Corrections Administration Education and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a corrections administrator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and additional training to find out if this is the career for you.

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Depending on the agency or employer, you can become a prison or corrections administrator with a bachelor's or master's degree in an appropriate field. You'll also be required to meet the state and federal regulations for corrections officers. You must also have some years of experience of correctional experience.

Essential Information

Individuals who work in corrections administration oversee every aspect of prison operations. They are responsible for keeping both inmates and correctional staff safe while implementing policies and procedures. Administrative duties such as budgeting, hiring, and supervising facility maintenance and operations are part of the job as well. Most administrators in the corrections system have bachelor's or master's degrees in corrections administration, public safety, criminology or a related field. Individuals who work in correctional facilities also can earn certificates in various areas of study, such as leadership or personnel administration.

Required Education Bachelor's or master's degrees in corrections administration or relevant field
Other Requirements Meet state and federal training requirements for corrections officers
Projected Job Growth 4% from 2014-2024*
Median Salary $59,720 (2015)*

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Education

Students seeking a career in corrections administration need a bachelor's or master's degree in criminology, public safety, corrections administration or a related field. A master's degree usually provides more opportunity for advancement. Coursework may include subjects such as the history of corrections, public safety, law enforcement, criminology, forensic sciences, probation, parole and social work.

Individuals seeking a master's degree in corrections administration will study subjects such as prison management, conflict resolution, business finance and accounting.

There are also certificate programs available for those who are working in correctional facilities. These programs cover topics such as criminal justice, leadership, behavioral administration or personnel administration.

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Career Information

Corrections administrators oversee every aspect of day-to-day prison operations, including finance, operations, logistics, employment, security, training and other areas. They ensure facilities remain staffed, safe, secure and functional, in the face of rising inmate populations and shrinking budgets. Administrators review the effectiveness of policies and regulations, and ensure procedures are followed. They may also directly or indirectly supervise inmates.

To be considered for jobs in correctional administration, applicants must possess a degree from an accredited university and several years of correctional experience. Those working as parole officers, correctional officers, probation officers, private security personnel or members of the military police usually have the experience needed to transfer into corrections administration following further education. Another advancement route for correctional officers is to work their way to supervisory and administration positions, while continuing their education.

The median annual salary for first-line supervisors of correctional officers was $59,720 as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projected that jobs for first-line supervisors of correctional officers would increase by 4% during the 2014-2024 decade.

Corrections administrators oversee all operations of a correctional facility. Depending on the facility, in addition to correctional experience, you'll need to hold a bachelor's or master's degree in an applicable area. Employment opportunities are projected to grow at a bit slower rate than the national average for all occupations.

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