The South Australian police, fire and armed forces industry employs 9,800 people, which is just over 1.2% of the State’s workforce.

The police, fire and armed forces protect Australians and our allies from events that jeopardise our way of life. These can be internal or external events, resulting from the environment or from human behaviour.

Most people working in this industry are employed in the SA police force or as security guards.

The same units and qualifications are used in the volunteer fire services as well as in the non-fire state emergency services.

Police work in every region of South Australia, although you can expect to find most of the jobs in the metropolitan area.

Full-time firefighters are currently located in the Adelaide metropolitan area, Port Pirie and Mount Gambier, but there are also firefighters in other regions of the State.

Armed forces personnel are located at designated barracks throughout South Australia:

  • Army — Keswick, Warradale, Woodside, Edinburgh, Hampstead
  • Navy — Keswick, Edinburgh, Salisbury and the ASC site at Osborne
  • Air Force — Edinburgh, Woomera.

Job openings for skilled workers

Emergency Service Worker


Police Officer

Quick facts about this industry

  • Most people work full-time.
  • Most people have completed a certificate III qualification or higher.
  • One third of the workforce has a diploma, advanced diploma or university degree qualification.
  • One in five people working in this industry is female.
  • People are younger than those in other industries.
  • You must be physically fit and may have your fitness level tested.
  • The minimum height for joining the military is 152cm without shoes.
  • For many roles in this industry you need to be calm under pressure and be able to communicate well with people from all backgrounds and cultures.
  • To become a fire fighter you must hold a current full heavy rigid (synchromesh) driver’s licence before joining.
  • Police officers and fire fighters earn an average of $1,500 and $2,000 per week. Prison officers earn an average of $1,000 and $1,250 per week. An army private, navy sailor and air force airman/airwoman (the first ranks following initial training), earn about $830 per week plus allowances. Education and healthcare is provided. Housing assistance is available to people with dependents.

School options

Ask your Vocational Education and Training (VET) Coordinator at school for information about doing vocational education during the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), including the Training Guarantee for SACE (or equivalent) students. Visit the VET section of the SACE website for training options in:

  • Justice and policing studies
  • Public safety and asset management

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Certificates II and III in Public Safety (Police Liaison)
  • Diploma of Policing
  • Diploma of Forensic Investigation
  • Certificate II in Military Skills
  • Certificates III and IV in Explosive Ordnance Operations
  • Certificate II in Medical Service First Response
  • Certificates II and III in Public Safety (Firefighting and Emergency Operations)
  • Certificate III in Public Safety (SES Operations)
  • Certificate III in Public Safety (SES Rescue)
  • Certificate III – Diploma in Local Government (Regulatory Services)
  • Certificate IV and Diploma in Government Investigations
  • Certificate IV and Diploma in Government Security

See courses related to this industry.

Further training:

  • SA Police supports study towards qualifications for promotion and transfer to specialist areas/sections.
  • SA Metropolitan Fire Service offers ongoing training relating to the role of fire fighter.
  • The Australian Defence Force will train and employ recruits in the occupations they want and to the qualification level they want to achieve.

Occupations in this industry


Police detect and prevent crime, respond to calls for assistance from the public, arrest offenders and present evidence at court.

Prison officers are responsible for the custody, care, supervision, welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners in prisons and correctional centres.

Metropolitan and Country Fire Services

The Metropolitan and Country Fire Services are responsible for protecting people, property and the environment from fire, chemical incidents and other emergencies.

Australian Defence Force

The Australian Defence Force is split into three sections:

  • The Army protects our country, its national interests and its people, as well as helping other nations to rebuild after conflict or natural disaster.
  • The Navy defends Australia’s coast, protects it from illegal fishing, drug-running and illegal immigration, helps in times of crisis and from time to time assists other countries. Depending on the job, about equal time is spent at sea and onshore by navy personnel.
  • The Air Force maintains a fleet of aircraft capable of performing many roles, such as transport for disaster relief, humanitarian aid, tactical strike roles or perimeter air defence.

Key occupations

Other occupations in this industry include:

Aboriginal community constable, communications operator, crime prevention officer, criminal investigation branch investigator, dog operations officer, fingerprint examiner, insurance investigator, intelligence officer, mounted operations officer, photographer, police academy trainer, prosecutor, special tasks and rescue (star) officer, traffic officer or transit patrol officer.

Related industries for these occupations

Useful links


Career information has been sourced from government publications. See data sources for more information.

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