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Becoming a correctional officer is worth pursuing if you’ve always dreamt of contributing to public order and safety. All jurisdictions all over the United States require at least a high school diploma to qualify as one, but if you want to stay ahead of the competition, it pays to focus truly on learning the discipline’s fundamentals and the work it entails.
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Did you know some 33,000 correctional and bailiff job openings are expected in the next decade? Besides these two popular career pathways, more jobs in the criminal justice industry await Corrections majors.
Most Corrections degrees are a specialization under the Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice program. Individuals who pursue this degree usually aim to work for the federal government or to become supervisors, managers, or executives within correctional facilities. Students develop a familiarity with the laws, policies, and cases that broaden their perspective of the country’s justice system.
Obtaining an online Corrections degree program will provide you with a thorough understanding of the methods and techniques used in correctional environments.
The Corrections sector punishes offenders according to the dictates of the criminal justice. If a profession focusing on this objective interests you, it makes sense to pursue an online Bachelor’s in Corrections!
Our indexed list of outstanding Corrections degree programs offers prospective students the best options from top-rated colleges! Each recommended online undergraduate program meets these criteria:
- Allows students to complete their undergraduate program online or partially online, emphasizing convenience,
- Online Corrections-focused courses and related subjects are taught from fundamentals to advanced levels, preparing students for jobs in this sector or a master’s degree,
- Delivers the latest Corrections principles and practices, enabling students to work in prisons, correctional facilities, and other work settings,
- Hosted on robust online learning systems offering convenient Corrections coursework access,
- Taught by professors who are Corrections terminal degree holders and have had actual experience as professionals,
- Provides financial assistance and credit transfer program to reduce undergraduate tuition and fees,
- Regionally accredited, proving compliance with academic standards.
To know about our selection process, please visit our Methodology page.
5 Best Schools with Online Bachelor’s in Corrections
American Intercontinental University
An online BS in Criminal Justice Degree with a Specialization in Case Management and Corrections can be taken at American Intercontinental University. This online degree is the best program for learning about criminal rights, correction strategies, justice theory, and legal laws and policies.
Online Case Management courses allow students to study agency structures, operating processes, and practices in correctional facilities. The degree, which can be completed online, includes discussions on correctional inventions and programs.
Eastern Kentucky University
As one of the few schools offering juvenile and adult corrections degrees in the country, Eastern Kentucky University is a leader in criminal justice training. It offers an online BS in Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies.
Using a community-based approach, EKU’s online Bachelor’s in Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies emphasizes offender rehabilitation. Offender treatment and prison administration are areas where students can explore and focus.
Through EKU’s real-world approach, students receive a practical education and have the opportunity to pursue rewarding careers.
Park University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice in Corrections featuring three concentrations that supplement the core courses:
- Law Enforcement
Through the online program, students gain a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system on a theoretical, philosophical, and practical level, preparing them for diverse career choices in businesses, companies, government agencies, and more.
Southern New Hampshire University
One of the best online programs available at SNHU is their Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections.
These are the topics that students are exposed to:
- Emerging trends in domestic and global settings
- Current criminology theories
- Effective communication strategies
- Decision-making methods
This Corrections concentration within the Criminal Justice degree also focuses on rehabilitation programs and practices that are evidence-based. It also presents the basics of community-based supervision, social factors related to incarceration, and the continuum of services provided in corrections. Instructors guide students through simulated scenarios to solve actual challenges.
This -program also establishes better writing, reading, interpreting, and recording skills for future professionals with a Communications-focused course.
Students can utilize credits from completed, related courses toward their Corrections degree.
Regent’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice—Corrections concentrates on criminal law, procedures, and juvenile justice. Taking courses from a Christian worldview emphasizing critical thinking and ethics will give you a deeper understanding of the human condition.
Like most Criminal Justice programs, it teaches students the fundamentals of juvenile justice, criminal law, and criminal procedure. The focus areas include correctional ethics, juvenile delinquency, and how the American legal and justice system works.
After completing this online Bachelor’s in Corrections, graduates become equipped for trial procedures, appeals, and case sentences. They qualify for positions in law enforcement at the local, national, state, and even international fronts.
Students can transfer up to 90 credits toward this online Corrections undergraduate program, saving time and cost.
Here’s an interesting field to consider: Best Schools with Online Bachelor’s in Criminology Degree Programs
Careers in the Field of Corrections
Look at the career pathways in private, public, and non-profit organizations and mostly in court and law enforcement agencies, that you can pursue after completing an online Bachelor’s in Corrections.
Counselors may also help inmates prepare for reentry into the community by advocating for early release or parole. Among others, program counselors make key decisions about rehabilitating inmates, particularly juvenile offenders, in collaboration with mental health and behavioral health professionals. Your role includes understanding the underlying factors that determine the act of crimes. Aside from demonstrating active listening skills, program counselors should also show empathy toward clients.
Correctional officers typically work in prison and jail facilities. Correctional officers typically supervise inmates’ activities, monitor them, and intervene in cases of conflict. During searches, they may find contraband and punish inmates with loss of privileges when necessary. They ensure peace and order within these enclosed spaces to make every inmate have a peaceful and good life.
Parole officers assist individuals recently released from prison in reintegrating into their communities. Visiting parolees regularly, performing home inspections, and investigating potential violations are all part of a parole officer’s duties. They usually help people regain their lives back after service. They also create reports on a parolee’s progress after or before release. They share the same similar tasks with probation officers who work with people sentenced to probation and not serving jail time.
One leadership and executive job in corrections is the program director. These leaders design counseling programs, rehabilitation programs, and continuing education programs for inmates and collect enrollment data. They manage all resources coming in to ensure that every inmate is fed, cared for, and given good health. Program directors carry heavy responsibilities for how these facilities should be.
Corrections Case Manager
Corrections case managers, also known as treatment specialists, help reintegrate inmates into their communities by providing or facilitating access to various social services. Adept in the correctional system, they handle inmates and help them with therapies and solutions to the issues or challenges they face inside the facilities.
Prison wardens manage adult and juvenile correctional facilities. Hiring and supervising prison staff is part of this responsibility, as well as adhering to government, state, and facility laws, rules, policies, and regulations. Their daily role usually includes operational activities like creating reports, obtaining data, and analyzing them to develop good solutions and strategies for possible conflicts.
A correctional nurse is a medical professional who treats inmates in prisons. A routine medical procedure, like administering medication, or an emergency procedure, like treating an injury, can fall under this category. You can graduate with a nursing certificate and complement it with a degree in corrections to land this role. A variation of this position is that of a correctional treatment specialist. Otherwise, you may acquire training and work experience to qualify for this job.
Steps for Becoming a Correction Officer
A bachelor’s degree is not required for all corrections officer positions, especially in local government facilities. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree is beneficial if a community corrections officer aspires to work for the federal government or in advanced positions. Check out the following steps in becoming a correctional officer if you aim to become one.
Acquire Education in the Field
Depending on the position, only a high school diploma may be required for some correctional officer opportunities. But please note that criminal justice-related degrees and certificates may provide an edge in gaining higher salaries and managerial positions, including managing other correctional officers. After all, an online corrections degree will increase your key skill sets, such as maintaining order or interacting directly with criminal justice professionals.
In addition to ensuring the safety of inmates in their care, an online bachelor’s degree that focuses on corrections can also enable individuals to lead the development of new policies and regulations that facilitate prisoner rehabilitation.
Programs for correctional officers cover topics such as criminal justice, criminal procedures, policy analysis, basic ethics, and criminal policies. With these foundational to advanced courses, you become a more qualified correctional officer ready to take on heavier roles.
Go on Training
Training academies are popular ways to increase the chances of getting hired as a correctional officer. All over the US, you can find many states offering training programs like Peace Officer Standards and Training programs. You need to inquire in your city or state if you want to join the program. These courses usually last several months and cover self-defense, laws, criminal justice, and safety training. This is a valuable resource to prepare for a correctional officer career.
Finally, like any other job out there, it’s crucial to gain work experience. Correctional officers are generally trained through a local police academy or within the prison system, even if they don’t need prior experience. The salaries and responsibilities of more experienced officers tend to be higher.
After completing academy training, corrections officers benefit greatly from real-world experience. Aside from the corrections-related skills you’ll earn, you can improve on your soft skills that are in demand among employers everywhere.
For instance, you can decide better, manage time more effectively, and learn to negotiate, communicate, and collaborate with others. Through on-the-job training, future correctional officers better understand how their profession works and how to perform at their best.
Skills Needed for Corrections Specialists
Good communication skills are necessary in almost all work settings. Besides communicating effectively with colleagues, correctional officers must communicate well with the inmates and people they monitor daily. For inmates to pay attention to and respect them, they should learn effective communication styles that come with authority and respect. To avoid confusion or misbehavior, they should give clear instructions and commands.
In jail, many instances warrant decisions urgently. Successful correctional officers need to take action rapidly, handle uncertainty, process information quickly, and weigh evidence with intuition.
Correctional professionals should be committed to their craft and work. The more committed you are to your role, the more respect you will earn among your team and instill the same energy in your colleagues to be leaders. Inmates will respect and honor your commitment as they witness how serious you are with your roles.
Analytical skills are necessary for corrections officers as they go through data and information. To take appropriate action, they need to use these skills to form meaningful conclusions and develop effective strategies and solutions. Through effective resolutions, problems can be prevented from happening repetitively.
Correctional officers must have good negotiation skills to solve or prevent possible inmate conflicts. Good negotiation skills require more empathy, active listening, and communication skills. When negotiating with an inmate, it is important to demonstrate empathy and understanding while enforcing the rules firmly.
Correctional officers must have mindset that adapts to trends, changes, and new challenges in the field. You should be slow to judgment and more open to different views and perspectives. After all, correctional facilities usually involve people from all walks of life.
Frequently, correctional officers need to face large stresses at work. And these levels of stress can affect a person’s ability to function. Stress management skills are essential for correctional officers to focus more on the positive side and separate personal and professional lives.
Restraining inmates is a physically demanding aspect of the job of a correctional officer. Some inmates are taller and bigger than you, and lacking physical strength may be harder for you to manage or restrict them during fights or conflicts. Building your stamina and strength when you enter the corrections industry is important.
Inmates may suddenly become chaotic, dangerous, or unstable, putting correctional officers in challenging situations. Officers must act quickly in these scenarios to keep everyone safe and resolve the issue. Responsiveness is a great talent that can mediate such issues from escalating.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is required when taking an online Bachelor of Corrections?
The corrections field doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, but it can help you succeed and achieve your dream job. Most online Bachelor’s in Corrections programs require four years to complete, but this will depend on your chosen online program. Some online programs are accelerated and can honor transfer credits.
Some common requirements to study an online bachelor’s n corrections are your high school diploma, ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and an essay. Also, you will be asked to fulfill about 120 credits and more, covering core courses in corrections and criminal justice-related topics.
Is it hard to find a job in the Corrections field?
There are many effective ways to find a job in the corrections field. First, you must meet the minimum eligibility requirements to become a juvenile corrections officer. Depending on the state or city, they come with eligibility requirements.
For instance, you should be physically fit for the job, know how to use a gun, and be cleared from criminal records. A written test, a medical exam, and a psychological test are also required, as well as a drug test.
Is an online Bachelor’s in Corrections a good degree?
As prison populations grow, and state budgets remain tight, the criminal justice sector is looking for professionals adept in matters of juvenile cases and corrections. There is, in fact, an increasing demand for well-educated experts focused on rehabilitating and treating offenders.
Working in Corrections Case Management may be an excellent opportunity for you if you are looking for a well-paying job that allows you to help others while earning a decent living. In addition to helping to rehabilitate convicted criminals by locating employment and assisting them with sustaining themselves, case managers in corrections contribute to the community by assisting with these tasks.
Corrections case manager jobs are ideal for those who love helping people change their lives for the better and want to make the world a better place. Therefore, case management in corrections is a rewarding career option that many should consider, although most people gravitate toward traditional law enforcement roles.
Key Points to Ponder
- A degree in Corrections enables students to study complex and important criminal justice and correctional issues.
- Most online Bachelor’s In Corrections programs require four years of study with a 120-credit requirement. Accelerated programs are available for a shorter time to completion.
- Even though corrections officers can take on the role without a college degree, earning an undergraduate qualifies them better for the job and presents them with opportunities for higher-level positions.
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