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Certificate in Corrections: Program Overview

Those interested in establishing a career in corrections can pursue certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Discover information about the programs, requirements, salary, and job outlook.

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Essential Information

Many schools offer undergraduate certificate programs in corrections that train students to work in public or private corrections facilities. Students take classes related to the structure of the corrections system, human behavior, inmate treatment standards and juvenile corrections facilities. On the other hand, graduate certificate programs are usually designed for people already working in the field. Therefore, these programs include coursework focusing more on leadership, organizational management and administration practices in corrections; an internship may also be included.

Prerequisites for the undergraduate program include a high school diploma or GED and a background check, while graduate programs mandate a bachelor's degree. Regardless of the program chosen, prospective students should verify that it meets the training standards of the agency at which they wish to work.


Undergraduate Certificate Program in Corrections

This program prepares individuals for entry-level employment. Programs might focus on a specific area of the field, such as juvenile corrections, and can be finished in one year. Students acquire fundamental knowledge of corrections operations and law enforcement through courses like psychology, law and criminal justice. They may also learn how to help inmates understand and deal with change, manage difficult behavior and make effective decisions. Core course topics can include:

  • Security practices
  • Parole and probation
  • Legalities in corrections
  • Juvenile justice practices
  • Criminal justice operations
  • Inmate treatment procedures

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  • Corrections Admin
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  • Securities Services Mgmt
  • Security and Theft Prevention Services

Graduate Certificate Program in Corrections

These programs prepare graduates of bachelor's degree programs for work in the fields of social work, criminal justice or public administration, and usually take less than one year to complete. Programs usually focus on developing a student's leadership skills as well as his or her knowledge of administrative policies and practices within a correctional institution. Students may also learn how to handle decisions related to inmates from different ethnic backgrounds. Specific course topics might include:

  • Leadership in criminal justice
  • Administration practice and theory
  • Organization management
  • Criminal justice policy analysis
  • Sentencing and punishment procedures
  • Multicultural inmate populations

Popular Career Options

Those who obtain undergraduate certificates can pursue careers in corrections. They might work in juvenile detention centers or adult correctional facilities. Some jobs require applicants to pass a civil service or physical ability exam before receiving a job offer. Some positions within the corrections field include:

  • Corrections officer
  • Jailer
  • Residential counselor
  • Police and detective supervisor
  • Detention specialist

Upon completion of a graduate certificate program, individuals could pursue a new career or seek advancement, such as a captain, lieutenant or supervisor position, within a correctional facility.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for correctional officers and bailiffs was $40,580 in 2015, while correctional supervisors earned a median wage of $59,720. The BLS anticipated slower-than-average job growth of four percent for correctional officers and bailiffs and three percent for supervisors for the 2014-2024 decade.

Continuing Education Information

Individuals who earn an undergraduate certificate in corrections might be able to transfer applicable coursework to associate or bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice studies.

Additionally, with some experience, corrections officers could also advance their careers by completing a graduate certificate program in corrections leadership or management. A student with a graduate certificate in corrections could also pursue a master's degree in criminal justice studies, administrative science or a related field. Additionally, a doctoral degree could expand employment options to include postgraduate teaching positions.

Individuals wanting to work in corrections can earn an undergraduate Certificate in Corrections with coursework providing knowledge in corrections operations and law enforcement. Those who already are in the field can advance with a graduate certificate program which focuses more on the leadership aspect of corrections.

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