Corrections Officer Certificate and Certification Program Info

Corrections officers supervise incarcerated individuals in detention facilities, enforcing rules and maintaining security. Certificate programs for corrections officers are generally available through 2-year community colleges and often require a commitment of one academic year, although shorter, more intensive programs are also available.

Essential Information

Corrections officer certificate programs comprise both classroom learning and hands-on practice in labs. Prospective corrections officers undertake physical training, as well as study correctional theories and applications. Students learn about the intake and release processes, sentencing policies, inmate control procedures, probation, and parole. Some programs also incorporate on-the-job training in correctional institutions.

  • Program Levels for Corrections Officers: Certificate programs are available.
  • Prerequisites: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, possess a state-issued driver's license, and be able to pass a criminal background check. A high school diploma or the equivalent is required, and candidates may be asked to pass a basic abilities test. Some programs stipulate minimum age requirements.

Certificate for Corrections Officers Coursework

Students in corrections officer certificate programs develop problem solving and critical thinking abilities. Courses in sociology, cultural diversity, and interpersonal relations are incorporated into the curriculum, along with classes covering:

  • Criminal justice
  • Corrections facilities and operations
  • Federal, state and local government
  • Legal issues in corrections
  • Defensive tactics, including firearms
  • Emergency preparation
  • Report writing for corrections

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Corrections officers find employment in both public and private detention centers, including prisons, juvenile correctional facilities and county jails. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), corrections officer employment was projected to increase 5% from 2012-2022, a percentage indicating slower-than-average growth. The median annual income for jailers and corrections officers was $39,780 as of May 2014, as reported by the BLS.

Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information

Corrections officers may apply to the American Correctional Association (ACA) in order to obtain professional certification. In order to become a Certified Corrections Officer (CCO), candidates must have a high school or GED diploma and one year of job experience and pass a certification exam. Certified Corrections Supervisor and Certified Corrections Manager credentials require an associate's degree, and the Certified Corrections Executive designation necessitates a bachelor's degree; however, work experience may be substituted in place of the degree requirements. Certification must be renewed every three years and requires completion of continuing education hours. Corrections officers seeking to work in the federal prison system must have a bachelor's degree.

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