What Jobs can You Get with a Criminology Qualification in 2023?

What is criminology?

Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminals. By examining the motivations and behaviours of criminals, as well as the consequences of their actions, criminologists aim to use these studies to create preventative measures that can prevent crimes from occurring or reoccurring in the future. This is achieved by taking into account the psychological, biological, and sociological factors that may influence their behaviour and thought processes.

Jobs in criminology

When you think about criminology and the kind of career you can pursue, the ones at the top of your list would be working in the police force or analysing crime scenes; however, these are not your only options.

Whether you are just stepping onto the criminology ladder with an online criminology course, or you have just completed a degree, with either of these qualifications in your arsenal, you can consider a career in any of the following:

1. Criminologist

Within this role, you will be responsible for finding out why people commit crimes and choose to re-offend. This will be achieved by analysing data, identifying trends and using your qualifications in social science to research human behaviour.

In addition, you will need to have great communication skills so you can confidently talk and engage with offenders and ex-offenders so they will openly talk about their actions.

2. Criminal Intelligence Analyst 

Similar to a criminologist, this role is heavily research-based and aims to analyse data through the use of crime analytics software to help assess crime statistics and information.

On top of exploring things such as cyber intrusion, you will need to have a strong understanding of the law, current regulations, and past cases, so combining a criminology course with an online law course, will give you a better foundation of knowledge to work from.

3. Crime Scene Investigator

As a crime scene investigator, you will be expected to have a keen eye for detail and be able to carefully assess crime scenes for clues, evidence, and essential details. The types of scenes you will encounter will often be distressing, so it is important that you can emotionally handle such situations in a calm, trustworthy, and detached manner to ensure you can thoroughly assess every facet of every clue and piece of information. 

4. Private investigator

Most private investigators start their careers in the police force before becoming independent investigators. Yet this doesn’t mean you have to follow this same path. Instead, you can take your online criminology course, and combine it with a business management qualification to help you launch your own business. 

 The only thing to remember is that as a PI, you won’t have the same access a criminologist or a police officer would to a crime scene. Instead, you’ll have to apply your analytical and investigative skills in other ways to help you solve the cases you’ve been hired for. Likewise, you will need a strong knowledge of the law and all its applications to ensure that you don’t overstep during your investigations.

Responsibilities: private investigators typically investigate specific crimes or personal matters, e.g. searching for lost relatives, stolen items, etc. They usually work on their own but will collaborate with the police to help solve crimes. In addition, they will collect information, perform background checks, conduct interviews, and perform surveillance.

5. Police officer

Unlike some of the other careers listed above, you don’t necessarily have to possess any law or criminology qualifications to become a PCSO or police officer. Instead, this is the kind of career where you’ll train, take exams, and complete a series of physical examinations before starting up the career ladder. That being said, a deeper knowledge of the law, criminology, and social sciences will help you progress up the career ladder faster, especially if you dream of one day becoming a detective.

Other skills you’ll need are good verbal communication and negotiation skills; an analytical mind; and the ability to read people’s behaviour and actions so you can easily detect lies and dishonesty.

Additional responsibilities: As a police officer, your job is to ensure public safety, respond to emergencies, and answer calls of distress. On top of having a thorough knowledge of the law, you will also need to know CPR and first aid and have undergone crisis intervention training. In particular, you will need to be able to diffuse situations and employ de-escalation tactics, as well as know how to navigate different conversations.

6. Social worker 

Social care and criminology are more closely related than you think. While social workers aim to support children and young people by ensuring they receive the care and education they deserve, they are also involved in abuse, neglect, and addiction cases and, as such, need to have a strong understanding of how legal processes work.

Social workers are also known to be involved in adult or elderly individual cases, helping vulnerable individuals find balance and support when needed.

Additional information: social workers can work in clinical and community settings and organisations. At times, you will also work with law enforcement, and as such, you will need to have a detailed knowledge of local and national laws.

7. Probation officer 

Probation officers typically work with released offenders to help them reintegrate into society. From assisting them with housing and finding work to recommending rehabilitation plans and encouraging them to attend therapy sessions, they help to reduce the risk of them re-offending or committing a crime by supplying them with a solid support system.

To assist yourself in this role, you need to have a strong understanding of the criminal justice system as well as be knowledgeable in psychology. As such, you may want to add an online psychology or counselling course to your repertoire.

Responsibilities: They monitor the activities of ex-offenders, including checking their work and home arrangements. Should they ever break the terms of their parole, it is their job to contact the courts to inform them of the offence.

8. Prison officer

Within this position, you will work directly with those who are serving time for the crimes they have committed. This means that, along with understanding how the law and the criminal system work, you will also need to be equipped to deal with troubled individuals. We suggest pairing criminology with psychology for this role to enable you to provide a stronger support system for those in your care.

9. Youth justice officer 

In this position, you will work directly with troubled young people, helping to protect and safeguard them from bad situations such as neglect or abuse. In addition to being empathetic and caring, you’ll also need to be a good communicator, be incredibly organised, and be capable of writing reports and assessments.

10. Correctional officer 

Correctional officers usually work within prisons, helping to ensure rules are met and maintained. This can include interacting with prisoners, supervising activities and prisoner behaviour, and assisting in the resolution of conflicts.

11. Lawyer 

To work as a lawyer, you will need a thorough knowledge of criminology and the law, especially if you want to specialise in criminology. As a lawyer, you will be expected to handle criminal cases involving guilty and non-guilty parties and interview witnesses.

 Note: Of all the above jobs, this one requires a law degree, an LPC, and a training contract before you can work independently in this field.

What other qualifications do you need to work in criminology?

No matter which of the above careers you want to pursue, a criminology qualification alone may not always be enough to get you the post you want. To expand your horizons and increase your chances of getting the job you want, you may also want to explore qualifications in criminal justice, sociology or psychology.

Fortunately, there are multiple avenues you can use to bolster your credentials. Colleges, online courses, and night schools can all help you get the knowledge and skills you need to increase your odds of getting your dream job.

Online courses are especially useful for studying and learning on your own terms. Designed for home learning, you can study at a time, pace, and location of your choosing and spend as little or as long as you want on each module. At the same time, you can mould your studies to fit around your existing working and social commitments, enabling you to achieve a healthy study-life balance.

Your next steps…

If you are interested in exploring a legal career, completing a criminology qualification can increase your career opportunities. Before applying for a place, the key is ensuring that you are fully aware of what criminology is and what the course entails.

For more information on criminology and the doors it can open for you, take a look at our breadth of online courses today.

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