Like just about everything else in the world, crime is constantly changing. Lawbreakers develop new techniques to exploit evolving technologies and communities, even as research continues to unlock new understanding of the criminal mind. Public safety, law enforcement, social services, and private industry are always on the hunt for agile, effective thinkers like those produced by Wilfrid Laurier University’s online BA in Criminology and Policing program, and the timing has never been better for those looking to break into the field. According to Statistics Canada, by 2021 a quarter of the labour force will be over 55, potentially opening up millions of jobs in all fields to those best positioned to grab them.
The BA in Criminology and Policing opens up a wide variety of potential jobs, from the obvious (policing and corrections) to the myriad of industries directly affected by crime (such as insurance, gaming, and social work). Example positions include:
- Addictions Counsellor
- Airport Security
- Behaviour Profiler
- Insurance Claims Adjudicator
- Child Protections Officer
- Crime Scene Investigator/Forensics Officer
- Policy Analyst
- Private Investigator
For a full list of potential positions, download the program brochure.
Since the degree is so broadly applicable, criminologist salary expectations can vary widely. A parole officer’s salary with Correctional Services Canada for example averages out to roughly $73,000 per year, with a starting wage of around $61,600 and a maximum of about $81,600 (as of 2014, per the Treasury Board of Canada). As a profile of the parole or probationary officer position in Canadian Business notes, those hoping to find work in the field require a university degree rather than a college diploma; the job relies heavily on forming relationships and building supports for offenders, rather than simply enforcing the terms of their probation.
Currently there are proposed changes to the Ontario Police Services Act that will require a minimum of a college diploma or university degree to become a police officer. The assumption here is that the higher qualified candidate has a better chance of being hired. 2017 OPP salaries range from a Recruit Constable (5th Class) from the first day of training obtaining $53,966.00 to a Constable (1st Class) with 36 months in the role earning $98,355.00.
By comparison, insurance fraud investigators draw a somewhat broader salary range, with a lower entry-level wage of $37,000 per year and a somewhat higher top wage of $99,000. This is likely due to the fact that fraud investigators are more likely to be retained by private insurance companies, where wage security is weaker due to lack of unions but earning potential is higher. Raises are more likely to be tied to education and performance than in the public service, which tends to favour seniority. In fields like fraud investigation, loss prevention, and private investigations, augmenting one’s skill set with further education while continuing to build experience on the job can directly contribute to higher earnings.
According to the industry research firm CEB TalentNeuron, on the whole, criminology salaries in Canada range from a low-end of $41,000 per year to a high-end of $127,000, with the majority of jobs and candidates centred in the National Capital Region (Ottawa – Gatineau), followed by Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.
Laurier’s online Combined Honours BA in Criminology and Policing program allows those currently in the workforce to earn their degree on their own schedule, with three intakes per year and complete flexibility to watch lectures and access resources 24/7. The combination of skills attained by graduates, which draw from fields like sociology, psychology, law, and police sciences, leave you well-positioned to take on a leadership role in any public or private industry affected by criminal activity.