Criminology vs. Criminal Justice: What’s the difference?

Criminal justice and criminology are similar professions but different fields that can prepare you for a career in law enforcement. In this article, you will learn the differences between them. So read on as we point out the difference between criminology and criminal justice.

Criminology vs. Criminal Justice: What’s the difference?

Have you been planning to further your education and become qualified for a career in law enforcement? If so, you have encounter two words that sound similar but different fields that move you to search for their meaning: criminal justice and criminology.

To become qualified for a career in law enforcement, you need to hold a degree in at least one of these fields (criminal justice or criminology).

Many find it confusing to distinguish between criminal justice and criminology. So in this article, we have highlighted the differences between criminology & criminal justice and the career paths associated with each degree.

What is Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice is the study and application of criminology. While criminologists are responsible for researching and investigating, developing theories, and analyzing empirical patterns to help tackle and prevent crime, criminal justice enforces these solutions and is directly involved in the crimes themselves.

As a criminal justice, your work is to study the inner workings of the justice and law enforcement system from inception to its structures and role in society.

To become qualified for a career in criminal justice, you need to prepare yourself to play a role in any of the agencies involved in enforcing the law and tackling crime

Career paths in criminal justice include:

  • Detectives
  • Wardens
  • Correctional officers
  • Police officer

What is criminology?

Criminology is a behavioral and social science closely related to sociology and psychology which focuses on the study of crime and deviant behavior. This field also teaches you to understand the how, why, when, and where of crime.

Criminologists are the people working and researching the study of crime and society’s response to crime. Generally, criminologists conduct research and investigations, developing theories and analyzing empirical patterns to help tackle and prevent crime.

Numerous career paths and sub-fields within the field of criminology abound, including forensic psychology and criminal profiling.

Career paths in criminology include:

  • Victim advocate
  • Homeland Security agent
  • Researcher
  • CIA agent
  • ATF agent
  • INS agent
  • DEA agent
  • Corporate security specialist
  • Police officer

Criminology vs. Criminal justice

Criminal justice and criminology always seem alike because their career paths sometimes overlap. For instance, a detective can work both as a criminologist and in the criminal justice system. However, the difference between criminal justice and criminology are clearly stated below:

While criminology focuses on the psychological and sociological behaviors of criminals to determine why they commit crimes, criminal justice studies the law enforcement system and operations.

Criminology graduates may get jobs as analysts and investigators within the criminal justice system, while graduates of criminal justice programs often pursue careers in law enforcement directly.

Degrees in Criminology vs Criminal justice

Many students are often confused as to which degree to pursue. Having a degree in criminology can lead to a wider range of careers in law enforcement, criminal justice, and the private sector.

As a graduate of criminology, you can play a significant role in helping law enforcement agencies or the government analyze crimes, study criminals, and work to prevent crime in your society and beyond.

If you still have any questions about the difference between criminology and criminal justice, feel free to use the comment box below and we will attain to it.