Criminology and criminal justice might sound similar. However, they are different.
Therefore, if you plan to further your academic knowledge and earn qualifications for a profession in law enforcement, you should know the differences between criminology and criminal justice!
To establish a profession in the criminal justice system or law enforcement, you should have a degree in at least one of these fields. In this article, I will explain the distinctions between the two and help you determine which one makes a better choice for you, so let’s begin.
What is Criminology
Criminology studies the human behavior associated with crimes and criminal behavior. It’s a social science closely linked to sociology and psychology that teaches people how to recognize and precisely determine the “how,” “why,” “when,” and “where” of different types of crimes.
People who select this career path use their specialized studies to develop various policies and methods to help observe and prevent crimes.
Criminology has sub-fields and careers you can pick, including forensic psychology and criminal profiling, among many other respectable professions.
If you’re passionate about criminology, you can become a DEA agent, ATF agent, INS agent, researcher, victim advocate, Homeland Security agent, CIA agent, or corporate security specialist.
What is Criminal Justice
Criminal justice refers to both the study and enforcement of criminology. In simpler words, it’s responsible for applying the solution that criminologists deliver and is directly incorporated into the crimes.
As a criminal justice student, you will study all about the internal operations of justice and the law enforcement systems. You will learn about the inception of their structures and their role in today’s society.
Furthermore, criminal justice students should prepare themselves to participate in various agencies and infrastructures incorporated in handling crime and enforcing the law.
If you believe you will do good in this field, you can choose from different career paths. For example, criminal justice professionals work as police officers, correctional officers, detectives, or wardens.
It all depends on your personal preferences.
What’s The Difference Between Criminology and Criminal Justice?
People who aren’t familiar with the justice system often confuse criminology and criminal justice. Although the two fields seem and sound alike, they’re different.
However, the careers of both grounds sometimes overlap. Take a detective, for example. They can work in the criminal justice system while also acting as criminologists.
The Two Main Differences Between Criminology and Criminal Justice
It’s essential to know the distinctions between criminal justice and criminology to make a better decision in choosing what’s best for you. So now, let’s look at the main differences between these two fields.
- Criminology studies the psychological and sociological aspects of people who commit crimes. In other words, people who investigate crimes try to learn why criminals do what they do. In contrast, criminal justice describes the internal operations and dives deep into the law enforcement system.
- Criminologists can work as analysts or investigators, among other careers within the criminal justice system. Graduates of criminal justice programs, on the other hand, will typically build careers in law enforcement.
How to Make The Right Choice
If you can’t decide which path to take, don’t worry!
You don’t have to make that difficult choice because some programs offer a mix of both fields. So, you don’t have to become specifically a criminology major or criminal justice major, but a combination of both.
The programs that provide these blends usually cover crucial law enforcement skills and practices along with theory and background information that criminal justice majors need to become professionals while also exploring criminology.
As a passionate and dedicated student, you can dive into a deep ocean of careers after graduation from one of these mixed courses.
Overall, the critical difference between these two fields hides in the actions of each ground. In summary, criminology studies crimes and the mind of criminals, while criminal justice studies the system in which those who have committed crimes must receive punishment.
Finally, criminologists don’t always focus on individual cases. Instead, they analyze many crimes at once as a method to recognize patterns and determine similarities in terms of research.