Individuals interested in overseeing the day-to-day operations of prisons or detention centers may want to consider careers in correctional facility administration. Find information about entry-level requirements here, as well as how much you can earn as a supervisor of correctional officers.
Employees who work in the field of correctional facility administration use their knowledge of public security, personnel management and human behavior to ensure prisons run smoothly. As a correctional facility administrator, you may be responsible for supervising correctional officers or developing recreational and educational programs designed to reduce recidivism. You might enact policies and procedures to ensure inmates are treated properly. You could also be responsible for managing a facility's finances.
If you work in correctional facility administration, you might hold a position as a corrections sergeant or lieutenant, corrections program administrator, recreation program supervisor or prison warden. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2012, the majority of correctional officers worked in local, state and federal facilities.
The BLS reported in May 2013 that first-line supervisors of correctional officers earned a mean annual salary of $61,540. As reported by the BLS, job openings for supervisors were expected to increase by a slower-than-average rate of 4% nationwide from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov).
You can begin your career as a correctional facility administrator by working as a correctional officer. To qualify for one of these positions, you must hold a high school diploma or GED, according to the BLS. You could also need firearms and self-defense training; however, this might be provided by the corrections facility that hires you. If you want to work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, you'll need a bachelor's degree and related work experience.
To advance to an administrative position as a corrections sergeant, lieutenant or recreation program supervisor, you might need an associate's or bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Undergraduate programs, such as those leading to a Bachelor of Science in Corrections Administration and Management, may also be available online. Coursework found in 2-year and 4-year degree programs may cover topics in criminal behavior, conflict mediation, civil liberties and resource allocation. An internship or capstone project could also be required.
Depending on your area of interest, you might also consider a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a bachelor's degree in criminology. In combination with experience, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) can prepare you for a job in correctional facility administration.
To work in correctional facility administration, you'll need exceptional problem-solving and people skills, including the ability to resolve conflicts. You should also be able to handle high levels of stress.