With record numbers of inmates behind bars and a growing awareness of the need to reintegrate many of these offenders back into everyday life, correctional counseling has become more important than ever before. Correctional counseling is a specialized area of criminal justice and designed to help inmates mentally and physically find a meaningful, lawful role within society. When an incarcerated individual is able to access correctional counseling, they have more resources, more assistance and a better chance of making better choices once released. Correctional counseling directly impacts those that are incarcerated, their families and society as a whole.
Why Focus on Correctional Counseling?
If your reason for considering criminal justice was to help others, there is no better way to have a direct and beneficial impact. Since correctional counselors work directly with inmates, helping them choose new, healthier behaviors and lifestyles, this is the ideal field for you, giving you the chance to help them directly see the results of your labors.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, correctional facility jobs are not expected to see rapid growth; the agency predicts a growth rate of about 4 percent over the next decade. This growth rate means that there will be more competition for correctional treatment jobs – so having a specific expertise will help you find a job in this field.
Focusing on correctional counseling allows you to qualify for a full range of responsibilities and duties’ this versatility can also serve you well as you seek out new positions and advance in your career. You can expect to make around $50,000 per year, depending on the area you live in and your level of education and expertise.
Becoming a Correctional Counselor
You’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice or a related field to secure a position as a correctional counselor. For many employers, you’ll need to hold a master’s to work with inmates; the bachelor’s is the first step towards securing your position in this field.
Empathy, a willingness to work with others and keen attention to detail and planning can help you succeed in this field. If you already have corrections or criminal justice experience, this will prove helpful as well as you embark on this new career.
What Will you Learn During Training?
According to Sandra Wilson, JD, and Program Chair for the Post University Criminal Justice program, you will gain a well-rounded education in the field. You’ll also develop an interdisciplinary set of skills for helping others overcome issues and deal with self-destructive problems. While this program does not require a concentration in the field, it does provide another way to explore the dynamic field of criminal justice. As we learn more about the importance of integrating offenders back into society, fields like correctional counseling become essential to both those incarcerated and those outside the prison system.
What Kinds of Projects can you Expect to Work On?
Since correctional counseling is part of the criminal justice program, your curriculum will cover a wide range of issues in the field, giving you insight into how things work and what to expect when you are on the job. You’ll cover topics such as law enforcement, counseling, record keeping, organization, critical thinking and more. With an active online program like the one at Post University, you’ll be able to fit your learning around your schedule, but still take part in the integrated and robust activities and conversation in the classroom.
Is Correctional Counseling Right for You?
If you want to make a difference in the lives of others, can handle emotionally charged conversation, are good at tracking details and have outstanding organizational and critical thinking skills, you’ll do well in this field. Since this is a role that allows you to work directly with inmates, you should be comfortable working with individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds and those who have made errors in the past. If you enjoy groups and one on one sessions, strategic planning and hands-on duties, you should enjoy this specialized niche in the criminal justice field.
What can Post University Offer Those Seeking a Career in Corrections Counseling?
Post University’s program for criminal justice has been created by and is taught by experts in the field. Each professor working with students in this vertical is an established professional with decades of experience. By bringing real-world expertise and a thorough knowledge of both criminal justice and the specialty niches included in this field, Post offers an educational experience unlike any other. By offering classes online, the university is able to ensure that those already working in the field or those wishing to make the switch from another career can easily do so. The program is challenging, but versatile, and is designed to offer a high-quality education that works with your busy schedule.
How Can I Begin Pursuing a Career in Corrections Counseling?
The right education is needed to ensure you are ready to work with those in the criminal justice system and that you are fully prepared and ready for employment. If you are already working in the corrections or criminal justice field, then some of the information covered will be familiar territory. You’ll also find yourself on familiar ground if you currently work in counseling or a related field and want to shift your focus to helping the incarcerated or newly released.
To learn more about your career as a corrections counselor and what Post University can do for you, explore the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.