Corrections, is an area of the criminal justice field that involves supervision, treatment, and punishment of individuals who have been accused or convicted of committing a crime. The corrections system works with individuals before, during, and after their conviction and imprisonment. The bachelor’s degree in corrections examines logistical aspects of corrections, such as functions, processes, and procedures that are used in a correctional environment. The bachelor’s degree also includes some in depth study of corrections theory, rehabilitation, and treatment.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
A bachelor’s degree is for you if you want to start your career in corrections and criminal justice. This undergraduate degree exceeds the minimum educational requirements for many entry-level corrections positions and meets the requirements for some mid-level positions. An online bachelor’s degree in corrections will also provide you with some mobility as your criminal justice career develops. Some mid- and high-level penal system positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, even though many people enter this field with an associate degree or a high school diploma. An online bachelor’s degree in corrections is the best option for maximum career mobility.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Admission to an online bachelor’s degree in corrections requires basic qualifications in education. Admissions requirements can vary from one program to the next. But most programs will require the following items with few exceptions:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Passing SAT or ACT scores
Inside a Corrections Bachelor’s Degree Program
While some bachelor’s degree programs in corrections exist, you will also find criminal justice programs that offer a corrections concentration. These programs will include a combination of major courses in criminal justice and concentration courses in corrections. These classes will begin at the introductory level to build a foundation for intermediate and advanced courses in later semesters. You will also take general education courses as part of your curriculum. These classes will compliment your major classes with topics in psychology and sociology, as well as math, science, history, English, and writing composition.
A bachelor’s degree program usually requires 120 hours of course credit. It can take at least four years, or eight semesters, of full time study to complete the degree requirements. However, an online program with flexible scheduling can be completed at your own pace. In an online learning environment, you can expect video class lectures that are paired with reading assignments. Projects and graded assignments might include written essays and exams. A bachelor’s degree program might also include an internship requirement in which you work in a correctional facility or organization.
What’s Next for Corrections Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
With an online bachelor’s degree in corrections, you can apply to a corrections officer training academy. Some online programs may work with local training academies to facilitate this portion of your career development. You can also work as a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist, a position that requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Probation officers work closely with convicted offenders to prevent them from violating the conditions of their probation or committing further crimes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for probation officers is growing at an average pace, although demand is subject to local job market conditions in your area.
Continuing your corrections education comes with several options. A corrections bachelor’s degree lays the foundation for a master’s degree in corrections, criminal justice, or other related field. Some bachelor’s degree holders choose to change gears and their corrections background to launch a career in law, policy, or advocacy, with graduate degrees in law or social work.