Top Corrections Degrees in Criminal Justice

Top Corrections Degrees in Criminal Justice

We have 366 corrections programs in our database.

Corrections refers to the branch of the criminal justice system that deals with individuals who have been convicted of a crime. The role of the correctional system is to ensure that an offender’s sentence is carried out, whether it’s time in jail or prison, probation, or community service. From an academic perspective, the four goals of corrections are: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. Each state’s corrections department is responsible for determining which policies and methods will be used to reach these goals for both adult and juvenile offenders.

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What Kind of Jobs can I Get in the Corrections field?

The most obvious career path in the corrections field is becoming a correctional officer. Corrections officers may work in prisons, jails, or juvenile detention centers and be employed by local, state, or federal government agencies. The primary duty of a corrections officer is to supervise individuals who have been arrested or are awaiting trial as well as those who have already been sentenced. Correctional officers may be required to monitor inmates’ behavior, conduct searches of prisoners’ cells to look for contraband, oversee the day-to-day activities of inmates, or aid in their rehabilitation efforts.

If you’re not interested in working in a jail or prison setting, there are a number of other job opportunities available in the corrections field. Probation and parole officers, for example, work with offenders who have completed their sentence to make sure they’re adhering to the terms of their release. Social services specialists also work with individuals on parole or probation. They may help them get drug, alcohol, or psychiatric counseling, if necessary, or enroll them in a GED or equivalency program to complete their education or get job training to find employment. Youth services specialists work specifically with incarcerated juveniles to provide counseling, mentoring, and other services as needed.

*Consider accredited online programs that can put a Bachelors or Masters in Criminal Justice degree well within reach:

What Are the Educational Requirements for Becoming a Corrections Officer?

Correctional officers must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. Depending on the state in which you live, you may also be required to earn a certain amount of college credits or complete at least a bachelor’s degree. Some states may also accept law enforcement experience as a substitute for required education. The federal government requires at least a four-year degree to apply for a corrections position. If you are planning to complete your degree, choosing a major in criminal justice can provide you with a key foundation. Policing, criminal law, criminal investigations, corrections, and juvenile justice are just a few of the courses you can expect to take. If you plan to work in another area, such as counseling or administration, you may also need an additional degree or certification, depending on what your state’s requirements are.

Additional Requirements for Correctional Officers

In addition to meeting the educational requirements, you’ll also need to be able to pass the physical requirements, which are designed to test your strength, stamina, and agility. If you’re applying for a position with the federal Bureau of Prisons, you can expect the physical training and testing to be more intensive than at the local or state level. Positions that are above entry-level typically require you to have a certain amount of experience working in the correctional system, either as a paid employee, intern, or volunteer. Generally, you’ll need to have a clean criminal history, although each state sets its own guidelines regarding background checks.