Corrections Degrees in Criminal Justice

Individuals who earn a degree in corrections and enter the workforce have a huge responsibility of ensuring the safety of citizens in their community. Although the field of corrections and law enforcement may seem daunting at first, the career can be a rewarding one when approached the right way and with the proper training.

Consider online Criminal Justice programs currently accepting applicants:

Why Study Corrections?

A criminal justice degree with a concentration in corrections focuses on the rehabilitation of criminal offenders, juvenile services and community corrections. Those who work in the field of corrections have the possibility to make a long-term and positive impact of those who may have lost their way. They may be confronted with dangerous situations at times as well. The insight and invaluable knowledge gained through a degree program in corrections will aid in the preparation of any challenges that individuals could encounter in this field.

Corrections Associate’s Degrees

An Associate’s degree in Corrections is geared to help students learn the basic of the US correctional system while giving them the skills and knowledge of the internal working and how they operate in many different roles. Students will learn in detail the rules and regulations of the correctional system, as well as policies used within the correctional system.

These specific classes can be substituted with courses that are similar, as most correctional degrees are interdisciplinary. In addition, universities highly recommend students choose courses of a broader variety that are prerequisite to help them reach their future career goals.

Corrections Bachelor’s Degrees

A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections or a bachelor’s degree in corrections will prepare graduates to fill job positions available in the field of adult and juvenile corrections. Students will learn the regulations and institutional rules and policies and general safety measures. In addition, students will learn the proper techniques and protocol for handling social disturbances, inmate protection, hostage negotiation and how to disarm prisoners in possession of weapons.

Corrections Master’s Degrees

A Masters of Corrections degree is specifically designed for law enforcement officials who desire to advance in the careers and work on an administrative level in correctional facilities. The program usually can usually be completed online or on-campus with classes scheduled in the evening or on the weekend. Students will begin by attending courses in criminal justice, criminology, criminal law and crime data analysis. Following this, they will participate in specialized courses that provide detailed instruction on prison control, prisoner screening, prison security, crisis management and substance abuse prevention. Prior to graduation, seniors usually work as interns in a correctional facility so they have a better understanding of the position and gain experience they will be able to refer to when faced with future challenges on the job.

Corrections Doctorate Degrees

Graduates with a doctorate in corrections usually work as managers, supervisors, administrators or educators. They may also be called upon to testify as expert witnesses in their specific work sector. A major part of their responsibilities include preventing disturbances in correctional facilities and enforcing compliance of rules and regulations.

To enroll in a doctorate degree, you must have completed a master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology. For individuals who have completed a master’s degree in another specialization must complete core courses in criminal justice, as well as criminology before entering a Ph.D program. In addition, individuals wanting to enter a doctorate program must pass the Graduate Record Examination to be admitted.

Applicants also need to take courses in Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation and Development. This specialization includes study of the Criminal Court System, The US Penal System, Corrections Management and Juvenile Detention and Corrections. With the increase in the number of illegal aliens and convicted criminals in the USA, the US Government has been forced to open new correctional facilities and prisons, and this signified a greater need for highly-skilled graduates to fill positions.

School Spotlight

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is one of the top graduate programs worldwide. In addition to being a much sought after school for its undergraduate programs, University of Maryland offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, Juris Doctor and Doctor of Philosophy degree. The internationally recognized faculty is comprised of both active and former officers of the ASOC (American Society of Criminology).

The Criminology and Criminal Justice Program is composed of 33 credit hours within the department. Students must complete STAT 100 or MATH 111, and perform 18 hours of supporting coursework outside of CCJS for credit.

The graduate program at University of Maryland is comprised of two parts; the master’s program and the Doctorate program. While both of these programs will teach students how to be shrewd researchers, the master’s program also prepares students to work in a research institute or within another law agency. The PhD program will prepare students to work in university settings or in another type of research facility.

University at Albany

The University at Albany (SUNY) offers a Bachelor of Arts degree, a master’s degree and Doctorate degree. This graduate program currently ranks second in the USA among educational centers specializing in criminal justice and criminology. The Mater’s program and PhD program both offer informative Technology Concentration which is an invaluable tool for students who wish to pursue quantitative research along with data analysis.

A minor in Criminal Justice at SUNY requires 18 credits for graduation. Undergraduate students are required to complete a nine-credit concentration in several areas. The concentration within a criminal justice major must be constructed with concentrations from one of the following departments:

  • American Government
  • Psychology
  • Law
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Women’s Studies
  • Afro-american Studies
  • Latin American/Caribbean Studies

The master’s program at SUNY affords students the possibility to gain statistical and research skills. Students will then be able to practice and effectively evaluate policies and practices within the criminal justice system. Students will also learn about the criminal justice structure and the precise nature of successful crime prevention programs. Students partaking in the master’s program will complete a thorough concentration in criminal justice technology via courses that focus on a collection, storage, protection, interpretation and actual communication of raw data.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University offers Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees, master’s degrees and a PhD in Criminal Law and Justice through the Department of Sociology and Crime, Law and Justice. This undergraduate program is composed of over 650 majors. The graduate program officially ranks fifth in the nation and is currently tied with University of California. In addition, the Criminal Justice Department at this university has eight affiliate research centers and programs.

The BA and BS program offers students the possibility of pursuing liberal arts courses in a more traditional manner by drawing from subjects such as humanities, literature and social sciences. Students will gain extensive knowledge of both the legal and criminal justice systems and learn how to solve problems, read and think critically and effectively. The Bachelor of Science degree provides an in-depth look into criminal justice and allows individuals to build a strong foundation in researching methods used for criminal studies. A BA or BS degree is appropriate for students looking to pursue entry-level criminal justice careers post-graduation, apply to a police academy, as well as students who wish to pursue graduate degrees.

A master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania was designed for students who wish to pursue a PhD. A master’s thesis and over 30-credit hours are required to obtain a MA. The specific course work is constructed into four 500-level methods. Graduate school also requires that students complete six thesis credits which are earned while students are writing their MA thesis.

To obtain a Doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, students will also need to consult with their advisory team and earn 12 credits of course work outside our Criminology/Criminal Justice program. Students must demonstrate a thorough understanding of social science disciplines that are executed within study of criminology. Specific examples would include social psychology, urban sociology and human development, as well as several other possibilities. All PhD students are required to pass a comprehensive exam and be able to a give high-quality scholastic dissertation. Students who graduate with a PhD in sociology are then able to pursue a career as a sociologist.

Career Outlook and Salary

The average annual wage for those wanting to work as correctional officers was $44,910 in 2014. Bailiffs received an average salary of $42,360 in 2014.

There is an expected increase in employment of correctional officer of five percent between 2012 and 2022. Even though there are budget restrictions, job availability will continue to increase largely due to the dangerous situations within this sector of employment.

The job outlook for those employed as sociologists is quite promising. The median salary for sociologists as of May 2014 was $78,810.