I have taught a few criminology courses and I also worked in a drug detection lab for at least five years so I do have some experience with this issue! However, I am not specifically a criminologist. The thing is this: "criminology" is an extremely broad discipline. It could include diverse subjects as chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, political science, civics, law, law enforcement, accounting, and much more. But it is essentially the study of crime. You could be a generalist and certainly a crime investigator has to be well versed in as many of the subcategories as possible, or you could be a specialist. I used to teach courses in chemical investigations. This subject includes poisons, explosives, arson, DNA analysis, metals analysis, drug analysis, and much more.
This type of career can be wonderfully challenging. It is certainly a discipline which is forever growing and changing, so it should never become dull! I see much opportunity for advancement as well. It is worth it for a young person to take a closer look at it. You may also find it worth considering an advanced degree, post graduate, in forensics.
Randall recommends the following next steps:
- Suggest contacting a local forensics lab. You may find one with a call to your local law enforcement
- If you have not yet started college make inquiries of college/universities in your area which have a criminal justice or criminology major. Perhaps visit the institutions and ask for a face to face inquiry on what they have to offer in these majors.