Corrections officer certificate programs generally take 1 year or less to complete and comprise of 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. There are a few prerequisites including a high school diploma, criminal background check, U.S. citizen status, and a driver's license.
Certificate for Corrections Officers Coursework
Applicants to corrections officer certificate programs may need to pass a basic abilities test prior to admittance. Some certificate programs stipulate minimum age requirements.
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
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 4% from 2014-2024, a percentage indicating slower-than-average growth. The median annual income for jailers and corrections officers was $40,530 as of May 2015, 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.
Within 1 year or less, students can earn a certificate and start a career as a corrections officer. Earning professional certification from the ACA may help your career prospects, as you enter a job field growing at 4% over the next decade, which is slower than the national average.