Criminology jobs: How to get started

Looking for a career in criminology?

If you’ve got a criminology degree, knowing exactly what jobs in the industry are open to you can sometimes be a challenge. Especially if you don’t have much relevant work experience to lean on when you start your search. 

To help you find out which positions you might be qualified for, here’s everything you need to know about criminology jobs.


What criminology jobs are available? 

Youth Worker

What they do: Youth Workers provide guidance and support for young people aged 11-25, helping them to reach their full potential, and improve their social, personal, and emotional development.

How to get there: To become a Youth Worker, you’ll usually need a degree which has been validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA). However, apprenticeships are available in more entry level roles, such as Youth Support Worker, which could be a great way to work your way up – whilst also gaining experience on-the-job. 

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How to become a Youth Worker


Probation officer

What they do: Probation Officers work closely with offenders, monitoring their behaviour and overseeing their rehabilitation back into society. Typical duties include everything from conducting regular meetings to assess an individual’s progress, through to completing risk assessments to protect against reoffending.

How to get there: You’ll need to complete specialised training to become a Probation Officer, which will generally require at least a QCF Level 5 qualification (such as a degree, DipHE or higher apprenticeship) which includes modules in the criminal justice system, However, if you aren’t currently qualified, don’t panic – a number of online learning options are available in this area.

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How to become a Probation Officer


What they do: Study criminal behaviour to determine why crimes have been committed and, crucially, what can be done in order to reduce the risk of people reoffending. Aside from the psychological side of the role, Criminologists are also very analytical, working with vast data sets to spot patterns and trends, which could be used to help improve the justice system. 

How to get there: A degree in Criminology is a definite prerequisite here. Many employers will also look for some form of postgraduate qualification. As Criminology is an extremely competitive field, networking opportunities could be absolutely vital to progress. Gaining membership with the British Society of Criminology is a great way to increase your contacts, and get your name out there when looking to further your career.

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Prison officer

What they do: Prison Officers supervise, train, and rehabilitate prisoners.They’re also responsible for each inmate’s welfare, carrying out regular security checks to ensure a safe, healthy and secure environment – and helping to support those who are particularly vulnerable.

How to get there: You may not need a degree to become a Prison Officer, as employers will place precedence on your work experience and personal qualities. If you don’t have much experience, taking on voluntary positions in the community could help your application stand out. You’ll also need to pass a number of numerical assessments and fitness/medical tests as part of the application process.

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How to become a Prison Officer


Forensic Scientist 

What they do: Use various types of scientific and mathematical analysis to assess the evidence found at crime scenes. Although they tend to get more hands-on than those working purely in criminology, their extra psychological training can often help Criminologists transition their skills to forensics. 

How to get there: Many roles in forensic science require a forensic science degree, and some may ask for a Masters. However, it is possible to go into the career with a degree in criminology, and you may be able to start in an entry level position – as a Forensic Lab Support Assistant, for example – and work your way up. Especially if you undertake voluntary work, or enrol on a forensic science-specific course prior to this. 

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How to become a Forensic Scientist

Other potential criminology jobs:
Private Investigator, Police Officer, Fraud Specialist, Loss Prevention Officer, Clinical Psychologist, Social Worker. 


Do I need a degree to work in criminology? 

For most criminology positions, employers will expect you to have some level of qualification related to the role. This will generally mean a degree (and may even mean a Masters). 

However, there may be some entry level positions available which won’t require a formal qualification – not to mention give you the chance to gain valuable experience and work your way up in the industry. 

Examples of entry level criminology jobs include things like administrators in civil service positions, as well as some voluntary roles within the local community. 

Further education

Depending on which career you choose, pursuing further education could be a great way to expand your skillset, maximise your employability, and ultimately help you to secure a job.

Taking a postgraduate qualification will also help build more specialist knowledge in your chosen field. Whether it’s working with young offenders, within social care, or in areas such as alcohol abuse, loss prevention and fraud.    

Additionally, there are a number of dedicated courses in criminology available. Although they may not necessarily lead straight to a job, they will help you learn more about the field. Not to mention help you set yourself apart when looking at entry level criminology jobs.

How to get work experience in criminology 

Finding relevant work experience can be a vital way to stand out to recruiters for criminology roles. 

Start by looking for a voluntary position within your local community. Ideally one that has some sort of relevance to your chosen field. 

Job shadowing is another great way to build your skills ‘on-the-job’. Try getting in touch with your local civil service organisations to offer your services. Even if you’re just able to take tour of the facility, it’s a great way to get your foot in the door.

Other ways to get work experience in criminology could include prison visiting, speaking to young offenders, and helping out with local youth groups. Criminology apprenticeships and internships may also be available. 


Criminology skills to utilise

To work in criminology, you’ll need an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and psychology, as well as an excellent grasp of ethics, and the criminal justice system. 

Here are a few of the key skills needed to work in criminology:

  • Evaluating evidence 
  • Data interpretation
  • Analytical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Research skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Decision making skills 
  • Honesty and integrity


 Still searching for your perfect position? View all criminology jobs now.


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