It’s easy to think a criminology degree is just for those looking for a job in law enforcement. However, studying criminology can lead to many different roles in a variety of sectors. Below, we look at 7 careers where a criminology degree could be beneficial – both within the criminal justice sector and beyond, examine what your day to day might look like, and how to start your career.
By Grant Longstaff. Published 1 August 2023.
Crime scene investigator
Crime scene investigators are responsible for protecting a crime scene from contamination and gathering evidence. You’ll collect, categorise and photograph evidence from the scene of an incident, work with coroners to collect samples and examine and analyse everything from blood spatter patterns to suspected weapons. You’ll write reports on your findings and may also be called to give evidence in a trial. If you have a meticulous eye for detail, enjoy problem solving and want to use science and data to solve crimes, this could be the career for you.
If you want a career in criminal investigation then you could become a detective. Police detectives cover serious and complex crimes and often work within a specialist department of the force, such as the criminal investigations department (CID), fraud, drugs, child protection or firearms. Many detectives start their careers as police officers but there are alternative routes, such as the National Detective Programme, a two year training scheme which aims to fully prepare you for the role. You’ll need to be diligent and emotionally resilient, and approach situations logically and with impartiality. You can find out more about becoming a detective on the College of Policing website.
Police officers are responsible for maintaining law and order within the community and are often the first responders to crime and disorder. Communication skills and diplomacy, alongside professionalism and respect, are extremely important characteristics for officers. A BA (Hons) in Criminology could provide the perfect platform to launch your career. Take a look at Joining the Police if you want to find out more about what the job entails and explore the different routes into the police service.
Probation officers work with offenders to help them reintegrate back into society, reduce the chances of them reoffending, and change their lives for the better. the work could take place in prisons, community centres, local offices and even at clients’ homes. The work can be challenging, but also rewarding, and you’ll need a good deal of resilience. For more on becoming a Prison Officer visit the HM Prison and Probation Service website. You can listen to employee stories and learn how to apply.
Of course, not everyone who studies criminology wants to pursue a career related to law. The skills you’ll gain during the degree will be beneficial in several fields, and your studies will lend your knowledge an analytical edge, a desirable quality for many employers.
Social workers help individuals and families navigate difficult situations by providing support and guidance throughout these challenges. Your aim as a social worker will be to protect clients and ultimately help improve their quality of life. You could work with clients who have a history of substance abuse, a learning or physical disability, mental health diagnosis, the elderly, children, and vulnerable adults. You’ll find employment opportunities within your local authority, the NHS, charities, and private organisations. for more visit the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) website, an independent membership organisation for social workers.
If you want to help improve the lives of young people then becoming a youth worker may be the ideal position for you. Youth work involves supporting young people, individually and in groups, in both education and their personal lives. As a result, you could work in a school environment, an office, or local community projects and outreach programmes. You’ll need to build strong relationships and become an effective communicator, so you can tackle difficult subjects when they arise and make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Counsellors help individuals identify and overcome the many challenges faced throughout their lives such as bereavement, divorce, relationship difficulties and even minor mental health challenges. You’ll need to be a great listener, unbiased, and have an empathetic nature to fully support your client. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website is a good place to find out more about this line of work and hosts job advertisements, events, and resources to help you on your counselling journey.
There are, of course, many more career options with a criminology degree. You might perhaps consider a career in the legal field such as a paralegal or solicitor, look for work with a charity or in the civil service. If, however, you're leaning leaning towards a career within law and order our BA (Hons) in Criminology and Policing is a great way to launch your future in the justice system.
Discover our range of criminology degrees and examine which one best suits your future goals.