Choosing to do a course in corrections is one of the most popular ways to enter the law enforcement’s correctional system as well as the administrative end of the Justice Department. Learn more about this popular career option by reading on.

Corrections officers keep the nation’s law enforcement system running smoothly. Found at every echelon of the correctional systems, corrections officers are the ones who manage day-to-day affairs at prisons. Apart from this frontline work, experts with higher qualifications in this field often work in the administrative departments of the justice system. Depending upon the course you opt for, you could be stationed at a prison, or you could be helping the Justice Department analyze data and research issues relevant to the law enforcement system.

Is It For Me?
Just like any other front-line job in law enforcement, a career as a corrections officer requires certain temperamental and personality traits. An ability to remain dispassionate, unbiased and calm under pressure, as well as a readiness to work in high-stress situations and at odd hours, are key to succeeding in this career.

As a corrections officer, you could be stationed at a prison and will come into contact with hardened criminals. The demanding nature of this career suits those with a good level of fitness. However, you don’t necessarily have to be stationed in a prison – there are attractive opportunities in the administrative domain as well.

What Will I Study?
Corrections courses are available at different stages of the educational ladder. Depending upon your qualifications, you could opt for a relevant Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s course. There are also several certificate courses available in this field. While the syllabus you study will vary depending upon the course you enroll in, some common topics include:

  • Criminal psychology
  • The objective behind modern correctional ideologies
  • Correctional systems – including state, federal, and private correctional systems
  • Juvenile detention and corrections
  • Prisoner rights
  • Ethics in corrections
  • Special needs prisoners
  • Living conditions in prison – including prison culture, issues, and problems
  • Court judgments relevant to the corrections system

These are just some of the themes and issues that a corrections course will look at. Some courses might have a more theoretical bent, while others could focus more on practical, day-to-day issues. In general, graduate courses will be better suited for those who wish to work as researchers or administrators in this field, while those of you wanting to get a feel for the world of law enforcement could find a lower level course – such as a certificate or Associate’s more than adequate.

What Are My Career Prospects?
A qualification in corrections can place you at the frontline of law enforcement. The work is hard and demanding. However, job security and good median pay are some of the appealing facets of this career. The Department of Labor also estimates that jobs in the field of corrections are growing at an annual rate of 5%, with expansion of correctional facilities expected to lead to new job growth.

For those who study for a graduate degree in corrections, a research or administrative career with a government department or university is a common choice; while those who start off in a frontline job at a prison can use the experience to boost their career prospects.