Continuing Education in Criminology Careers

With a few rare exceptions, pursuing a career in criminology means getting a college degree. That means spending a couple of years in school at a minimum, and for those who want to earn a bachelor's degree or higher, it can mean spending five to ten years in school. It takes a lot of dedication to complete all this schoolwork in order to qualify for a criminology career, and anyone who does so should be applauded.

Getting hired is not the end of the educational path, though. If you want to stay employed in a criminology career, you'll have to earn continuing education credits on a regular basis.

What is continuing education? Actually, it's just like it sounds. In order to stay at the top of your profession, you'll be expected to keep learning. Some people might say that they can do so by reading books on their own, but employers need a formalized, structured way of measuring their employees' educational attainments, so self-directed study won't qualify. You'll need to attend recognized, accredited educational programs that bestow a certain number of credits for completion.

How many credits will you need to earn on a regular basis? That's impossible to say, as each profession within criminology is different, and each agency or organization can set their own standards, which are higher than the nationally recognized ones. So, you'll need to check with your employer as to what the requirements are in your case and then keep up-to-date with them in case of any changes. However, it won't require nearly as much time in school as earning your degree did.

How do you earn continuing education credits? There are a variety of ways. The old-fashioned way, of course, is by taking classes that pertain to your field at a local college or university after verifying that the course qualifies. That's the route many people take. Another popular way of earning credits is by attending seminars. In nearly every field, there are companies that give regional and national seminars that are accredited for continuing education credits.

These are the two most popular paths to staying current on your requirements. There will be plenty of opportunities for earning these credits, and in many cases, agencies and organizations will pay for you to attend these seminars or reimburse you for your college tuition. So, don't think of this requirement as a burden or a chore but an opportunity to learn how to be the best criminology professional you can be.

Last Updated: 06/03/2014

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