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Juvenile Corrections Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

There are no formal degree requirements for corrections officers except for those who plan to work in the federal prison system. However, many state agencies now prefer juvenile corrections officers to have some college training. Relevant programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Individuals who are interested in juvenile corrections can earn a certificate or an associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in criminal justice or a closely related field. These programs are available at two-year colleges and four-year universities.

10 Juvenile Corrections Schools

These schools offer certificates, associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees in juvenile justice or corrections.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered In-state Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
Central Oregon Community College Bend, OR 2-year, public 2 year Certificate $4,599
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, primarily associate's, public Associate's $2,805
Delta College University Center, MI 2-year, public Certificate, Associate's $5,270
Gannon University Erie, PA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's** $29,258
Lincoln Trail College Robinson, IL 2-year, public Associate's $9,079
Missouri Southern State University Joplin, MO 4-year, public Bachelor's $5,523
National University La Jolla, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $10,962
Oakland University Rochester Hills, MI 4-year, public Bachelor's $11,344
Prairie View A&M University Prairie View, TX 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,745 (undergraduate)
$6,915 (graduate)
Chemeketa Community College Salem, OR 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $4,230

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School's website

College Selection Criteria

When choosing between juvenile corrections-related programs, here are some important things to consider:

  • Prospective students may want to find out if the school has partnerships with key organizations in the criminal justice system, such as the local police station or the Department of Homeland Security, which can lead to internships or networking opportunities.
  • It can be helpful to find out about the school's lab facilities, in order to ensure that students gain experience with industry-standard criminal analysis technologies.
  • Working students or those with other time commitments may want to look for schools that offer coursework online.
  • When considering certificate programs, it can be helpful to find out if credits can be applied to higher level degree programs in the future. Experienced law enforcement officers may also want to find out if they can get credits based on their previous work in the field.

Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Within undergraduate programs in juvenile corrections, students get a basic introduction to the field. In addition to courses in the basics of criminology and the U.S. justice systems, students may also take juvenile-specific courses in subjects such as developmental psychology and youth addictions. Certificate programs typically take one year to complete.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs in criminal justice contain many of the same basic courses as certificate programs. However, they also include broader studies in law enforcement and criminal investigations, as well as general education requirements. In total, these programs take two years of full-time study to complete.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

At the bachelor's degree level, students can find schools where juvenile corrections is available as a major, as well as schools in which the topic is offered as a concentration within a broader criminal justice program. In addition to general education coursework and the introductory classes provided in associate's degree programs, students in bachelor's degree programs can take more advanced electives in topics such as school-based interventions and juvenile sex offenders. A research course may also be required.

Master's Degree Programs

In master's degree programs, students take more advanced courses in the theoretical and practical aspects of juvenile delinquency and criminal justice. Some programs offer a thesis track for students, but non-thesis options are also available. Depending on the school, master's degree programs can take one or two years to complete.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Within PhD Juvenile Justice programs, students conduct empirical investigations in order to advance knowledge in the field. They also take graduate-level elective courses, which may be tailored toward their area of interest and support their research. Prior to graduation, students must submit a final dissertation.

Juvenile corrections officers are required to have at least an associate's degree in some states or a bachelor's. Many public colleges and community colleges offer programs that lead to certification or a degree in juvenile corrections or criminal justice.

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