How to Become a Correctional Officer in 3 Simple Steps

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What is a Correctional Officer?

Working at a correctional institute is not easy, so before we break down and analyze how to become a correctional officer let’s see their daily routine.

A Correctional Officers’ work is to make sure that the prisoners follow the rules of prisons and jails and keep the order in the facilities.

The daily duties of a correctional officer are:

  • Performing search procedures and security checks
  • Instructing inmates in sanitation and housekeeping
  • Supervising inmates’ visits
  • Checking the emails of the inmates
  • Escorting inmates
  • Maintaining order in areas like yard and food service area
  • Writing reports on prisoners
  • Transferring inmates
  • Counting the prisoners
  • Applying physical force if needed

Aspiring correctional officers need to have excellent communication skills.

They will be dealing with prisoners daily and they need to be able to give orders and instruct them in a way that will not cause behavioral reactions.

They need to pay attention to everything they do from body language to the tone of their voice.

Critical thinking is another skill correctional officers must possess. They are in charge of running a correctional institute and they have the right to use physical force if the situation calls for it.

They should know when to use this kind of force and find a balance between restraining the order and abuse their authority.

They must have also sharp observation skills and pay attention to the details.

As inmates are looking for ways to smuggle illegal stuff into prisons, from drugs to weapons, correctional officers should be able to detect and seizure them in order to prevent dangerous situations.

Correctional officers work full time. They work in local, state or federal prisons and jails, because these institutes are working 24/7 correctional officers work in shifts. They are working on evenings late at night weekends and holidays.

The average salary of a correctional officer is $39,780
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What is a Correctional Officer

Becoming a Correctional Officer

Step 1: High School Preparation

High School Courses for Correctional Officers

Physical Courses

As a correctional officer you will need to be able to defend yourself physically.

A good idea is to take physical courses when in high school and get in shape from a young age.

Communication and writing Courses

As we mentioned before communication skills are vital in order to succeed in this profession as you will be in touch with inmates daily.

Classes like speech, debate and rhetoric will help you to build a solid foundation.

Another part of your work will be filling reports on inmates’ progress. High school writing courses will help you prepare for this.

Language courses

According to studies the total prison population across US consists of different ethnic groups, a second language will help you a lot with your daily communication with inmates. Taking classes on Spanish, Portuguese, or French is a good idea.

Step 2: Get Correctional Officer Training

Correctional Officer Certificate Program 3 months – 1 year

Correctional officer certificates are 420 clock hours programs that can be completed on-campus or online.

It is fairly easy to get accepted as you will need only a high school diploma or a GED.

Curriculum

  • First Aid for Criminal Justice Officers
  • Firearms
  • Criminal Justice Defensive Tactics
  • Introduction to Corrections
  • Communications
  • Officer Safety
  • Facility and Equipment
  • Intake and Release
  • Supervising in a Correctional Facility
  • Supervising Special Populations
  • Responding to Incidents and Emergencies
  • Officer Wellness and Physical Abilities
  • Wellness and Physical Abilities
  • Criminal Justice Exam Review

The cost of a Correctional officer certificate program is between $2,000 and $3,000.

Before you apply at any college or university make sure to contact them ask anything you would like to know and pay them a visit to see their establishments.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Correctional officer certificate programs near you.

Associate in Applied Science in Corrections Degree program 2 years

Associate in Applied Science in Corrections programs are 60 – 70 credit hour programs that can be completed either online or on campus.

The admission requirements are a high school diploma or something equivalent like a GED.

Curriculum

General Education Requirements (25 credits)

  • First-Year Composition
  • First-Year Composition for ESL
  • Small Group Communication
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • Critical Reading
  • College Critical Reading
  • Critical Reading for Business and Industry
  • Ideas and Values in the Humanities
  • Introduction to Sustainability

Core Courses (15 credits)

  • Law Enforcement Report Writing
  • Introduction to Corrections
  • Concepts of Probation and Parole
  • Correctional Interviewing and Counseling
  • Control and Supervision of Inmates

Elective Courses (9 credits)

  • Introduction to Administration of Justice
  • Concepts of Criminal Law
  • Law Enforcement Community Relations
  • Arrest and Firearms
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Juvenile Control

The cost of an Associate in Applied Science in Corrections program is between $22,650 and $48,590.

Before you apply at any college or university make sure to contact them ask anything you would like to know and pay them a visit to see their establishments.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Associate in Applied Science in Corrections Degree programs near you.
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Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree Program 4 years

Because there is no corrections bachelor’s degree program if you want to advance with your education you can join a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree program with emphasis in corrections.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree programs are 120 to 180 semester credit hours’ programs that can be completed either on campus or online.

The admission requirements of these programs are a high school diploma or a GED.

Curriculum

General Education Requirements (33 credits)

  • College Composition I
  • College Composition II
  • Professional Presence
  • People Power and Politics
  • General Biology
  • Fundamentals of Microbiology
  • Ethics
  • Humanities and Culture
  • Critical Evaluation in the Humanities
  • College Algebra
  • Survey of Mathematics

Core Courses (88 Credits)

  • Criminal Investigation
  • Computers, technology and criminal justice information systems
  • Criminal procedure
  • Criminal law for criminal justice
  • Research methods in criminal justice
  • Applied criminal justice ethics
  • Preparing for a Career in Public Safety
  • Bachelor’s capstone in criminal justice
  • Managing Criminal justice organizations
  • Crime Prevention
  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • Pathways to Academic Success
  • Corrections: Concepts, Systems, and Issues
  • Courts, Society, and Criminal Procedure
  • Crime and Delinquency
  • Violence in the Family
  • Drugs and Society
  • Rehabilitation and Re-Integration

Correction Emphasis Area Electives (29 credits)

  • Introduction to corrections
  • Alcohol and drugs in the criminal justice system
  • Homeland security
  • Law Enforcement Report Writing
  • Probation and parole

The cost of a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree program is between $32,000 and $67,250.

Before you apply at any college or university make sure to contact them ask anything you would like to know and pay them a visit to see their establishments.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree programs near you.
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Step 3: Get Certification

You can become certified by passing American Correctional Association’s Adult correction certifications test. There 4 categories where you can get certified:

  • Certified Corrections Officers (CCO)
  • Certified Corrections Supervisor (CCS)
  • Certified Corrections Manager (CCM)
  • Certified Corrections Executive (CCE)

Certified Corrections Officers (CCO)

Requirements

High school Diploma or GED plus 1 year of working experience as a correctional officer

Examination

Pass a 200 multiple questions test with a score over 70%.

Cost: $140 (members) $175 (non-members)

Certified Corrections Supervisor (CCS)

Requirements

High school Diploma or GED plus 5 years of working experience at supervisory level

OR

Associate’s degree plus 1 year of working experience at supervisory level

Examination

Pass a 200 multiple questions test with a score over 70%.

Cost: $180 (members) $225 (non-members)

Certified Corrections Manager (CCM)

Requirements

High school Diploma or GED plus 1 years of working experience at managerial level plus 8 years of working experience as a correctional officer

OR

Associate’s degree plus 1 year of working experience at managerial level

Examination

Pass a 200 multiple questions test with a score over 70%.

Cost: $235 (members) $295 (non-members)

Certified Corrections Executive (CCE)

Requirements

High school Diploma or GED plus 1 years of working experience at executive level plus 10 years of working experience as a correctional officer

OR

Bachelor’s degree plus 1 year of working experience at executive level

Examination

Pass a 200 multiple questions test with a score over 70%.

Cost: $260 (members) $325 (non-members)

How Long Does it Take to Become a Correctional Officer and How Much  Does it Cost?

Option 1: Certificate

Degree Time Cost
Certificate 6 months to 18 months$2,000 - $3,000
Certification 1 month$140 -$325
Total 6 months to 18 months$2,140 - $3,325

Option 2: Associate’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Associates Degree2 years$22,650 and $48,590.
Certification 1 month$140 -$325
Total 2 years & 1 month $22,790 - $48,915

Option 3: Bachelor’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$32,000 - $67,250
Certification 1 month $140 -$325
Total 4 years & 1 month$32,140 - $67,575
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