5 Best Online Colleges with Online Degrees in Corrections

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Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: July 4, 2024, Reading time: 15 minutes

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Correctional officers are often overlooked by society. However, their roles are as important as any other law enforcement or public safety professionals.

Online Degrees in Corrections - fact

Through their reentry services for criminal offenders, corrections officers support people to live law-abiding lives after serving their sentences. They may also supervise prisons and probation boards in the community. 

By doing these, correctional officers maintain peace and order in society. They also keep the public safe as they pursue careers in correctional facilities, law enforcement, and similar facilities or agencies.

The Labor Statistics Bureau projects an average of 30,900 annual openings for correctional officers and bailiffs. If you want to be part of this field, enroll in Corrections bachelor’s online degree programs! This profession requires an undergraduate degree at the minimum.

The Lowdown

Corrections are a branch of the criminal justice system that deals with offenders’ punishment, treatment, and rehabilitation. The need for experts specializing in criminal rehabilitation and treatment programs is growing, along with the rising demand for highly skilled people to administer and oversee the country’s jail population.

Undergraduate students, therefore, are taught to learn to deal with probation and correctional cases involving offenders. Bachelor’s degrees in Corrections prepare students for this profession!


A Corrections major becomes capable of handling adversity and processing information quickly. If you believe you have what it takes to succeed in this field, choose the best online Bachelor’s in Corrections degree programs from top colleges and universities!

Simplify the process of choosing the best online program for you! These factors were considered in selecting each of the top online Bachelor’s in Corrections degrees on our list:

Explore our ranking process! Check our Methodology page.

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Corrections Programs

Walden University

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Corrections and Human Services

Walden University offers a flexible online BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections and Human Services. This 181-quarter-credit program can be completed online in 48 months. Furthermore, it’s one of the top choices for transfer students; Walden accepts up to 135 transfer credits.

This online corrections degree program offers a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on two things: 

Sample courses include: 

What Makes this Program Unique:

Walden University is recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency for its excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Its criminal justice degree, regardless of concentration, will delve into crucial subjects such as cybercrime, restorative justice, and contemporary policing. You’ll benefit from learning directly from experienced experts in the criminal justice field. 

Did You Know?

At Walden University, your progress pays off! You’ll earn one tuition-free course for every three courses you complete. Plus, you’ll receive a $2,700 tuition grant. 

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University - Online

Bachelor of Science in Corrections & Juvenile Justice Studies

EKU’s 120-credit hour online Bachelor of Science in Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies prepares students to work in prison administration and offender treatment. The curriculum is mostly focused on adult correctional and juvenile justice. This online program teaches realistic activities and encounters that can prepare you for real Corrections work settings. 

The online juvenile justice and correctional programs offered by EKU could be the first step toward achieving your objectives, whether you wish to start a new job or develop in your existing one.

What Makes this Program Unique:

EKU integrates academic and professional preparation focusing on rehabilitation and evidence-based practices by offering courses on criminal justice, rehabilitation strategies for juveniles, community corrections, ethics, and juvenile justice systems. 

Did You Know?

All active duty service personnel are eligible for reduced tuition at Eastern Kentucky University, which is $250 for undergraduate programs. Students may transfer up to 90 hours of credit from recognized colleges.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Emphasis on Corrections

Southern New Hampshire University offers the online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice – Concentration in Corrections. In this program, you’ll examine how to rehabilitate offenders before, during, and after release.

Get ready to go through the following coursework in criminal justice and corrections:

The full range of services offered in corrections, including community-based monitoring and the societal causes that contribute to incarceration, are covered in this program. You will experience real problems through simulated settings and work with knowledgeable educators to find solutions.

What Makes this Program Unique:

A Communication Certificate is embedded in this Criminal Justice bachelor’s degree. In it, students develop the skills to communicate clearly when every detail counts! The Certificate, credential-enhancing that it is, is useful when applying for internships and actual work after graduation. Students also receive up to 12 credits for completing a basic police or corrections academy training course.

Did You Know?

SNHU takes pride in its massive network of more than 300,000 students and staff. Its faculty of instructors, including those facilitating the Corrections online bachelor program, offer their expertise based on real-world experience.

University of Phoenix

Bachelor of Science in Correctional Program Support Services

The University of Phoenix offers one of the most customizable corrections degree programs. The Online BS in Correctional Program Support Services at Phoenix develops students’ abilities to address the needs of people affected by the criminal justice system. This 120-credit hour program is divided into 14 core courses, 12 gen ed courses, and 14 elective courses. 

The curriculum helps you understand biopsychosocial principles, including how they relate to personal, social, and organizational problems. 

What Makes this Program Unique:

This online program deeply explores evidence-based strategies and current trends supporting diverse individuals across the community, human services, and institutional environments. You’ll learn how to apply ethical decision-making and biopsychosocial principles to administer interventions and advocate for justice-involved individuals effectively.

Did You Know?

At the University of Phoenix, you can gain career-ready skills in weeks, not years, through their focused five- to six-week courses. These programs are developed in partnership with industry experts at Lightcast to ensure they align with the current demands of the job market across all their degree offerings.

Regent University

Regent University

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Corrections

Regent University runs an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Corrections degree program. There is a focus on Criminal Law, Juvenile Justice, The Criminal Justice System, and Criminal Procedure. Students gain a better understanding of juvenile delinquency and how to prevent it.

This online Corrections program prepares students to enter the Law Enforcement industry and join government agencies nationwide. They become exposed to tackling trials, appeals, and sentences for criminal cases.

Students are also taught to think critically and ethically through courses taught from a Christian perspective.

What Makes this Program Unique:

To increase your influence and effectiveness in Corrections, this 120-credit online degree compares and studies the legal systems of Western and non-Western countries. The program integrates Christian beliefs and principles. The program is facilitated by Virginia Beach professors who hold terminal degrees in their fields.

Did You Know?

Students can find various scholarship opportunities, including academic merit and honors college scholarships, available for online learners at Regent University.

The History of Corrections

Before enrolling in an online Bachelor’s in Corrections, it pays to learn how Corrections became an academic discipline leading to a popular profession.

Did you know that the first government-run correctional system was established in 1891 through the Three Prisons Act? Before this, prisoners were kept in military forts and watched over by soldiers.

As the prison system grew, so did the need for assigned officers and guards. To this day, this position is a must in correctional facilities; only it necessitates more specialized training.

The initial American correctional facilities’ objectives were to promote reform. However, this objective quickly switched to an emphasis on safety, security, and punishment due to several issues, such as overpopulation and scarce resources.

The move from punishment to rehabilitation in the role of the correctional officer during the past few decades has been one of the most important developments.

In the late 19th century, progressive reformers pushed for more restorative approaches to prison reform. Since then, researchers and reform advocates have consistently emphasized the negative outcomes of a harsh punishment system.

Particularly, groups like the American Prison Association (now the American Correctional Association) and the National Conference of Charities and Corrections promoted the justice system to help inmates get ready for a healthy reentry into society.

The organizations promoted Corrections as a profession for humanity, justice, and accountability. Workers who seek to improve prisons and the criminal justice system are encouraged to adopt this mentality.

Skills Necessary to Work as a Correctional Officer

Skills Necessary to Work as a Correctional Officer


Would-be correctional officers need to be resilient. They should be able to use failure, setbacks, and mistakes as stepping stones in their learning journey. A leader is only strengthened and able to recover more quickly if they can handle loss or failure properly. Correctional officers shouldn’t succumb to failures and distress.

Communication Skills

Correctional officers should supervise offenders daily. And so, it’s important to have good communication skills.

Furthermore, you’ll also have to communicate with your coworkers and others. You should speak confidently to command the prisoners’ respect and attention. They should issue unambiguous directives and instructions to prevent misunderstandings or inappropriate behavior.

Correctional officials should exhibit a composed but commanding demeanor. Another communication skill these cops require when speaking with prisoners is active listening. 


To adapt to changes and new difficulties, correctional officers must have a flexible and fluid attitude cultivated through being receptive to fresh ideas and methods. We have to adjust to new circumstances virtually every day.


Concentrating solely on their profession and responding to problems logically rather than emotionally takes a lot of self-discipline. It is another invaluable trait for officers. They should handle conflicts at a facility professionally if they occur. As a result, you’ll be able to be effective in this role.

Decision-Making Skills

Correctional officers are usually front liners and frequently initiate solutions to issues within a prison. Hence, it is crucial to have good decision-making abilities.

Analytical Skills

Correctional officials should be able to recognize patterns, trends, and bizarre behavior. This way, they can make insightful inferences about data and take appropriate actions based on their findings. Analytical skills are another important skill for correctional officers.


As a public servant, you should be committed to your calling. By demonstrating your dedication to your position, you will gain the team’s respect and inspire your colleagues to take on leadership roles. Work hard each day to stop convicts’ illegal activity, maintain the facility’s security, and ensure the safety of the employees. 

Observational Skills

Correctional officers should be properly informed of all activities on the job. They should watch for unauthorized access, unlawful activity, contraband, and odd conduct.

Officers with excellent observational abilities can spot and solve potential problems early. They can protect both themselves and the convict population by acting quickly.


Collaboration and encouragement of colleagues will always be more successful than working alone. Teamwork and camaraderie raise morale at work and will help you to enjoy your job.

Physical Fitness

Lastly, physical fitness is a trait you need to put physical and not mental effort into. Being a correctional officer requires a lot of physical strength and may require the restraint of prisoners.

Many correctional officers decide to acquire martial art or other kind of combat. Since you’ll be doing many physical activities, having a well-built physique is important.

Possible Jobs to Get After Graduating from an Online Bachelor's in Corrections

Possible Jobs to Get After Graduating from an Online Bachelor’s in Corrections

Game Warden

Game wardens defend the rights of people, animals, and the environment. They inform the public and uphold the fishing, hunting, and boating legislation. After graduating with a corrections degree, this is a good job to pursue. Depending on the state or office and the degree of the role, a particular game warden job description may exist.

Correctional Case Manager

Correctional case managers assist probationers and convicts with their rehabilitation. They help people find social assistance, halfway houses, drug rehab centers, and career development opportunities.

A bachelor’s degree is often required for most jobs, and many case managers have a master’s in social work or a closely related field.

Parole Officer

You can pursue a profession as a parole officer in Corrections. Before release, parole officers work with offenders to establish a plan for how they will find employment and contribute to society. The parole officer also aids in setting up after-release support services for substance misuse or mental health issues.

When a felon is freed, the parole officer regularly checks up on them and may do drug tests. Home visits may also ensure that the formerly incarcerated person abides by all release conditions.

Prison Warden

The prison warden is the highest rank a person can have while employed at a correctional facility. Penitentiary management is the responsibility of the prison wardens. The warden needs to receive training on handling crises and keeping things from turning violent.


A detective or criminal investigator collects information and acquires evidence in criminal cases. In some cases, they work undercover while sharing their profession to get official permission to investigate is possible. As part of their duties, they conduct raids, make arrests, interview suspects, review records, and keep an eye on them. 


Bailiffs keep the peace in the courtroom by leading the jurors, witnesses, and defendants to their designated places. They maintain order throughout trials, summon the court to order, and watch over sequestered jurors.

Bailiffs are frequently police officers, and those with bachelor’s degrees are paid more and have more responsibility.

Police Officer

Although criminology graduates often take on police officer positions, some Corrections graduates can also pursue this. A police officer is a law enforcement member responsible for keeping the people of a community safe from crime.

Responding to incidents, emergencies, accidents, and criminal complaints, they patrol a designated area, looking for indications of criminal activity. 

Corrections Officer

Corrections officers oversee criminals in detention institutions, ensure that the laws and regulations are followed, keep the peace, and guard detainees according to court orders or criminal law procedures. The majority of prison officers have a bachelor’s degree or professional certification.


To help the parties engaged in a disagreement come to a mutually acceptable resolution outside of court, mediators are responsible for listening to both sides of the argument.

They frequently take on significant roles as neutral mediators in civil disputes such as divorces, custody decisions, business and employment problems, and contract disagreements. A mediator can educate the parties involved about laws and legal matters so they can come to a successful settlement.

Private Investigator

Depending on the requirements of their clients, private investigators are charged with looking into a range of complaints and crimes. Businesses and government agencies hire these professionals.

Private detectives commonly conduct investigations, such as background checks, searches for missing persons, surveillance, gathering evidence, investigating papers or financial records, and speaking with parties involved. 

Why should anyone pursue an online Bachelor's in Corrections?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should anyone pursue an online Bachelor’s in Corrections?

Closely related to a Criminal Justice degree, a Corrections major is for online students who find it interesting to explore contemporary correctional systems, criminal punishment, inmate rights, law enforcement, and criminal law in general.

Online Corrections degrees also cover assessment and diagnostic techniques for working with adult and juvenile offenders, gaining the ability to apply them, and developing your own diagnostic strategies.

How long does it take to finish an online Bachelor’s in Corrections?

The length of an online bachelor’s in corrections degree varies greatly. But on average, full-time students graduate in two to three years, while part-time students have up to six years to complete coursework.

On the other hand, accelerated online programs are made available for those who want to expedite graduation. These courses are offered in five- or eight-week terms for students who can handle the fast pace.

What role do Corrections play in the Criminal Justice industry?

Retribution entails making sure that offenders receive fair treatment. Deterrence refers to lowering the possibility that the offender will decide to commit another crime. Incapacitation refers to preventing offenders from committing crimes, and rehabilitation refers to assisting convicts in contributing to society.

In the end, all of these objectives revolve around attempting to keep community safety and reduce crime rates. You should be able to play all these roles as a correctional officer.

Summary Points

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