Working as a correctional officer doesn’t always need that you have a degree in criminal justice. In actuality, to get a simple beginning job at a state correctional facility, you often don’t want to earn anything beyond a high school diploma or obtain your GED. Having an associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field will help, of course, and is often essential for advancement and higher pay, but it’s not a requirement.
You don’t essentially have to take a degree in criminal justice to work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) either. Federal positions often require a four-year degree, but that degree can be in fields such as psychology, sociology, or a similar area. Nonetheless, there are some real solid benefits to having a degree in criminal justice if you plan on employed as a correctional officer.
With a degree in criminal justice (even a two-year degree) you’ll be ahead of several of your peers in your academy training class. You’ll already be familiar with the maximum of the introductory concepts taught in the early stages of academy training, and will have been showing to some of the commonly used terminology and procedures taught at the academy.
Most of the classroom training ways such as criminal rights, corrections ethics, and the legal aspects of corrections will cover material you’re already familiar with. Since you’ll have taken basic writing courses while pursuing your degree, you should also do very fit in the part of the training that covers report writing. This doesn’t mean you can miss those courses. But, if you do fine and receive high grades, having a basic knowledge of writing does mean you may have less studying to do than your fellow correctional officers. Even so, you must pay attention, because there may be materials covered in these courses that you don’t know, even if your criminal justice degree was focused on corrections.
In adding to being ahead of the class in many areas of training, you’ll also have extra awareness that isn’t covered in training. This is mainly true if you have a four-year degree since you will have engaged a number of courses both in your major and in completing your general education requirements.
Some of your acquaintance may be in another area that isn’t openly correlated to criminal justice. If you, unfortunately, mental health care in most correction facilities focuses on stabilizing inmates rather than treating inmates. For instance, an inmate experiencing risky psychosis may need medication to control his or her symptoms, but inmates with depression or anxiety issues may go untreated. For this reason, through the understanding of human psychology and the effects of imprisonment on inmates is beneficial while in school and when applying for work.
Higher-level corrections positions often require a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree, so if you plan on making corrections your long-term career, entering the field with a degree puts you one step added to your goal of working your way up the ladder. This is especially true if you want to change into a supervisory or management position in the future. Corrections officers who have made a master’s degree in criminal justice or a closely-related field have the opportunity for better pay and advancement and may be encouraged to the correctional warden, sergeant, or a different position at the management or administrative level.
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