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Corrections Positions: Job Preparation

For people considering a corrections job, the first step is determining exactly where their professional corrections interests lie because the possibilities for a corrections job are very diverse. Corrections, like criminal justice, is a broad category that encompasses a large array of jobs, responsibilities, and areas. Many people may have the misconception that corrections jobs are only possibilities for men and people who have physical strength. However, this perception is wrong because there are many corrections jobs that do not deal with behavioral aspects at all. If someone thinks that he or she is interested in a corrections job, the best thing is to do some preliminary research to determine exactly what the options are and if any of the jobs appeal to him or her.

Corrections Job in the Future

There are two broad sectors of a corrections job. People can choose to work either in the government segment of corrections or with a private corrections vendor. Government corrections jobs tend to pay more, starting around $25,000, and private corrections jobs usually pay by the hour, ranging from $8-10 per hour. Although there are variations among pay in both cases, these salaries are the general averages. As with most career areas, there is pay variation within the area of corrections, as well, and the pay difference is usually related to education levels, experience, and training. Generally, for most government corrections jobs, a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice, social work, corrections, psychology, criminology, or sociology is required.

There are different categories of jobs within corrections. Probation and parole agents and correctional officers, like guards, are probably the most often thought of corrections jobs. The agent positions are often the highest position and receive higher pay accordingly. These positions require an applicable B.S. degree. However, for those without formal educational training beyond high school, caseworkers, counselors in group homes and residential facilities, work service crew leaders, and therapists do not require a college degree. If an applicant does have a college degree, though, he or she will likely receive higher pay in accordance with the additional education.

In many cases, experience in corrections can be of assistance when attempting to obtain a corrections job. Internships are a great way to gain this experience and learn the skills needed to be successful in corrections, and they reveal a commitment to corrections and to learning what it necessary. Volunteer work is an option for those who are unable to obtain internships but still want to have a corrections job in the future. Volunteer work shows a commitment to the area of corrections and a willingness to do the job regardless of pay. It is easier to gain volunteer experience with counseling, caseworker, and therapists positions than with corrections agents, but any corrections volunteering will be helpful.

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