A bachelor degree in criminology and criminal justice opens up careers across the justice system. Graduates work in crime prevention, harm minimisation, law enforcement, court proceedings, detention and rehab.

Criminal justice careers

10 Careers from a Criminology or Criminal Justice Degree

So you’ve got your bachelor degree in criminology and/or criminal justice. What can you do with it in Australia?

Here’s a careers list to show you the different types of jobs available. These are the top 10 careers in criminology and criminal justice.

Community Services

Mental health support

A criminal justice degree can help you begin a career in community services. This is where you help prevent crime and minimise harm by supporting vulnerable people. Jobs are available with community-based initiatives and organisations, social service agencies, government and government-funded programs and organisations, community health programs and facilities, mental health services, youth programs, and faith-based organisations. Some positions may require a social work or counselling degree. No matter what your specific career goal, it’s best to do work experience or an internship in the area in which you hope to work while completing your education.

Job titles: administration support officer, coordinator-youth justice, forensic mental health worker, koori engagement worker, program manager-youth and community programs, senior case manager, targeted youth support service worker, victim support officer, youth and family worker, youth justice advanced case manager, youth justice group conference convenor, youth justice team manager, youth support officer.

Courts and Tribunals

Law courts

Can you picture yourself working in the court system? Positions are available with court registrars, magistrates’ courts, summary crime courts, assessment and referral courts, bail and remand courts, and therapeutic courts. Some jobs, such as case manager positions, might require further study in social work, psychology, or a related field. Look for opportunities to do work experience or an internship in a field involving case management if you hope for a career in that area. Trainee positions are a great way to begin a career as a court registrar.

Job titles: administrative services manager-summary crime, advanced case manager- assessment and referral court, court support services case manager, court support services manager, family violence applicant practitioner, tipstaff coordinator, trainee court registrar.

Corrections: Prisons and Community Corrections

Corrections officers

Corrections job opportunities are available in prisons, community corrections, and government agencies. Many of these settings provide the chance of a very stable career, and there are avenues for training on the job. You’ll need excellent interpersonal skills, empathy, the ability to be assertive and professional when dealing with challenging behaviours, strong communication skills, confidence, and a calm, non-judgmental attitude. Correctional officer jobs generally require a Certificate III in Correctional Practice, but many positions will allow you to earn this while working.

Job titles: aboriginal case manager, advanced case manager, case officer, compliance team leader-custodial operations, correctional officer supervisor, correctional officer trainee, field officer, forensic clinician, intake and assessment worker, offender services manager, operations manager, prison officer, program facilitator, senior assistant superintendent, senior case manager, senior correctional officer, senior correctional officer (female), senior prison officer-industries, supervisor-training coordinator, trainee custodial officer, youth diversion coordinator.

Intelligence and Investigation

Perhaps you’re interested in an exciting career in intelligence and investigation. There are many opportunities available, including ones involving investigation of criminal activity and organisations. Some positions require attending the Royal Military College-Duntroon and becoming an Army Officer who is commissioned to Aust Int Corps. There are also jobs available with government agencies such as the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and departments such as the Australian Government Department of Defence.

Job titles: intelligence assessment analyst, intelligence officer, investigator, investigator – investigations (policy and legal).


Paralegal law professional

If you’re dreaming of a career as a lawyer, you’ll need a law degree. Combined criminology or criminal justice and law degree programs are available. Do you want to become a barrister or a solicitor? Solicitors tend to focus on preliminary and background work and initial court appearances while barristers generally appear as counsel at trial. Different states and territories have their own requirements. Solicitors are often required to belong to Law Society bodies while barristers belong to state or territory bar associations. Paralegals frequently carry out many tasks that lawyers perform. If you hope to become a paralegal, you should get experience in a law office and preferably earn a Certificate in Paralegal Practice.

Job titles: criminal lawyer, family law legal assistant, family lawyer, graduate lawyer, junior criminal lawyer, junior lawyer, junior litigation lawyer, law clerk, lawyer, lawyer-dispute resolution, lawyer in-house, legal administrator / law clerk, legal counsel, legal officer, legal support officer, litigation and dispute resolution lawyer, paralegal, paralegal assistant, policy lawyer, principal in-house solicitor, principal lawyer, public defender, senior lawyer, senior legal officer, senior police lawyer, solicitor, solicitor-dispute resolution.

Law Enforcement

Have you ever thought about becoming a police officer? Look for opportunities with state and territory police forces. Make sure you maintain an excellent level of physical fitness, as you’ll need it in order to be recruited and enjoy success on the job. If you’re accepted as a police recruit, you’ll be required to complete special training. Perhaps being a border force officer would better suit you? If so, look into openings in the field with the Department of Home Affairs. You can also find law enforcement opportunities in other government agencies and the military.

Job titles: assessment officer, assistant border force officer, border force officer recruit traineeship (BFORT), border force officer recruit traineeship (BFORT) affirmative measures (indigenous), community safety officer, criminal investigator, military police, military police officer, protective security officer, security border force officer, security police officer, security investigator, strategic advisor.

Parole, Probation, and Rehabilitation

Parole, probation officer

Your criminology or criminal justice background will give you a strong advantage over other applicants in this area. Parole and probation officers generally receive training on the job. Success in this field depends on having specific personal qualities, such as confidence and assertiveness; empathy and interest in the welfare and well-being of others; the ability to assess and understand people and situations; patience, tolerance, and discretion; and highly developed interpersonal and communication skills. Some rehabilitation positions require additional degrees needed to be a professional social worker or psychologist.

Job titles: aboriginal parole officer, forensic clinician, parole and specialist case manager, parole officer, probation services officer, specialist case manager, specialist case worker.

Private Security and Crime Management

Private security

Private security and crime management jobs are available in many different workplaces. Just a few examples include retail shops and distribution environments, banks, and airports. At least a Certificate II in (and in some cases also a Certificate III) in Security Operations and a valid state-issued Security License might be required (ASIAL). To succeed in this field, you will need excellent communication and conflict-resolution skills. Earn a first aid certificate to give you an advantage in the job search process for many kinds of positions. Some loss prevention positions require business education or training. If a loss prevention career interests you, getting experience in a retail environment could be useful.

Job titles: aviation protection officer, covert loss prevention officer, loss prevention manager, loss prevention officer, loss prevention specialist, mobile patrol officer, protective security officer, security guard, security guard / crowd controller, security manager, security officer, security officer / crowd controller.

Public Policy and Government

Careers in this field are available with statutory bodies or authorities and government departments. There are many advantages to working in the public sector, including comfortable work environments, flexible work arrangements, and job security. Excellent leadership skills and an eagerness to continue learning will give you an advantage in this field. Further education in public policy will be useful in beginning a carer in this field. A law degree might be required for certain positions.

Job titles: manager-legal policy and community engagement, manager-performance and evaluation, manager-professional practice, policy and research officer, policy officer, senior legal policy officer, senior policy analyst, senior policy officer, senior research officer, team leader-policy and research.

Research and Teaching

University lecturer

If a career in academic criminology research and teaching appeals to you, you’ll need a graduate degree in criminology. A PhD will be required for many positions. Most research and teaching jobs are located at universities. You might be part of a criminology department, conducting criminology research and teaching undergraduate and/or graduate students. If you’re currently completing your undergraduate criminology degree, begin looking into how and when you should apply to graduate school.

Job titles: lecturer (criminology), postdoctoral fellow, research officer, senior instructor, senior research postdoctoral fellow, sessional tutor and seminar leader (law and criminology).

Jobs in Criminal Justice

The big job sectors in the justice system include security, detention, policing and community services.

Projected job numbers by 2023

Security Officers and Guards70,103
Welfare, Rec and Community Arts50,648
Social Workers35,480
Health and Welfare Services Managers23,889
Court and Legal Clerks18,606
Prison Officers17,688
Judicial and Other Legal Professionals13,588
Social Professionals13,349

Source: Department of Employment, Australia 2019

Resources: Security Careers and Training (ASIAL)