An associate's degree program in corrections is a certificate level program which provides general instruction to students interested in becoming probation officers or parole officers. Education courses in areas such as psychology, human relations and interpersonal communication provide instruction on how to interact with individuals who have been recently placed on probation.
An internship may also be offered during the last semester of enrollment. This type of program can be completed in two years and typically results in an Associate of Science degree. Before applying for work, graduates are usually required to complete a state or federal government training program. Online courses and programs are available. A high school diploma or its equivalent is mandated for entry into the program.
Associate Degree in Corrections
Classes at the associate's degree level introduce topics that are relevant to many different careers in the field of corrections. Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor to choose only those electives specific to the responsibilities of a probation officer. Some possible courses include:
- Report writing
- Techniques of interviewing
- Criminal justice supervision
- Parole and probation
- Interpersonal communication
- Human relations
Popular Career Options
An important distinction should be made about probation officers and parole officers. A probation officer is responsible for monitoring individuals who have been recently placed on probation instead of being sent to jail. Meanwhile, a parole officer works with individuals who have been recently released from jail. An associate's degree program in corrections provides general instruction in both fields.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The employment of probation officers and other correctional treatment specialists was expected to increase at 4% from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the annual median salary of probation officers and correctional treatment officers was $49,360 in 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Students who wish to continue their education may choose to enroll in a bachelor's degree program in criminal justice. A bachelor's degree program in criminal justice provides students with more background on the U.S. court system, U.S. laws, offender psychology and other related subjects. Completion of the degree requires an additional two years of full-time study.
Although the job growth rate is slower than the national average, individuals interested in becoming a probation officer or parole officers can enroll in an associate's degree program in corrections. In consultation with an advisor, they can ensure the focus of their coursework is specific to their career choice.