15 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Corrections for 2023
When you think about the criminal justice system, do movies come to mind? Perhaps images of prison cells, handcuffs, or maybe the thought of Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Detective Goren on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”?
Despite the dramatizations that we see on screen, a degree in corrections can translate into a real-life career with a variety of job opportunities.
A bachelor’s degree in corrections is the perfect choice if you want to stay up-to-date on the latest theories, laws, and policies for responding to, preventing, and deterring crime.
In this post, we’ll share the best BS in Corrections degrees and give you some tips to help guide your decision-making process.
What is a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Corrections?
If you’re passionate about the judicial system, criminal justice and law enforcement, and want to ensure public safety, a Bachelor of Science in corrections can be the best option to turn your interests into a career.
Here are some of the things you will learn from a BS in corrections:
- Corrections history and policies: You will go through the history and modern-era policies of corrections in the United States. You’ll explore the foundations of the legal justice system and how it has changed over time.
- Correctional programs and strategies: A critical component of the BS in Corrections degree is studying the various programs and strategies that work in correcting or rehabilitating an offender. You’ll discover evidence-based techniques designed to change criminal behavior, including anger management techniques, substance abuse programs, and cognitive-behavioral treatments.
- Leadership and management skills: You can learn how to efficiently allocate resources, how to inform and manage human resources within the correctional system, and how to develop and manage budgets.
- Communication skills: When you study for a BS in Corrections, you’ll learn to hone your communication skills and how to communicate effectively with inmates, families, and correctional officers.
- Ethics in the law enforcement system: Given the exposure to challenging criminal justice practices and career paths, studying the rules and procedures of ethical conduct is super important. Studying ethics teaches students to make sound judgments in accordance with the law and honor both professional and ethical codes.
What Are the Different Types of Jobs in Corrections?
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in corrections, then you’re probably curious about the kinds of jobs that are available in this field. From supervising inmates to conducting investigations, the world of corrections is vast and offers a wide range of career opportunities.
Here are some of the most popular options:
- Correctional officer: Perhaps the most well-known role in corrections, correctional officers work directly with inmates on a day-to-day basis. They supervise inmates, maintain order and safety within the facility, and conduct searches to keep contraband out of the hands of prisoners. The median annual salary is around $47,92, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Probation officer: Another important job in the field of corrections is that of a probation officer. These professionals work with individuals who have been released into the community after serving time in prison or jail. They monitor their progress, ensure that they are following the terms of their release, and provide resources to help them reintegrate into society. Probation officers typically require a bachelor’s degree in corrections or a related field, and the median annual salary is about $60,000.
- Correctional counselor: Correctional counselors work with inmates to provide counseling and support services during and after their incarceration. They may help inmates deal with addiction, develop social skills, and prepare for life outside of prison. A bachelor’s degree in corrections or a related field is often required for this role, and the median annual salary is about $55,000.
- Forensic psychologist: Forensic psychologists work within the corrections system to provide mental health evaluations and treatment to inmates. They may also consult on legal cases where psychological expertise is needed. An eventual doctoral degree in psychology is typically required for this role, and the median annual salary is around $74,805.
- Correctional administrator: If you’re interested in a leadership role within the field of corrections, a job as a correctional administrator may be a good fit. These professionals oversee the operations of correctional facilities, ensuring that policies and procedures are being followed, budgets are being managed effectively, and staff are properly trained and supervised. The median annual salary is about $109,000.
How to Choose the Best BS in Corrections
If you’re considering a career in corrections, then a Bachelor of Science in Corrections (BSC) could be the perfect degree for you.
However, choosing the right program can be overwhelming, especially with so many options out there. Should you go for an online or on-campus program? What about affordability and accreditation? Fear not! Here’s what to look for.
Online vs. On Campus
When it comes to the delivery format of your BSC program, you have two main options: online or on-campus. Online programs tend to be more convenient and flexible, allowing you to fit your studies around work and family commitments.
On the other hand, on-campus programs provide a more immersive and collaborative learning experience, with access to campus resources and the chance to network with potential employers.
Ultimately, your decision may come down to personal preference and the demands of your schedule and lifestyle.
When researching BSC programs, consider the cost of tuition, fees, and any additional expenses, such as textbooks and transportation.
Look for programs that offer financial aid and scholarships, and consider options such as community colleges or state universities, which tend to be more affordable than private institutions.
Remember, the most expensive program isn’t necessarily the best one for you, nor is it the best in general.
One of the advantages of a BSC degree is the range of courses and specializations available. When choosing a program, look for one that offers a diverse curriculum, with courses in subjects such as criminal justice, law, psychology, sociology, and public policy.
Consider whether the program includes experiential learning opportunities, such as internships or practicums, which can provide valuable hands-on experience in the field.
Also, research the faculty members and their areas of expertise, as this can give you an idea of the program’s strengths.
Accreditation is important when choosing a BSC program, as it signifies that the program meets certain standards of academic excellence and quality.
Look for programs that are accredited by organizations such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
Accreditation can also be a factor in employers’ hiring decisions, so it’s essential to choose a program that is recognized and respected in the field.
How We Made Our Final Cut
It was tough to choose the best BS in corrections, and to be fair, no two students will find the perfect fit in the same exact program. You need to consider which factors matter most to you!
However, in compiling our list of the 15 best BS in corrections degrees, we considered the following factors:
- Accreditation (both programmatic and regional)
- Retention rates, selectivity, and admissions rates
- Earnings potential
- Academic reputation
Curious about what else goes into our rankings? Check out our methodology in more detail here!
15 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Corrections
1. University of Massachusetts, Lowell
UMass Lowell offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections. It is a 120-credit program that provides courses in topics such as theories of crime, constitutional law, and criminal investigation.
Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.6 and submit official transcripts, an essay, and letters of recommendation.
2. Boston University
Boston University offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that includes courses in probation and parole, correctional administration, and criminal justice research methods. Students can also minor in forensic anthropology or serial crime analysis.
The admission requirements include a minimum GPA of 2.7 and optional SAT/ACT test scores.
3. Regent University
Regent University, located in Virginia Beach, offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a focus on corrections. This program allows students to study various aspects of the criminal justice system, such as courts and corrections and homeland security and disaster relief.
Applicants must submit official transcripts and essays as well as their SAT or ACT scores.
4. Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global offers a Bachelor of Science in Corrections that is entirely online. This program offers courses in criminal law, correctional psychology, and community relations.
The admission requirements include a minimum of 2.5 GPA and official transcripts.
5. North Carolina Central University
NCCU located in Durham, North Carolina, offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections and Administration of Justice. This program provides courses in police administration, correctional policy, and ethical issues in criminal justice.
Applicants must provide official transcripts, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation.
6. West Texas A&M University
West Texas A&M University offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections. Courses cover a range of topics, such as criminology, criminal law, ethics, and research methods.
Admission requirements include a high school GPA of 3.0.
7. Ferris State University
Ferris State University offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a Corrections emphasis. It prepares students for careers in probation, parole, correctional administration, and related fields.
Admission requirements include a high school GPA of 3.27 and SAT/ACT scores.
8. California State University – Fresno
California State University – Fresno offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology with an emphasis in Corrections. The program is designed to equip students with an understanding of the broader field of criminal justice and the role of corrections within it. Coursework covers topics such as juvenile justice, community corrections, and correctional counseling.
Admission requirements include a high school GPA of 3.3 and an SAT score of 1080 or ACT score of 19.
9. Trine University
Trine University offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a Corrections concentration. The program aims to prepare students for careers in community corrections, jail administration, and other related fields. C
Admission requirements include a high school GPA of 2.5 and a minimum ACT score of 18 or SAT score of 950.
10. Tiffin University
Tiffin University offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a Corrections specialization. The program is designed to equip students with a broad understanding of the criminal justice system, as well as specific knowledge and skills related to the field of corrections. Coursework covers topics such as criminal law, probation and parole, and ethics in criminal justice.
Admission requirements include a high school GPA of 3.5.
11. Farmingdale State College
Farmingdale, NY is home to this BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections. As part of the SUNY system, it is a highly-affordable option for New York state residents.
Prospective students must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, SAT scores, and a high school diploma or equivalent.
12. Southern New Hampshire University
This online program offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections. It allows for flexible scheduling, making it a great option for working professionals.
Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent, transcripts from previously attended institutions, and a minimum GPA of 2.75.
13. Arizona State University
ASU’s BS program in Criminology and Criminal Justice focuses on examining the impact of correctional policies in the United States.
It is an on-campus only program with admission requirements that include an essay, transcripts from all previously attended institutions, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and SAT or ACT scores.
14. Lee University
Located in Cleveland, TN, this Christian faith-based university offers a BS in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Corrections.
Prospective students must provide a high school transcript, SAT or ACT scores, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of faith to be considered for admission.
15. The University of Maine at Presque Isle
This program is a BA in Criminal Justice that offers both on-campus and online study options.
Admission requirements include a high school transcript or GED scores, and SAT or ACT scores.