Correction Officer Colleges and Course Requirements

See what education and training you'll need to become a corrections officer, working in a prison or jail. Find out about prerequisites for employment, including age requirements and physical fitness standards. Schools offering Corrections degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

A corrections officer keeps control of inmates in local, state or federal correctional facilities. Regardless of the facility, you will most likely complete a training academy to learn the basic protocols of the job. You can also prepare to become a corrections officer by taking college courses in criminal justice and law enforcement principles.

Program Options Correctional Intervention Strategies Certificate, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice: Corrections/Pre-Law Specialization, Bachelor of Science in Corrections and Juvenile Justice, Master of Science in Adult, Juvenile and Community Corrections
Courses Offenders in the community, offender rehabilitation strategy, perspectives on crime and delinquency, female offenders, diversity in corrections, corrections and juvenile justice administration, illicit offender networks, corrections and crime mythology
Training New federal corrections officers must complete at least 200 hours of formal training within first 12 months of hire and an additional 120 hours of specialized training in a federal prison training center

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Responsibilities of a Correction Officer?

As a correction officer, you would escort prisoners within the grounds, as well as to and from court proceedings. Other tasks you might perform include writing reports on prisoner conduct, processing prisoners, managing group activities and keeping order. The position can be stressful and sometimes dangerous. Because inmates require nonstop supervision, your schedule may include night and weekend shifts.

What Kind of Training Do I Need?

You can expect to find on-the-job training for many correction officer positions. Some training programs are state-approved or mandated and offer college credit. In some cases, the state approves coursework, which usually includes physical control techniques, firearms, CPR and first aid. You will find certificate, associate's, bachelor's and graduate degree programs in corrections. College coursework may help you be more competitive in the job market, and some positions, such as those in the federal government, require bachelor's degrees.

What Could I Learn?

Many programs cover corrections as a concentration within a criminal justice major. For an associate's degree program, you could learn about the law and the role of correctional institutions in the criminal justice system. Your coursework may also include instruction on working with juveniles.

In a bachelor's degree program, you can explore the role of the criminal justice system in society. At the bachelor's and master's level, you may find courses in leadership, ethics, and effect of crime on victims. At the master's level, you could have the opportunity to focus on specialized corrections issues.

What Are the Prerequisites?

Some programs require a minimum age of 18, while others require candidates to be 21 years or older. You would have to pass a drug test, a psychological exam and a physical fitness exam. Some states, such as Texas, will exclude you if you have a dishonorable discharge from the military. Some training programs require you possess a handgun license and a drivers' license. A criminal conviction may exclude you from gaining acceptance to programs. Each jurisdiction sets its own rules regarding qualifications for aspiring correction officers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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