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Degree in Criminal Justice: Discover a Career as a Corrections Officer

By James Collister on February 16th, 2009
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Correction Officer Hand CuffsEvery year, local jails process 12 million inmates, with a total of 700,000 in jail at any one time. Charged with overseeing this vast population are corrections officers. For graduates of criminal justice degree programs, working as a corrections officer can be very rewarding and exciting, but may also be both stressful and dangerous. Work may be done from a secluded, centralized area within a prison or jail, or may even involve serving on crisis response teams designed to respond to escape and other hazardous situations.

What is a Corrections Officer?

A professional with a degree in criminal justice who has chosen to work as a corrections officer supervises people awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to incarceration. Corrections officers are charged with maintaining security and preventing disturbances, injuries, and escapes. Overseeing work activities, inspecting cells, searching visitors and mail, and escorting prisoners to court and medical facilities are other functions of the job. A career, with criminal justice degree credentials, as a corrections officer, is performed unarmed in many locations with communications devices to call for help if necessary.

Required Education for Corrections Officers

Most locations require applicants to be U.S. citizens, high school graduates, and to have at least two years of steady work experience. However, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, or a related discipline, can increase chances of promotion to related occupations or even warden. The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires its corrections officers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related discipline or three years of pertinent work experience. Kennedy-Western, an online college for a criminal justice degrees, provides both administrative and hands-on training within the field of criminal justice. Earning a criminal justice degree online is a convenient method for many students already juggling work and family responsibilities.

Qualities Necessary for Success as a Corrections Officer

Corrections officer jobs with a criminal justice degree are obtained more easily by applicants who can think and act quickly. Applicants should also possess good judgment and be in excellent physical condition. Applicants are typically required to pass a written examination, background test, and physical fitness test.

Job Outlook for Corrections Officers

New jobs for corrections officers are expected to grow up to 8% through the year 2014. Mandatory sentencing requirements with longer sentences and less opportunity for parole will increase the demand for corrections officers. Undesirable aspects of positions, such as shift work and rural locations, are expected to continue. However, layoffs are rare for corrections officers, leading to a certain and higher level of job security.

Category: Careers and Employment,Law and Social Sciences


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