As a Louisiana resident interested in becoming a corrections officer, it’s only natural for you to have a lot of questions about the field and how to get started in it. A question that quite a few prospective corrections officers have concerns what the process of becoming a corrections officer is like.

The answer, in all honesty, is that it’s actually quite different for everyone. That’s because there’s no one, prescribed way to enter into the field; people come to work in the field in a wide variety of different ways. It’s up to you to decide which path of entry is the best choice for you.

Certainly, the vast majority of modern people enter into the field of corrections through a formal post secondary education. Today, this can be completed online or through a traditional college or university, or even through a community college.

Areas of concentration vary significantly from one person to another, but common majors include corrections, criminal justice, criminology, police science, psychology, and many others. Degree levels also vary as well. People have entered into the field with associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, PhDs, and even with certificates alone. Only you can decide which major and degree level is your personal best fit.

For some people, formal education is not the answer. Whether a person doesn’t enjoy school, doesn’t have the money and can’t get the funding to attend college, or just doesn’t want to commit that much time to a degree program, there are other options.

In the state of Louisiana, there are several intensive training programs that prepare individuals for careers as corrections officers. These programs do not result in a degree, but students do “graduate” and often receive a diploma or certificate upon completion. More importantly, they are often quick, surefire ways to employment in the field.

Of course, some people don’t go to school or complete a training program. Instead, they enter into the corrections field through another, usually related line of work.

Police officers, courtroom bailiffs, sheriffs, juvenile officers, members of the military, investigators and detectives, and many other people involved in justice and/or law enforcement often grow tired of their current jobs and need a change of pace and, when they do, turning to corrections is common.

Since these people have such related experience, they are often able to walk right into new careers in the field.

Obviously, the journey to becoming a corrections officer is quite different for different people. No matter how you choose to go about it, the most important thing is that you take the time to determine whether a career in corrections is really the right fit for you before you start.

Corrections is certainly not for everyone. It takes an assertive, strong minded, hardworking person , but also a person who is kind, ethical, and patient, to work in corrections. You also have to be involved in the field for the right reasons–not for money or prestige, but out of a desire to truly help others and to better their lives.

Remember too that in addition to meeting this criteria, you have to be at least eighteen or twenty-one years of age, depending upon the job, have no felony convictions on your record, and be in excellent mental and physical health, as determined by testing.

You also must be drug free. If you meet all of the qualifications and are serious about a career in corrections, then there’s nothing left to do but to pursue one of these paths or forge your own.