Schools for Aspiring Prison Guards: How to Choose

Certificate and associate degrees in corrections, as well as bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice are available at many 2 and 4-year schools. Additional hands-on training is completed through academies or internships offered through colleges and universities.

The focus of programs designed for aspiring prison guards vary from school to school. Some courses may focus on academic theories of corrections communication and management, while others specifically with weapons training, self-defense and emergency medical training.

10 Schools with Prison Guard Programs

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Offered Tuition (2016-2017)*
Delaware State University Dover, DE 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,532 in-state, $16,138 out-of-state
Youngstown State University Youngstown, OH 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $8,087 in-state, $14,087 out-of-state
Seminole State College of Florida Sanford, FL 4-year, Public Certificate $2,800 in-state, $8,020 out-of-state
State University of New York - Canton Canton, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,470 in-state, $16,320 out-of-state
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor $10,976 in-state, $17,640 out-of-state
Grand Rapids Community College Grand Rapids, MI 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $111/credit, in-state, $353/credit out-of-state
Kellogg Community College Battle Creek, MI 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $103.50/credit in-state, $240/credit out-of-state
Community College of Denver Denver, CO 2-year, Public Associate's $211.90 in-state\credit, $561.65/credit out-of-state
San Bernardino Valley College San Bernardino, CA 2-year, Public Certificate $46/unit in-state, $257/unit out-of-state
Lehigh Carbon Community College Schnecksville, PA 2-year, Public Associate's $1,500 in- district, $4,500 out-of-state

Sources: School websites

School Selection Criteria

Prison guards must be over 18, 21 in some cases, and free of any felony charges, firearms digressions or narcotics convictions. Students interested in corrections and criminal justice schools should consider the following when making a choice:

  • Certificate programs typically lack internships; practical experiences may be gained from bachelor's or associate's degree programs.
  • Bachelor's degree programs should be considered if a goal is to advance into administrative positions within prisons and in probation offices.
  • Corrections officers must be certified, and students should make sure any program they are considering meets their state's standards.

Certificate for Prison Guards

Certificate programs for prison guards are available as corrections programs and may result in independent certification granted by the school or college.

Associate Degree for Prison Guards

Associate degree programs for prison guards may be available as programs in corrections or criminal justice and typically completed in two years. The completion of an internship could also be required.

Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice

Bachelor's degree programs are typically not necessary in order to attain employment as a prison guard, but corrections tracks are offered within select criminal justice degree programs. Prior to completion of the program, students typically complete an internship to gain hands-on training in their area of expertise.

For those aspiring to become prison guards, programs are available at the certificate, associate and bachelor levels, often in criminal justice or corrections. Internships and hands-on, practical experiences are usually a part of all programs.

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