If you’re an Illinois resident interested in pursuing a career in the field of corrections, then you probably have a lot of questions. Undoubtedly, however, your biggest questions likely center upon how to get started turning those career dreams into reality.
You might be surprised to know that there is no one “right” answer to this question. There are a wide variety of ways in which you can pursue a career in corrections. Just how you go about it is entirely up to you, so enjoy the freedom you have and find what works for you!
First and foremost, you should know that there are some basic qualifications for working in corrections. Depending upon the job that you wish to have, you will either be required to be at least eighteen years of age or at least twenty-one years of age.
You must also have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. Furthermore, you must be drug free and in excellent physical and mental health. Prior to employment, you will be tested for drug use and will also undergo psychological and health evaluations. You should not have any felony convictions on your record, and a clean criminal background is best.
If you meet these requirements, then you are almost ready to start exploring the field and all of your many options. One thing you should do before you start, though, is to honestly assess yourself and why you want to go into corrections. The corrections field is not right for everyone.
You must be strong, unafraid of dealing with criminals and difficult people, and assertive, but also understanding, compassionate, and fair. Furthermore, you should be able to leave work at work at the end of the day.
Not possessing this skill is an easy way to get burnt out on the field quite quickly! Also make sure that you are going into corrections for the right reason–because you think you will love the work and want to make a difference–not just for the pay or the prestige.
If, after considering all of these things, you still feel a career in corrections is right for you, then it’s time to start planning your career and how you will get there! The most common way is to obtain a degree in corrections or in a related field.
Your degree can be in, for example, psychology, criminology, criminal justice, legal studies, or a wide variety of other areas. It can be an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or even a PhD, depending upon how far you want and are willing to go.
There are no right or wrong answers here–it’s simply about choosing an educational program that is right for you. You also have to make sure that educational program is situated at an accredited college or university, online or traditional, to avoid wasting your valuable time, money, and perhaps most importantly, your effort and energy.