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5 Reasons to Become a Correctional Officer

Correctional OfficerWith more than two million people behind bars, the United States has the largest prison population in the world.* It’s therefore no surprise that prisons are a big business in many parts of the country, and they represent major employment opportunities for people trained to work in such facilities.

If you have an associate degree in criminal justice, you may qualify to work as a correctional officer in a prison, jail or other detention facility. Why pursue this career path? Here are five reasons to consider:

1. Job Security. Most communities have an ongoing need for trained individuals who are willing and able to take on this difficult work. Most officers employed at the local and state levels are also members of powerful unions that protect their members’ job security.

2. Benefits. As noted above, most correctional officers belong to unions. These unions are usually able to negotiate excellent benefits, including sick leave, paid vacations, health insurance and pensions. State and federal officers are also guaranteed numerous benefits through their civil service status.

3. Qualifications. Most correctional officers are employed at the state level, and most states only require their officers to have, at minimum, a high school diploma, although additional education in criminal justice is usually preferred as well. Most states require candidates to take additional professional training at state-run academies. At the federal level, candidates usually require up to 200 hours of additional training.

4. Income Potential. In New York State, correctional officer salaries begin at around $40,000 a year, significantly higher than the $26,000 national average. In New York, the median annual income is $57,100, with top earners getting $72,000, compared to the average $39,000 and $67,200, respectively, nationwide.**

5. Opportunities for Advancement. An efficient and ambitious corrections officer often has opportunities to rise to the rank of sergeant or go even higher to various managerial positions, including warden. You may also use your experience to move into a related field such as probation and parole.

Study Criminal Justice at Everest Institute in Rochester, N.Y.

Correctional officer is just one career path open to you when you complete the Criminal Justice program at Everest Institute in Rochester, N.Y. There, Everest offers a Criminal Justice career education program that can be completed in 24 months. Graduates of this program receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice and leave with the skills, training and experience to qualify for entry-level jobs in the criminal justice field, including correctional officer, security officer and case worker.

Everest’s Criminal Justice career education program includes courses in:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal Evidence
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Criminal Justice Communications
  • Introduction to Terrorism
  • Introduction to Corrections

Upon graduation, students can get support from the school’s Career Services department, which provides help with everything from resume writing to setting up job interviews with local employers.

About the Rochester Campus

Everest Institute in Rochester is at 1630 Portland Avenue (14621). The campus has ample off-street parking and is just steps from an RGTA bus stop. In addition to Criminal Justice, the Rochester campus offers career education programs in Accounting, Business, Computer Information Science, Medical Assistant, Medical Insurance Billing and Coding, and Paralegal. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information about Everest’s Criminal Justice career education program, contact Everest today!

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at

* Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Statistical Abstract -

** U.S. Department of Labor/O*NET Online, Occupation Profile: Correctional Officers and Jailers,, accessed 10/5/11.

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