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Online Courses and Classes for Correctional Officers

Courses for aspiring correctional officers are offered in online, hybrid and on-campus formats and prepare students to earn a corrections degree and pursue a career as a probation or corrections officer. Common course topics include criminal behavior, crime prevention, criminal law and statistics in criminal law.

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Online Correctional Officer Courses

Below is a sample of some of the online courses commonly found in corrections and criminal justice programs.

  • Criminology Course: This course starts out with a discussion on the definition of crime and goes on to focus on different aspects of crime, including its causes and the methods used for determining the characteristics and behavior of criminals. Students learn about the behavioral and social issues involved in the study of crime.
  • Criminal Justice Course: This course introduces students to many parts of the criminal justice system, the sub-systems and how they interact. The focus is on the operation and structure of America's court system, along with different legal concepts. Criminology is a prerequisite for this course.
  • Juvenile Justice Course: Students are introduced to the juvenile justice system, the nature of juvenile delinquency and the procedures and processes used by the juvenile court system. The role the correctional officer plays within law enforcement is emphasized, along with probation, juvenile correctional schools and aftercare treatment.
  • Detecting and Preventing Suicide in Jails Course: This course teaches students how corrections officers can detect and understand offenders or prisoners exhibiting suicidal behaviors and mental disease. Students learn to develop a prevention program that includes intake training, safe and appropriate housing, staff interaction, frequent and regular observation and communication between inmates and staff.
  • Inmate Privileges and Rights Course: In this class, aspiring correction officers study inmate rights from a legal perspective. Topics of study include constitutional rights, correctional law and inmates' responsibilities and rights. This course is required for students interested in becoming certified as county corrections officers.
  • Criminal Analysis Course: Students are introduced to the methods and concepts of criminal analysis as they're used by law enforcement agencies. Students learn how to create an effective crime analysis unit and develop methods for collecting and analyzing crime data.
  • Introduction to Constitutional Law Course: This course introduces students to the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, the three branches of the U.S. federal government and landmark Supreme Court case law, including their relationship to both constitutional and criminal law. Prospective correctional officers may also study the rights of the individual, due process and numerous other topics of constitutional law.
  • Hostage Negotiations Course: Students in this class will explore the study and practice of hostage negotiations. Those enrolled will learn about crisis team structure, psychology of negotiations, dealing with the media and negotiator stress.
  • Correctional Leadership Course: This class introduces concepts regarding management in the correctional system. Students will learn how to lead in a time when the public demands more accountability from correctional management.

Program Information

Courses in corrections are generally offered as part of certificate, associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in criminal justice or corrections. Online correctional officer courses offer students the convenience and flexibility of completing a degree program at their own pace. Depending on the school, some aspects of the courses may contain hands-on training, such as physical skills, so programs may not be fully online. Students may also be required to complete a first-aid course, EMT or emergency response program. Graduates can find employment opportunities working as corrections officers, law enforcement agents, private detectives, probation officers and security guards.

Online options for those interested in classes for correctional officers are available in certificate programs and degree programs up to the master's level. Topics of study include criminal analysis, leadership, inmate rights and hostage negotiations, and some programs may have in-person components.

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