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Texas Corrections Officers Degree Program Overviews

There are 18 colleges and universities within Texas that have corrections courses, certificate or degree programs. Read an overview of the ten largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Various 2- and 4-year public colleges and universities in Texas offer training in corrections. Studies are offered through undergraduate certificate, associate and bachelor's degree programs. Besides corrections, major areas of concentration are available in criminal justice, law enforcement and police science. Some programs may be offered in an online format.


Amarillo College

Located in Amarillo, this college has three programs in criminal justice, including an associate degree program in criminal justice, an associate in applied science degree program in criminal justice law enforcement and a certificate program in criminal justice law enforcement. Both associate degree programs require students to complete at least one class in correctional systems and practices, and this class covers such topics as institutional operations, the roles of correctional officers, prisoner rehabilitation and alternatives to institutionalization. The two criminal justice law enforcement programs are designed more so for individuals becoming police officers, but some police officers do become correctional officers, so the academic training may still prove valid.

Austin Community College District

This community college district has multiple campuses, with a main campus located in Austin. An associate degree program in criminal justice-corrections is available. Required courses include court systems and practices, juvenile justice system, community corrections resources, parole procedures and criminal justice ethics. To complete the degree program, students must satisfy the capstone course requirements, which include passing a class on correctional systems and practices.

Blinn College

There are two campuses associated with this college that offer programs related to the corrections field, and those campuses are located in Brenham and Bryan. As of 2016, the college offered two associate degree programs in criminal justice, one associate degree program in law enforcement and a certificate program in corrections. Both criminal justice associate degree programs include coursework in correctional systems and practices, as does the corrections certificate program. To complete the certificate program, students must participate in a criminal justice internship. Students must have completed at least 12 unit hours of criminal justice studies and be no younger than 20 years old to be eligible for internships.

Del Mar College

The Corpus Christi campus provides an associate degree program in criminal justice and an associate degree program in law enforcement. The degree program in criminal justice has a capstone class in correctional systems and practices, but no other classes directly in corrections. Although the law enforcement degree program provides training in many related areas, there are no corrections courses required for this degree program. Students can complete the criminal justice degree program mostly online, according to the curriculum guidelines, but the law enforcement degree program requires active participation.

McLennan Community College

Located in Waco, this community college offers three associate degree programs related to criminal justice, including one program specifically in corrections. There is also a corrections certificate program at this campus. The regular criminal justice associate degree program only requires students to take one course in corrections systems and practices. Comparatively, the associate degree program in criminal justice-corrections covers such topics as legal aspects of corrections and corrections community resources. The certificate program in corrections requires students to complete 33 unit hours of study, which usually takes about one year. Certificates are also available in law enforcement and forensic science.

San Antonio College

In the city of San Antonio, this college has three related associate degree programs in such areas as criminal justice, correctional science and law enforcement. The criminal justice degree program only has one required course in correctional systems and practices, and in the law enforcement degree program, this course is considered an elective. The correctional science degree program includes such courses as correctional administration, community resources for corrections facilities and the legal aspects of corrections. Available elective courses include information about the juvenile justice system, jail operations and criminal investigation procedures. Students in the correctional science degree program will be required to complete a workforce connection course, which is similar to an internship.

Stephen F. Austin State University

Located in Nacogdoches, this university has a bachelor's degree program in criminal justice with emphasis options in corrections or law enforcement. Coursework in the corrections emphasis includes community-based corrections, penology, corrections procedural law and juvenile justice administration. Other than the standard criminal justice courses and the corrections courses, students will need to complete an additional 18 units of coursework, which are mostly administrative in design and cover such topics as reasoning and writing, research methods, public budgeting, data analysis and public administration.

Texas State University - San Marcos

This state university in San Marcos has both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in criminal justice. Criminal justice students at this campus will learn from a pool of 22 faculty members. For the undergraduate degree programs, there are several career-based degree paths, including one for corrections and one for law enforcement. The corrections degree plan can be completed either with or without participating in an internship, but students who do not complete the two internship courses have to take two additional academic courses, namely an advanced elective course and a comparative criminal justice course. Corrections coursework discusses topics related to penology, criminal justice systems, juvenile justice, crime theory, agency management and prisoner treatment options.

The University of Texas at Brownsville

Brownsville's campus has a bachelor's degree program in criminal justice with concentration options in law enforcement, corrections or forensic investigations. Students can also choose an online criminology and criminal justice bachelor's degree program, which does not offer concentration options, but does include several courses from the corrections concentration area. Coursework in corrections covers correctional casework, juvenile justice systems, correctional counseling, legal aspects of corrections and correctional facility management.

Tyler Junior College

Located in Tyler, this junior college does not have a program directly in corrections, but it does offer an associate degree program in criminal justice and an associate degree program in law enforcement investigations. Both of these associate degree programs are designed primarily for students who plan to continue on into bachelor's degree programs. Although the law enforcement investigations program is designed for individuals interested in becoming probation or parole officers, two careers closely related to corrections officers, this degree program does not include any courses in corrections. The criminal justice degree program only requires students to take one course in correctional systems and practices.

Career Requirements

Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that correctional officers usually only require the equivalent of high school diplomas to find employment. Correctional officers also have to complete career-specific training programs upon being hired, which in Texas include 200 hours of training in non-violent crisis intervention, firearms, first aid, defensive tactics and use of force. Although some states do require correctional officers to have postsecondary training, the state of Texas does not. Individuals who hold degrees in fields related to criminal justice, law enforcement or corrections may have better chances of finding employment, though.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Corrections Degrees Offered In-State Tuition & Fees 2015-2016
Amarillo College 2-year, public college, midsize city Associate of Science Degree in Criminal Justice,
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice Law Enforcement,
Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Certificate Program
$3,042 (Out-of-State:$4,578)*
Austin Community College District 2-year, public school, large city Associate of Science Degree in Criminal Justice/Corrections $9,210 (Out-of-State:11,340)*
Blinn College 2-year, public college, remote town Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice Field of Study,
Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice,
Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement,
Corrections Certificate Program
$3,912 (Out-of-State:$ 5,904)*
Del Mar College 2-year, public school, large city Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice,
Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology Police Science
$3,846 (Out-of-State:$ 4,808)*
McLennan Community College 2-year, public college, midsize city Associate of Applied Science Degree in Corrections,
Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement,
Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice,
Certificate Programs in Corrections, Law Enforcement, and Forensic Science
$3,192 (Out-of-State:$4,560)*
San Antonio College 2-year, public school, large city Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice,
Associate of Applied Science in Correctional Science,
Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement
$5,500 (Out-of-State:$10,740)*
Stephen F. Austin State University 4-year, public college, rural area Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice,
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with Corrections Emphasis,
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with Law Enforcement Emphasis
$7,560 (Out-of-State:$16,920)*
Texas State University-San Marcos 4-year, public school, remote region Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice,
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with Corrections Emphasis,
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with Law Enforcement Emphasis
$9,348 (Out-of-State:$20,268)*
The University of Texas at Brownsville 4-year, public college, midsize city Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice,
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with Corrections Concentration,
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with Law Enforcement Concentration
$4,398 (Out-of-State:$5,598)*
Tyler Junior College 2-year, public school, small city Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice,
Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement Investigations
$3,820 (Out-of-State:$4,420)*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator.


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