Correctional officers are an important part of the criminal justice system. Prisons and jails function by a series of rules that keep offenders and guards safe. While correctional officers can be responsible for enforcing these rules, there are other aspects to the job. Let’s take a closer look at what a career as a correctional officer entails.
Earning an MS in Criminal Justice can be a great way to get a jump-start on a career as a correctional officer. Once you have landed a position, you will complete extensive training before starting work. This usually includes several months at a central academy. Soon-to-be correctional officers learn self-defense skills; security procedures; and institution policies, procedures, and operations.1
A correctional officer may be responsible for maintaining the order and security of jails and prisons. Sometimes this means searching for weapons and drugs or mediating disagreements between offenders. While the punishment for most inmate offenses is not decided by the correctional officer, it is up to the correctional officer to enforce the punishment. In addition to maintaining and enforcing normal security, correctional officers can also investigate assaults and escapes.2
Instead of focusing on order and security, correctional officers may work in rehabilitation and counseling. Offenders in jails and prisons can be minors, struggling with mental illness, or battling addiction. Correctional officers can work with these special populations to help overcome some of the circumstances that led them into the criminal justice system.3 A correctional officer who works in rehabilitation or counseling can have a positive impact in the lives of many inmates. It can be an excellent path for someone who has earned an MS in Criminal Justice after working as a counselor.
Working as a correctional officer can be excellent for someone who likes working both inside and outdoors. Also worth considering is that the criminal justice system houses all types of offenders. Correctional officers can work with people from different places, of different ethnic backgrounds, and different ages. And prisons and jails need correctional officers around the clock, which means they can work anytime during the day or night.4 That can be great for someone who needs a flexible work schedule.
Correctional officers are often the face of the criminal justice system. If you are looking for a challenging but rewarding career, corrections might be a great fit. An MS in Criminal Justice from an accredited online university can put you on the right path. With an online master’s in criminal justice, you can work toward your career goals while keeping your family and work commitments.
Correctional officers do more than just ensure order and safety in jails and prisons. They are an important part of the criminal justice system and can have a positive impact on offenders. An MS in Criminal Justice can be a great first step toward a rewarding career.
With Walden’s MS in Criminal Justice program you can choose from two different learning formats. The course-based degree program is great for students who prefer an instructor-lead approach. For those who wish to specialize in Public Management and Leadership and use their real-world experience to potentially speed their progress, the competency-based format allows you to progress at your own pace and be measured by a variety of assessments.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Criminal Justice degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
1Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/correctional-officers.htm - tab-4
4Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/correctional-officers.htm - tab-3
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.