Correctional Officer Classes and Courses

The supervision and security in a jail or prison is handled by correctional officers. Many schools offer 1- or 2-semester correctional officer certificate programs, and there are numerous colleges and universities offering degree programs with a concentration in corrections.

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Essential Information

Correctional officers supervise individuals who have been arrested, are awaiting trial, or who have been sentenced to jail or prison terms. Correctional officers working in state prisons and local jails must have a high school diploma and are required to go through an intensive training course.

Training courses for potential correctional officers are available through city and state police departments, but many colleges and universities also offer certificate and degree programs in criminal justice with a concentration in corrections. Correctional officer courses usually include physical fitness, firearms, criminal behavior, and self-defense training.

List of Courses

The following course descriptions offer a general overview of the subject matter that potential correctional officers may encounter during degree programs or training courses.

Criminal Justice Course

Prospective correctional officers take criminal justice classes to gain familiarity with criminal law and the legal system. Study covers the categorization of offenses and the process leading from arrest to sentencing. Students learn the legal rights of inmates, parolees and those on probation. Ethical issues in corrections and the treatment of prisoners are also addressed.

Correctional Methods Course

This course provides an overview of the different types of correctional facilities and the methods of punishment and treatment currently employed in the American justice system. In addition to incarceration, community corrections options such as probation, parole and community service are discussed. Students learn the history of correctional law and the philosophy behind various policies.

Correctional Operations Course

This class familiarizes students with correctional facility procedures and the duties of a correctional officer. Coursework introduces patrols, inspections and other security routines. Students learn to complete and file office paperwork such as surveillance logs and reports.

Human Relations in Corrections Course

Human relations classes focus on the importance of interpersonal skills in a correctional environment. Correctional officers must leverage these skills daily to mediate conflicts, reduce tension among prisoners and explain rules in a clear and helpful manner. Students learn to maintain courtesy and professionalism in stressful situations. Classes also explain the effect of imprisonment on human psychology, and teach students to intervene and negotiate in situations of violence.

Firearms and Physical Defense Training Course

Correctional officers are often required to have formal training in self-defense techniques and the use of firearms. Instructors train students in marksmanship as well as the proper handling and safe use of firearms. Physical training includes both techniques for self-defense and methods for restraining and controlling subjects. Responsibility and safety are emphasized, and legal issues regarding use of force are discussed.

Crisis Management Course

Correctional officers must be prepared to handle a variety of emergency situations at a moment's notice. This class covers the procedures for handling riots and other outbursts as well as accidents such as fire. Students are also trained in first aid, as corrections officers are often first responders to incidents. Interpersonal skills come into play as students learn to regain and maintain control of emergency situations.

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