property” (Freeman). They “examine taxes and business records to identify irregularities that can impact major civil and criminal cases.” (How to Become a Forensic Accountant). Forensic accountants can work in state or federal law enforcement like the FBI or U.S. secret services, public accounting firms, insurance companies, banks, or even start their own consulting firms (How to Become a Forensic Accountant).

Personal Reflections: Choosing My Path

Forensic Accountants’ main duties are to investigate fraud by examining financial statements, internal databases, court records, and anything that can point them in the direction of fraud (Freeman). It’s looking at these companies’ numbers but also looking deeper as well “Because people committing fraud have hidden the evidence of their crimes, forensic accountants must look beyond the numbers and anticipate criminal actions.” (Freeman). The investigation process is as follows; it begins with a meeting with a government agency to learn about the alleged fraud (Freeman). Then the accountants begin their research by searching the record of the businesses, conducting interviews with the accused and others involved, and they are also planning the logistics of the investigation (Freeman). Next begins the analysis, which entails tracing the assets, calculating the losses, summarizing the transactions, and looking at how each of these happened (Freeman). From this information, a detailed report is created listing what was found in the investigation and a plan of action (Freeman). Lastly, these forensic accountants can end up testifying because of their expertise, but this does not happen with every case (Freeman). The salary for forensic accountants can vary from $51,000 to $106,000 (How to Become a Forensic Accountant). To actually become a forensic accountant, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, or finance (Freeman). It’s important to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as well; you have to pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination to become a certified CPA (Freeman). To maintain the status of being a CPA, you have to continue your education; most go to graduate school to keep the certification (Freeman).

I would love to work in this position; being a forensic accountant is a career path I have been considering lately. If I end up going to get my master’s, I would want it to be in forensic accounting. I am currently getting my degree in finance; this career would be heavily related to the field I am in now. I did previous research into forensic accounting a few years ago when I was trying to figure out a career path, and it has always been in the back of my mind as something I might want to pursue. I find what forensic accountants do compelling; it really interests me. Finding fraud in business by looking at a whole bunch of different aspects of the company, like the finances, but also looking at the people behind the business. I just find the whole idea of being a forensic accountant as something I would love to do.


  1. Criminologist. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. 

  2. Roufa, T. Criminologist: Job description, duties, and requirements. 

  3. ATF Agent Careers. Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

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Why I Choose Criminology: The Path to Criminology Unveiled. (2023, Aug 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/why-i-choose-criminology-the-path-to-criminology-unveiled/