While corrections officers don't need college degrees, correction program officers do. Program officers are professionals who provide treatment or counseling to inmates. The criminal justice programs at various schools in Massachusetts most often provide corrections instruction at the associate, bachelor's and master's level. Relevant certificate programs and degree minors are also available. These programs could give students the background for corrections employment as either officers or program officers, depending on the degree they pursue. Overviews of the ten largest schools with programs are provided below, followed by a table that shows tuition and school information.
Bristol Community College
Students in Fall River may want to look into Bristol Community College. The school offers a criminal justice associate degree program that can help prepare students for a career in corrections. Students are required to take courses like criminology, juvenile offenders, criminal law and community relations. They must complete between 61 and 63 credits to obtain this associate degree.
Bunker Hill Community College
One of the schools in Boston that prospective corrections students may want to consider is Bunker Hill Community College. The school offers an associate degree program that is designed to prepare students for entry-level work in the criminal justice or corrections fields. The curriculum includes courses on evidence and court procedure, criminal justice management and criminology.
Massachusetts Bay Community College
Located in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts Bay Community College is a school that may interest aspiring corrections professionals. The school offers an associate degree program in criminal justice that can help train students for work as correctional officers or law enforcement officials. The curriculum includes classes that cover corrections, abnormal psychology, criminal investigations and police management.
Massasoit Community College
Massasoit Community College operates out of Brockton. The school offers an associate degree program in criminal justice that includes both evening and day courses. Students focus on juvenile justice, corrections, criminal procedures and community relations. Additionally, this program provides opportunities for students to complete a capstone course and includes field placement.
Merrimack College is located in North Andover. This school offers a criminology program that may help students prepare for corrections work. Courses offered include criminal justice and mental health, juvenile delinquency, hate crimes and the sociology of incarceration. This bachelor's degree program also requires students to complete a criminology internship. Merrimack College offers a criminology minor as well.
Mount Wachusett Community College
Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner offers an associate degree program in criminal justice with a concentration in corrections. Students are required to complete courses like counseling and rehabilitation, criminal procedure, technical writing and probation. Students also take a seminar in criminal justice to complete their degree requirements.
Although students will not find a dedicated corrections program at the Quincy campus of Quincy College, they will find an associate degree program in criminal justice that offers a concentration in law enforcement along with a transfer concentration. The curriculum in both concentrations includes courses in criminology, juvenile delinquency and conflict resolution. This degree program provides the background that can help students obtain entry-level work in the corrections field and is beneficial for continued studies in criminal justice or corrections at the university level.
Salem State University
Salem State University, located in Salem, offers training for prospective corrections professionals as well. Students who have an interest in ultimately managing a correctional facility may want to take advantage of the school's bachelor's degree program in criminal justice. Students can select an administration concentration that is designed for aspiring law enforcement managers. This program is focused on the organizational makeup of a law enforcement agency and how it should be managed.
This school also offers a certificate program in correctional administration. Although this is not a degree program, students will find valuable information through courses like the correctional institution, administration of criminal justice and community corrections. This program requires students to complete six classes to obtain the certificate. Salem State University also offers a minor in criminal justice.
Suffolk University in Boston offers undergraduate training in corrections and criminal justice through its sociology department. Interested students can pursue a bachelor's degree in sociology with a crime and justice concentration. The program focuses on juvenile and adult justice, corrections and punishment, criminal justice and victim advocacy.
Suffolk University also offers a master's degree in crime and justice studies that gives students the choice of a victim advocacy or a youth, crime and justice specialization. This program can be combined with a graduate degree program in mental health counseling, law or public administration.
University of Massachusetts - Lowell
The Lowell campus of the University of Massachusetts provides a bachelor's degree program in criminal justice that offers a concentration in corrections. This concentration provides instruction on topics like community corrections, treatment of offenders and incarceration. Students are also required to complete a practicum or fieldwork to obtain this degree.
This school also offers a master's degree in criminal justice and criminology that prepares students for positions in education, research and management. All courses in this program can be completed onsite or online. A master's thesis is optional. Some students may be eligible to complete the requirements for their bachelor's and master's degrees in a 5-year, accelerated program.
Aspiring corrections officers in Massachusetts must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and pass a background check. These individuals must be eligible to carry a firearm and pass a civil service exam. After completing the exam, applicants sign the state's certification list, which is used to by the department to contact applicants for interviews. Those hired by the department then attend a 10-week training program called Basic Training Academy before beginning work as entry-level corrections officers.
In contrast, correction program officers must have bachelor's or master's degrees in counseling, law enforcement, sociology or related fields. They also must pass background checks and be eligible to carry a weapon.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Corrections Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Bristol Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Criminal Justice|| $4,776 undergraduate in-state;
$9,720 undergraduate out-of-state*
|Bunker Hill Community College||2-year, public; large city||Associate in Science in Criminal Justice|| $4,464 undergraduate in-state;
$9,408 undergraduate out-of-state*
|Massachusetts Bay Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Criminal Justice|| $5,088 undergraduate in-state;
$10,032 undergraduate out-of-state*
|Massasoit Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Criminal Justice|| $4,824 undergraduate in-state;
$9,768 undergraduate out-of-state*
|Merrimack College||4-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb||Bachelor's degree in Criminology||$41,760 undergraduate*|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate in Science in Criminal Justice - Corrections Concentration|| $5,548 undergraduate in-state;
$10,468 undergraduate out-of-state*
|Quincy College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Criminal Justice||$6,518 undergraduate*|
|Salem State University||4-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice;
Certificate of Competency in Correctional Administration
| $10,642 undergraduate in-state;
$17,082 undergraduate out-of-state*
|Suffolk University||4-year, private, not-for-profit; large city|| Bachelor's degree in Sociology - Crime and Justice Concentration,
Master of Science in Crime and Justice Studies
| $38,566 undergraduate;
|University of Massachusetts - Lowell||4-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology - Corrections Concentration,
Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology
| $15,180 undergraduate in-state;
$32,827 undergraduate out-of-state;
$15,060 graduate in-state;
$26,840 graduate out-of-state*
Source: *NCES College Navigator