Correctional Counselor Degrees & Careers | Explore Colleges

Correctional Counselor

Correctional counselors help criminal offenders get on their feet and back into the real world after prison. Also referred to as correctional treatment specialists or case managers, they play a huge role in rehabilitating former inmates, providing them with counseling, and creating unique treatment plans to help former prisoners adjust to life after incarceration.

Correctional Counselor Job Description

Most correctional counselors or case managers find themselves working in parole agencies, probation offices, jails or prisons. Daily work for a correctional counselor might include holding interviews with inmates and their families, conducting psychological evaluations and designing educational or job training programs for inmates to pursue after prison.

While working with each inmate, a correctional counselor is responsible for taking detailed notes concerning the case. These notes will aid the correctional counselor in creating a unique rehabilitation plan for a particular inmate. In addition to general services, correctional counselors may also be required to provide anger management, substance abuse and/or sexual abuse counseling.

How to Become a Correctional Counselor

The job of a correctional counselor requires a cool head, positive attitude, loads of patience and, above all, compassion and a genuine desire to help inmates piece their lives together again after having spent time in prison. Educational requirements for correctional counselors vary, but, in most cases, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field like criminal justice, psychology or social work is necessary. A master’s degree in the above disciplines is common as well. Most correctional counselors also undergo a one-year, on-the-job training program before they are permitted to handle cases on an independent basis.

Correctional Counselor Curriculum

To become a correctional counselor, you will need to study a variety of topics to develop a strong foundation of skills to succeed. Here are some courses that may be an essential portion of the curriculum in your program. If these courses sound interesting to you, you can find criminal justice schools on our Corrections Officer page and learn more about the curriculum of their programs.

General Psychology

General Psychology is the introductory psychology course that’s necessary for the basic understanding of the mind that every correctional counselor will need. The course is an overview of everything related to psychology. From social psychology to abnormal psychology, students will learn the basis of everything that they’ll need to know throughout their collegiate and employment career as a correctional counselor. The course also offers an overview of the history of psychological science and how the human mind behaves.

The course may seem as if its glossing over important subjects that will be necessary within the field of correctional counseling, but it’s imperative to remember that all of these subjects will be examined more deeply in future specialized courses. General psychology is a necessity for those hoping to go into correctional counseling because it lays the groundwork of everything they’ll learn related to the field of psychology. Additionally, this course is a prerequisite to all upper-level psychology courses.

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Much like the General Psychology course is a prerequisite to higher level psychology courses, Criminology is an introduction to the necessary knowledge related to the law and criminal behavior that correctional counselors will need to know to effectively perform their jobs. Students will gain a basic understanding of the criminal justice system, crime in general and law. Explores how the legal system works to keep individuals living peacefully within the social community around them. The course also delves into how the criminal justice system works in a punitive manner to discourage potential criminal acts.

Criminology will present students with a basic introduction to theories which explain why crime happens and how the legal system works proactively and reactively in dissuading criminals. Future correctional counselors will need this course if they hope to understand the major theories that they’ll learn in their upper-level courses. Additionally, it will help future correctional counselors understand what could have led inmates to commit their crimes and what can be done to prevent recidivism.

Social Psychology

The social psychology course presents an introduction to how social influences and contexts can shape an individual’s present and future behavior. It also focuses on how individuals interact with other people and within group settings. Various topics are covered throughout the student’s coursework. These topics include, but are not limited to, group processes, conformity, social perception, social cognition, obedience and interpersonal attraction. Prejudices and stereotypes are also likely to be covered.

This course provides a necessary understanding of how social contexts may influence an inmate’s behavior, so it is an essential course for those hoping to start careers in correctional counseling. This understanding will allow a correctional counselor to recognize the factors in an individual’s life which may have led them to criminal behavior. Additionally, a correctional counselor’s job includes accessing the chances that an inmate will recidivate, so being able to understand a person’s social influences and their effect on the inmate is essential.

Offender Rehabilitation

The offender rehabilitation course provides the perfect combination of psychology and criminal justice knowledge that every correctional counselor will need to effectively perform their job. It focuses on providing the student with a sound foundation in understanding correctional interventions that can help inmates effectively rehabilitate and reintegrate into normal society. It also provides theories and methods which underlie treatment programs that exist within correctional settings.

Students will learn classification systems related to various types of offenders, application and theory related to providing therapy to offenders and topics which focus on effective rehabilitation and intervention. Subjects may vary from drug treatment to reintegration techniques. This course is the holy grail when it comes to working in the correctional counseling field. Students will need this understanding if they hope to help inmates return to the outside world without re-offending. This is usually an upper-level course which students will not see until they’ve completed core psychology or criminal justice courses.

Correlates of Criminal Behavior

Course reviews the correlates of several factors, including family-level and individual, that have an effect on a person’s likelihood of engaging in criminal acts either as a child, adolescent or adult. The course goes further than simple speculation, such as the belief that video games lead to violent crime, and delve into a biopsychosocial model to understand and explain what causes criminal behavior and its sometimes persistent reemergence throughout a person’s life cycle.

Topics such as brain injuries, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, the effects of the family, substance abuse and several other psychological models are likely to be covered. This course is usually offered later in a person’s educational career and is a vital course in correctional counseling. Students will learn to recognize the catalysts to their patients’ criminal behavior. This understanding is absolutely essential in creating and implementing a solid rehabilitation plan that will actually help the offender recover and improve their life.

Correctional Counselor Salary and Career Outlook

Those interested in a career as a correctional counselor will be happy to hear that job prospects are projected to grow six percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS reported in 2017 that the median annual salary for correctional counselors is $51,410.

Below, we speak with Jon Candea, Correctional Advisor at Johnson County Department of Corrections of Kansas, about his career at the Adult Residential Center.

Increased demand for correctional counselors can be attributed in part to growing prison populations. In some states, prison policy is being reexamined in light of budget concerns. There is potential for an increased emphasis on rehabilitative services, and in turn, counselors, as states try to decrease the expenses of holding offenders in prison for longer than necessary. In either case, correctional counselors are a needed resource within the correctional system.

Correctional Counselor Resources


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How to Become a Correctional Officer | Compare Programs & Colleges

Correctional Officer

With more than 800,000 offenders in jail and 1.6 million in state and federal prisons, there are plenty of job opportunities for correctional officers. Job duties include monitoring inmate activity, supervising work assignments, searching incarcerated individuals and living quarters for prohibited goods, inspecting prison security devices to ensure proper functioning, and screening inmate mail and visitors for forbidden materials.



Correctional Officer Job Description

Correctional officers must regularly report on inmate conduct, as well as security threats and other occurrences. They keep a daily record of the environment in the facility to which they are assigned. They may work alone on a cell block or with another officer. Although most are unarmed, many carry communications devices to call for reinforcement should an emergency arise.

Some correctional officers may work on tactical response teams, in which they respond to gang organization, hostage situations, riots, suicide attempts, and other dangerous events.While working as a correctional officer in a jail or prison might seem to be one of the more stressful and hazardous jobs available, the working environment can actually be safer than most because of its stable population and the security measures taken to keep officers secure and safe. Most correctional officers work eight hours each day during a five-day workweek. They typically have rotating shifts. Some facilities have extended shifts or more than two days off in between work weeks. Night, weekend, and holiday work is common, as well as paid overtime.

How to Become a Correctional Officer

For those wishing to enter the field, most agencies necessitate a high school diploma or the equivalent, some college, or full-time work experience. Applicants who were in the military may have an edge, as well as those with a corrections degree. Correctional officers must be a minimum of 18 years old, with many agencies hiring only those 21 and older. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has slightly more stringent requirements: a bachelor’s degree or higher, three years of full-time related work experience, or both for entry-level correctional officers. Correctional officer education is important in this field, but there are a variety of other requirements to consider. Criminal backgrounds may disqualify applicants – but at the very least, those looking for a job in a correctional facility should answer all questions thoroughly and honestly. Upon being hired, correctional officers complete a short training program, but they receive the majority of training on the job. Federal correctional officers go through 200 hours of training during their first year, followed by 120 hours of specialized training, which takes place in Glynco, Georgia at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons. Some schools also offer a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, which may help aspiring correctional officers find employment. These corrections degree programs – which cover correctional practices, policing, safety codes, criminal law, criminal court procedures, and evidentiary law – are often offered online and take about four years to complete.

Correctional Officer Salary and Career Outlook

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were roughly 468,600 correctional officers and jailers employed in the U.S., and most worked for state or local governments in a variety of correctional institutions. Correctional officer positions are expected to increase seven percent from 2016 to 2026, so it’s important you do well with your education in order to get a good job.

The median annual wage for correctional officers and jailers is $43,510 as of May 2017. Officers receive standard benefits, as well as a uniform or clothing allowance for those in the public sector.

After providing 20 years of service, officers can retire after age 50, and they can retire at any age after 25 years of service.

Below, CriminalJusticePrograms.com speaks with Daniel Martuscello III from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision about entering this criminal justice field. Martuscello discusses career responsibilities, including the goal of successfully rehabilitating offenders to re-enter the community.

Correctional Officer Resources

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Juvenile Court Register | Education & Career Info

Juvenile Court Register

Properly processing juveniles, sending them to the place that can most benefit them, and ensuring that they are treated fairly can keep them from becoming adult prisoners and help them get on the right path. A juvenile court register ensures the juvenile court system runs properly and meets the needs of the populace. If this kind of career sounds good to you, contact schools with campus or online criminal justice programs today to request information.

Juvenile court registers fill a wide variety of roles in the court system. They may play an important role in the filing of paperwork, the supervision of staff, and the coordination of efforts between branches of staff. You may work quite a bit with the public as well as with juvenile delinquents. Of course, as a result, you can also expect to spend quite a bit of time working with the families of those going through the juvenile court system.

If you’re interested in changing the lives of adolescents through your work, consider becoming a juvenile court register. Discover what it means to be a juvenile court register and how you can get started on this path.


Juvenile Court Register Job Description

Much of a juvenile court registers job involves ensuring compliance. Many statutes govern the handling of juveniles and youths, and if those statutes are not followed, the justice department could be in legal trouble. At the end of each day, you may check over your staff’s work to make sure it is compliant. You may also prepare your department for cases as part of your job. This tends to involve looking at evidence, marking exhibits, and maintaining files on the delinquents assigned to you. For repeat offenders, you may maintain guardianship records and ensure that they are being properly cared for once they are out of the juvenile court system. Management is often required in this position. Whether you’re supervising office staff or legal clerks, you may be responsible for everything that happens in your office.

How to Become a Juvenile Court Register

In many cases, becoming a juvenile court register is a fairly involved process that can take several years. However, by planning ahead and getting the experience you need to qualify for this job, you can be ready when your dream job becomes available. It’s likely you’ll want to start with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. This is a four-year degree that encompasses different areas of the justice field, including corrections, courtroom procedures, and policing. Some schools offer programs that focus on juvenile justice, so you may want to choose a school with this concentration. It can allow you to take extra courses in juvenile justice that may help you prepare for a career as a juvenile court register.

Some of the core criminal justice electives you may take as a juvenile justice student include Drugs and Society, Police Methods and Organization, Methods of Criminal Justice Research, and Criminal Procedure. You may take courses that focus on the juvenile system like Introduction to Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Corrections, Family Law, and Ethics in Juvenile Justice. Depending on which school you end up attending, you may also be able to complete an internship in a juvenile justice agency or organization. This invaluable experience can help you start making connections in your local community.

Before you can accept a position as a juvenile court register, you may need to get some experience in the juvenile justice department of your local criminal justice agency. This may include working as a juvenile clerk or a juvenile corrections officer. With several years of related work experience under your belt, you may be able to take on the responsibility that comes with being a juvenile court register. Advanced leadership experience in another criminal justice department may also suffice for this requirement.

Below, CriminalJusticePrograms.com speaks with Franklin Cruz, part of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Cruz discusses the difference between the juvenile justice system and the criminal justice field.

Career Outlook and Salary Potential

As you look at the job outlook for juvenile court registers and others who work with juvenile delinquents, you may find that job openings are not expected to increase significantly in coming years. Through 2026, O*Net expects an average increase in corrections-type job openings throughout the country compared to other jobs. However, you may benefit from a great job outlook in certain parts of the country. In Texas, for example, a 17% increase in jobs is expected through 2024. O*Net anticipates an 8% increase in jobs in California during the same period.

As you gain experience and seniority in this position, your salary potential may increase accordingly. Across the country, the average salary for a corrections officer, a position close to a juvenile court register, is $51,410 per year. The average salary for this position in Illinois was $63,320 annually in 2017. Similarly, in New York, juvenile court registers earned an average of $67,820 per year in 2017 (O*Net, 2017).

Becoming a juvenile court register may be the right decision for you if you want to help some of America’s most disadvantaged youth. Ready to get started? Look at our criminal justice school listings for more information!

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