To become a corrections officer, you must have your high school diploma and, in most facilities, a college degree is required. The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires correctional officers to have a bachelor’s degree or a minimum of three years experience. Obtaining a corrections degree or criminal justice degree is a good match for those seeking jobs in correctional facilities. Many schools offer both criminal justice and corrections degrees online so you can pursue your formal education with minimal disruption to your current work schedule. There are also some programs and certifications specifically designed to prepare you to work in juvenile corrections facilities. As the prison population of our country has increased, the demand for trained corrections officers, probation officers, and juvenile probation officers has also remained steady.
What will I learn in a corrections degree program?
While each corrections degree may vary slightly, the following are a list of topics you can expect to cover:
- The court system as well as legal and regulatory issues surrounding correctional facilities
- Operations and administrative tasks and duties of correctional officers
- Inmate rights and ethical concerns
- Overpopulation issues in corrections
- Differences between private and public facilities
- High security environments, security, and necessary staffing levels
- Controlling potential outbreaks, riots, and inmate uprisings
- Intervention strategies
- Use of force, protocol, and self defense for corrections officers
- Alternatives to incarceration and rehabilitation
- Inmate behavioral analysis
- Investigating suspicious activities or abuse
Degree Requirements for Corrections Certification
According to the American Correctional Association (ACA), the following are prerequisites for certification:
Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice & Certified Corrections Officer (CCO) and Certified Corrections Officer/Juvenile (CCO/JUV)
- High School Diploma-General Educational Diploma (HS/GED) +
- One (1) year work experience in present position at the officer level
Certified Corrections Supervisor (CCS) and Certified Corrections Supervisor/Juvenile (CCS/JUV)
- Associate Degree + one (1) year work experience in present position at the supervisory level or HS/GED, + five (5) years of full-time corrections experience that includes one (1) year work experience in present position at the supervisory level
Certified Corrections Manager (CCM) and Certified Corrections Manager/Juvenile (CCM/JUV)
- Associate Degree + one (1) year work experience in present position at the managerial level or HS/GED, + eight (8) years of full-time corrections experience that includes one (1) year work experience in present position at the managerial level
Certified Corrections Executive (CCE) and Certified Corrections Executive/Juvenile (CCE/JUV)
- Bachelors Degree + one (1) year work experience in present position at the executive level or HS/GED, + ten (10) years of full-time corrections experience that includes one (1) year work experience in present position at the executive level
Corrections Degree FAQs
In addition to becoming a corrections officer, what else can I do with a corrections degree?
You may also opt to learn more about juvenile justice, women’s facilities, as well as corrections management roles. You’ll also learn about the theoretical foundations of corrections, the history of incarceration, rehabilitative alternatives, and future trends.
What jobs can I get with a corrections degree?
Corrections degree’s will provide you with the knowledge you’ll need to pursue corrections jobs at the local, state, and federal levels. They also provide the foundation for related careers in corrections management positions, probation officer, parole officers, and juvenile justice specializations.