Careers in Criminal Justice
A degree in Criminal Justice opens up career opportunities in organisations / areas such as:
Police Force British Transport Police Community Support Officer Probation Service Arrest Referral and Bail Support Team Drug and Alcohol Action Teams Prison Service Social Work Youth Work (or working with young offenders) Connexions Victim Support Witness Care Unit Forensic Psychology Teams. Clinical psychology / Mental Health Barrister Solicitor Research/Crime Analyst Postgraduate study
As you will learn when you are studying for your degree, there will apparently always be crime and so there will apparently always be criminals… so there will apparently always be jobs for those qualified to work in the criminal justice system!
The Criminal Justice degrees fit into one of LJMU core values: to enhance our students 'employability'. This means that on completion of your degree, you will have the necessary skills and knowledge to enter related employment or further study. Whilst a degree in Criminal Justice will provide students with the relevant writing organisational and analytical capabilities to enter most employment sectors, it is our desire for students to seek and gain jobs in the criminal justice sector.
So how do we aim to enhance a students future employment prospects? Through a variety of careful considered strategies:
Course Design & Content
All Criminal Justice courses attempt to provide a balance between analytical thought and vocational skills and knowledge. This means that theoretical discussion is fused with practical know-how. In modules such as 'Criminological Theory' and 'Sentencing and Punishment' we discuss theory based notions (what causes people to commit crime? what is societies rationale for punishing people?), but we also focus on the practical implications of these issues (should we try and treat or punish criminals and how do we do this? what happens in a court setting and what sentences are available?).
Students should therefore have a fundamental understanding of the criminal justice system, which is vital if you are hoping to work in this setting, but also be able to think critically and independently about why policy and practice follow a particular aim and direction.
For BA (Hons) Criminal Justice students, there is a specific module titled 'Professional Development in Criminal Justice', which aims to further aid and enhance a students employability, whilst also helping then decide on what career path they may wish to follow.
The 'Professional Development in Criminal Justice' module requires students to produce written vocational orientated work i.e. CVs, and to discuss interview strategies and so forth, to prepare them for their search for employment. It also, however, entails visiting speakers from local criminal justice agencies (Police, Probation, YOT, Connexions) discussing employment issues and job prospects with students and passing on vital information and advice.
The 'Professional Development in Criminal Justice' module is also linked LJMU's career service. The School of Law has a specialist career advisor, Stephen Burbage, who works tirelessly to provide students with opportunities to enhance their employment skills (offering workshops and conferences), but also encourages individuals to speak to him on a one-to-one basis to discuss their career prospects. We also have a general careers advice service available to all students.
Graduate Skills & World of WorkIn order to continually support our students employment prospects, LJMU has introduced their Graduate Skills and World of Work (WoW) programmes.These schemes ensure that all our degree programmes offer a level of commitment and content aimed specifically at enhancing students vocational skills. The Criminal Justice degree programmes fit well underneath the Graduate Skills and WoW umbrellas, as we believe that students are the core of our work, and that by developing their employment prospects, reflects positively on our degrees, and proves that they are 'effective'. LJMU also run the dynamic Graduate Development Centre which offers all students free expert careers advice as well as specific traning on vocational related issues.
The Criminal Justice department believe that critical thought and discussion has to form the core of any degree programme. We believe that through academic reading and in-class debate and discussion, students will further their knowledge base and thought process. We also, however, firmly believe that students should see the reality of what they are learning. Seeing the criminal justice system 'in action' is vital in developing an understanding of policy and practice, and how criminal justice professionals do their work.
Various members of our academic team have practice backgrounds in agencies such as The Probation Service, Youth Offending Teams, Social Services and drugs work and pass this experience and know-how onto students. Students, however, are also required, to see the system through their own eyes. Students are required to undertake such tasks as visiting the local Magistrate and Crown Courts and to provide critically reports on this. As part of our 'Work-Based Learning' and 'Dissertation' modules at Level three, students are required to gain access to local criminal justice agencies and spend their time working in, and observing these environments, all of which enhances your 'real-life' knowledge of the criminal justice system.
Students are also actively encouraged to take part in voluntary work within the criminal justice sphere during the course of their studies. We believe this enhances an individual’s knowledge, but also their employment prospects. Members of staff can always be approached to discuss these placements, however, we encourage students to independently seek out voluntary opportunities on their own to improve their independence in this type of scenario. Some of our current and previous students have worked as volunteers in numerous settings, such as: Youth Offending Teams, Police Special Constables, Drug treatment and support agencies, youth work, Citizens Advice Bureau, and the Victim Support service. For further details, see our graduate profiles web pages.
When students graduate and officially leave a university, this often signals the ends of their connection with that institution. Here at the Centre for Criminal Justice, however, we do not believe that this should be the case - quite the opposite in fact! We actively encourage students to remain in contact and understand that the academic staffs doors shall always be open to them for advice on job applications, possible career paths, or just to discuss thoughts and ideas. We will also provide references to future employees and comment on your personal attributes and characteristics.
After Graduation - Career / Postgraduate Prospects
We strongly believe that all our graduates should be in a solid position to go on and enter related employment or further study. LJMU offers a number of Criminal Justice, Legal and Psychological postgraduate programmes (at reduced rates for LJMU graduates), but many of our students also go on to study at other institutions as well. See our graduate profiles for further information and evidence of this.
Perspective students often ask about future avenues of employment within this field, and here are some of the related areas, which we believe our graduates are relevantly qualified: Police Service, Probation Service, Youth Offending Teams (or youth work), Prison Service, Drugs agencies, Connexions, Forensic Psychology teams, Crown Prosecution Service, Solicitor, Barrister, Home Office, Researcher, Crime Analyst, Victim Support, Housing / Hostel support, Community Safety Officer, Street Crime Warden, Anti-Social Behaviour teams.