How to become a Criminologist

Criminologists examine the systems by which people accused of crimes are brought to justice, attempt to explain the reasons for criminal behaviour and suggest ways crime might be reduced.

Personal requirements for a Criminologist

  • Ability to think analytically and critically
  • Personal integrity
  • Interested in welfare and human behaviour
  • Interested in working with disadvantaged groups
  • Sense of empathy and care
  • Balanced outlook on situations
  • Great communication skills

Education & Training for a Criminologist

To become a criminologist you usually have to complete a degree in criminology, criminal justice, justice studies, legal studies or psychology. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Criminologist


  • Study the ways in which certain criminal justice agencies operate, including the law courts, police services, prisons and community-based correction centres
  • Analyse and interpret data received on the incidence of crime and the operation of the justice system
  • Monitor new and emerging trends in offending and crime
  • Provide information about crime and the ways in which people are processed by the criminal justice system
  • Catalogue information about the possible causes of crime and the crimes committed
  • Compile crime statistics and develop ways in which crimesolving resources can be most effectively used
  • Analyse and develop crime policy and prevention strategies
  • Evaluate all aspects of crime and the criminal justice system
  • Research criminological issues such as those pertaining to offenders, victims of crime and sentencing.


  • Rendering the meaning and feeling of what is said and signed into another language in the appropriate register and style in a range of settings such as courts, hospitals, schools, workplaces and conferences
  • Organising, authenticating, evaluating and interpreting historical, political, sociological, anthropological and linguistic data
  • Assembling historical data by consulting sources of information such as historical indexes and catalogues, archives, court records, diaries, newspaper files and other materials
  • Undertaking historical and cultural research into human activity, and preparing and presenting research findings
  • Rendering the meaning and feeling of written material, such as literary, legal, technical and scientific texts, into another language in the appropriate register and style, so that it will read as an original piece rather than as a translation
  • Studying original texts and transcripts of recorded spoken material to comprehend subject matter and translating them into another language
  • Providing simultaneous and consecutive verbal or signed renditions of speeches into another language

Working conditions for a Criminologist

Criminologists can work in office environments, court rooms or visit criminal institutions in jails to complete their job effectively.

Employment Opportunities for a Criminologist

Criminologists work in government departments, private industry or tertiary institutions. Many universities employ criminologists as academics to teach criminology, legal studies, law and sociology, as well as to undertake their own research. Federal, state and territory justice agencies employ criminologists as research officers and policy advisers. They also work in agencies involved with policy, law reform, juvenile justice, crime statistics and adult corrections. These include the Australian Institute of Criminology, the federal Criminal Law and Law Enforcement Branch, police departments, courts and corrective institutions. Private welfare agencies and individual corporations such as specialist security firms also employ criminologists.



Criminologists examine the systems by which people accused of crimes are brought to justice, attempt to explain the reasons for criminal behaviour and suggest ways crime might be reduced. Criminologists may specialise in crime prevention, cybercrime, juvenile justice, policing strategies, economic crimes or corrections. They may work in the legal field, ensuring laws keep up with changes in society. They may also work in the social/psychological fields, studying the effects of the criminal justice system or the factors that contribute to offending behaviour by individuals.

  • Average age
    Average age
    46 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    64% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    39% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    12,900 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 3.3%
    NSW: 31.5%
    NT: 1.8%
    QLD: 15.6%
    SA: 6.9%
    TAS: 1.7%
    VIC: 30.1%
    WA: 9.0%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 2.2%
    20-24: 4.3%
    25-34: 18.2%
    35-44: 21.1%
    45-54: 21.7%
    55-59: 11%
    60-64: 9.1%
    65 and Over: 12.4%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 13.8%
    Bachelor degree: 32.4%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 4.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 35.6%
    Year 10 and below: 3.1%
    Year 11: 1%
    Year 12: 9.5%
    Years 11 & 10: 0%
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