Top 35 Accredited Corrections Schools

Becoming a correctional officer is an inspiring ambition to attain. The job can be quite challenging and, at the same time, very rewarding. If you want to work in the corrections system, some education beyond a high school diploma is highly recommended. While many state, county and city corrections facilities require just a high school diploma in order to work in corrections, federal correctional officers need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Advanced correctional positions at the federal level require graduate education. Whether or not the job description requires one, however, having a certificate or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminology, law enforcement, corrections or a related field can help you to advance in your career as a correctional officer.

Accredited Corrections Programs

When you hear that a college or university is accredited, what does that mean? Accreditation means that one or more peer evaluation agencies have reviewed a college or university’s educational programs and have assured their quality. Schools may be accredited, as are departments within the schools. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a national Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. The U.S. Department of Education notes that accredited institutions offer students assurance of quality education, a higher probability of admission and credit transfer to other institutions, and credibility of the degree with employers.

Major nationally recognized accreditation agencies include:

  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
  • Council on Occupational Education (COE)
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools (MSCSS)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • New York State Board of Regents, and the Commissioner of Education (NYSED)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
  • WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC)

How We Chose the Top 35 Accredited Corrections Schools

The following programs were chosen from schools offering correctional programs across the United States. These top 35 accredited correctional schools across the United States were chosen because, in addition to offering outstanding programs at the certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree levels, programs at the following schools hold accreditation through one or more education accreditation agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Each accredited school below offers at least one program at the undergraduate level that can lead to a career in corrections. 

Flexibility in Corrections Programs

The programs found below are a mixture of on campus, online and hybrid. Many of them offer year-round enrollment or start times throughout the year. Others may offer accelerated programs for those who want to finish their degree program more quickly and get to work in the corrections field. Programs to fit all lifestyles and types of students can be found below.

Real-World Experience Can Be Gained at These Schools

Most of the corrections programs listed below offer students internships, practicums or field placements. Whether the programs are offered online or on campus, these programs provide students with the experience necessary to make sure that corrections is the right field for them. Internships these days are much more flexible than they were in the past, in keeping with the changes in technology and how we learn. Many of these internships require students to find their own placements, which tends to work well with students who have other commitments and busy lives outside of school.

Highly Respected, Widely Recognized Schools

These schools are all highly respected, not only for their corrections programs but for other degree programs as well. You will likely recognize many of their names and might be surprised to find out that they offer degrees that can lead to a career in corrections. 

You will find that not every state is represented in the list below. The schools that are listed, however, have been found to contain some of the highest quality, most well-recognized, and most highly respected programs in the country that will lead to jobs in the correctional field. 

Alabama

Alabama State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Specialization in Corrections
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered On Campus in Montgomery, AL
  • Contact:

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program at Alabama State University offers a specialization in Corrections (as well as specializations in Juvenile Justice and Law Enforcement). It is housed within the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, and features a diverse range of courses that will provide you with a broad scope of knowledge in criminal justice. An innovative partnership between ASU and the Alabama Department of Corrections has led to valuable internship opportunities for students. 

Arizona

Arizona State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science – Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered Online and On-Campus in Phoenix, West Campus, Lake Havasu, and Yuma, AZ
  • Contact:

Arizona State University’s BS in Criminology & Criminal Justice gives students explanations for crime from sociological, biological, psychological and economic perspectives. Housed within the Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions, this program also features an accelerated option, along with a bachelor’s to master’s degree program for students who are interested in pursuing graduate education.

California

Fresno State, California State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminology – Corrections
  • Accreditor(s):
    • WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Fresno, CA
  • Contact:

As part of the California State University system, Fresno State’s BS in Criminology features a specialization in Corrections. Housed within the college’s Department of Criminology, 16 full-time faculty members (along with some part-time faculty) provide a broad range of experience which they pass on to students. An honors program is offered to students who meet criteria (which includes a 3.5 GPA). 

Colorado

Metropolitan State University of Denver

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice & Criminology
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered On Campus in Denver, CO
  • Contact:
    • Department of Criminology at (303) 615-1300 

Metropolitan State University of Denver’s BS in Criminal Justice & Criminology gives students the chance to study abroad in South Korea, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. Students within the program explore the cause and effect of criminal behavior and victimization. A substantial internship program is provided, with placements available in a variety of agencies and facilities. 

Connecticut

Post University

  • Degree(s):
    • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Correctional Counseling
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Corrections
  • Accreditor(s):
    • NECHE
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Waterbury, CT
  • Contact:

Post University’s BS in Criminal Justice is housed within the John P. Burke School of Public Service and Education. The school offers two concentrations in Corrections: Correctional Counseling, which blends criminal justice, sociology, and human services with corrections; and Corrections, focusing on the history, operations and management of correctional institutions and communities as well as prisoners’ rights.

District of Columbia

University of the District of Columbia

  • Degree(s):
    • Associate of Applied Science – Corrections Administration
    • Bachelor of Arts – Administration of Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • MSCHE
  • Offered On Campus in Washington, D.C.
  • Contact:

Housed within the university’s Crime, Justice & Security Studies Program, the BA and A.A.S. programs in Administration of Justice and Corrections Administration teaches students the ethical foundation and commitment to human rights that is necessary to succeed in the field. Traditional classroom courses combine with online and blended courses to create a flexible program.

Florida

Eastern Florida State College

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Management – Public Safety Management
    • Associate of Science – Criminal Justice Technology
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Cocoa, FL
  • Contact:

Admission into Eastern Florida State University’s B.A.S. program requires that you have either an A.S. or an A.A. degree – an A.A.S. does not meet eligibility requirements. You can study 100% online, on campus, or in a blended, hybrid fashion. The A.S. in Criminal Justice Technology prepares you for entry-level employment in corrections and criminal justice. 

Georgia

University of Georgia

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered On Campus in Athens, GA
  • Contact:

With joint administration by the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Public & International Affairs, University of Georgia’s BA in Criminal Justice offers a liberal arts education blended with specialized criminal justice topics. Completion of an internship is a requirement to graduate. Previous corrections placements include Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole in Atlanta and Department of Community Supervision in Athens.

Illinois

Danville Area Community College

  • Degree(s):
    • Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice – Corrections Parole Officer
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered On Campus in Danville, IL
  • Contact:

The A.A.S. in Corrections Parole Officer degree at Danville Area Community College is considered a career degree. It is not intended for transfer to a four-year university. However, the program has been articulated to some four-year programs at colleges such as Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, and Indiana State University. 

Indiana

Indiana Institute of Technology

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Rehabilitative Services
    • Associate of Science – Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered Online and On-Campus in Fort Wayne, IN
  • Contact:

Indiana Institute of Technology’s criminal justice programs are housed within the College of Arts & Sciences. Students take courses in criminal investigation, police work, juvenile justice, corrections, crime scene analysis, police operations, law, and criminal profiling. A specialization in Rehabilitative Services is available for those who wish to work in probation, parole and aftercare. 

Kansas

Pittsburg State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Justice Studies
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Pittsburg, KS
  • Contact:
    • Dr. Keeyoon Noh, Asst. Professor at (620) 235-4328 

Pittsburg State University’s BS program in Criminal Justice-Justice Studies is housed within the school’s History, Philosophy and Social Sciences Department. As such, this program offers a comprehensive degree that is designed for those entering corrections, law enforcement and other legal careers.

Kentucky

Lindsey Wilson College

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice- Corrections
    • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Columbia, KY
  • Contact:

Students enrolled in the BA in Criminal Justice-Corrections program at Lindsey Wilson College must complete a semester-long internship prior to graduation. This gives them great experience in the field as well as valuable hands-on training and learning. In addition to Corrections, students can specialize in Law Enforcement and the Courts. 

Maryland

Baltimore City Community College

  • Degree(s):
    • Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement and Correctional Administration 
  • Accreditor(s):
    • MSCHE
  • Offered On Campus in Baltimore, MD
  • Contact:

Housed within the Education, Social Science and Behavioral Sciences program at Baltimore City Community College, the A.A.S. in Law Enforcement and Correctional Administration trains students to work with both juvenile and adult offenders. A semester of fieldwork is included in the program to give students real-world experience in corrections.

Massachusetts

Bay Path University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies – Public Safety & Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • NECHE
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Longmeadow, Massachusetts
  • Contact:

Bay Path University is a women’s college, and therefore the BA in Justice Studies program is only open to women. Its American Women’s College (also only available to women students) offers the online accredited degree program for those who choose to study online. Its online graduate programs, however, are open to women and men.

Michigan

Lake Superior State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Corrections
    • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice – Corrections
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered On-Campus in Sault Ste Marie, MI (online courses are available)
  • Contact:

Lake Superior State University encourages students to take a second major or minor along with their BS in Criminal Justice-Corrections program. The Corrections specialization combines natural resource education with law enforcement training. Students may also complete an Associate to Bachelor degree program.

Minnesota

Saint Cloud State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Studies – Corrections and Re-Entry
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered On Campus in Saint Cloud, MN (online courses are available)
  • Contact:

Saint Cloud State University’s BA in Criminal Justice Studies- Corrections and Re-Entry program is housed within the School of Public Affairs and offers students over 130 internship sites across Minnesota. Additionally, more than a dozen education abroad programs are available for interested students, with destinations such as South Africa, Australia, Germany, and England.

Missouri

Missouri Valley College

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice- Corrections, Probation & Parole
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered On Campus in Marshall, MO
  • Contact:

Housed within the school’s Division of Social Sciences, Missouri Valley’s BS in Criminal Justice with a Corrections, Probation & Parole emphasis offers students small classes and many opportunities for hands-on learning. Additionally, Criminal Justice students may be eligible to join Pi Gamma Mu, an international Honor Society in Social Studies.

Nevada

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • NWCCU
  • Offered On Campus in Las Vegas, NV
  • Contact:

UNLV’s Greenspun College of Urban Affairs hosts this BA in Criminal Justice, which gives students a deeper understanding of the nature and causes of delinquency and crime, the meaning and origins of social control and law, the nature of the criminal justice system, and ideas on reducing delinquency and crime. 

New Jersey

Saint Peter’s University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice- Corrections
  • Accreditor(s):
    • MSCHE
  • Offered On Campus in Jersey City, NJ
  • Contact:

Saint Peter’s University’s BA in Criminal Justice offers a concentration in Corrections. This includes two semester-long internships, as well as courses in Personality; Abnormal Psychology; Drugs, Society and Human Behavior; Leadership for Criminal Justice; and Comparative Justice Systems. Other concentrations available include Law and Justice, Police Administration, Investigative Sciences and Profiling, Criminal Research & Intelligence Analysis, Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics, and Foundations of Law.

New Mexico

Western New Mexico University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Corrections
    • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Silver City, NM
  • Contact:
    • Connie Rooks at (575) 538-6404 

Offering concentrations in Law Enforcement and Corrections, Western New Mexico University’s BS in Criminal Justice integrates sociology, psychology, political science, social work, and management into the curriculum. The school’s Criminal Justice Club, as well as Alpha Phi Sigma, take trips to visit corrections employers throughout the Southwest

New York

Hilbert College

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Concentration in Corrections
    • Associate in Arts in Criminal Justice 
  • Accreditor(s):
    • MSCHE
  • Offered Online and in Hamburg, NY
  • Contact:

The hands-on nature of instruction, many and varied internship opportunities, and faculty with years of law enforcement experience combine to make Hilbert College’s BS in Criminal Justice-Concentration in Corrections program one of the most well-recognized in New York. Additionally, Hilbert offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Criminal Justice in five years.

North Carolina

Guilford College

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Community and Justice Studies
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered On Campus in Greensboro, NC (some courses offered online)
  • Contact:

Guilford’s Department of Justice and Policy Studies partners with community groups to emphasize the understanding of public service organizations, public policy values, problem solving, civic activism, and how to change organizations This helps to create an interdisciplinary approach to learning in the Criminal Justice and Community and Justice Studies programs. 

Ohio

Kent State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Justice Studies- Corrections Concentration
    • Associate of Science in Criminology and Justice Studies
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered Online (AS program only) and On Campus in Kent and Stark, OH
  • Contact:

Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences – Department of Sociology hosts the BA in Criminology and Justice Studies- Corrections Concentration program. Students may choose from multiple concentrations, with Corrections, Criminology and Deviance, Justice and Human Relations, Law and Society, Policing, Victimology, and General Criminology and Justice Studies among them.  A Bachelor’s to Master’s degree program is also available.

Oklahoma

Langston University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Corrections
    • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered On Campus in Langston and Oklahoma City, OK
  • Contact:

Founded in 1897, Langston University is the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the state of Oklahoma. Its BS in Corrections program combines social justice, tolerance, and respect for all people, as well as coursework combined with hands-on learning. Graduates are advocates of social equality as well as specialists in corrections. 

Oregon

Clackamas Community College

  • Degree(s):
    • Associate of Applied Science – Criminal Justice – Corrections Option
  • Accreditor(s):
    • NWCCU
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Oregon City, Harmony and Wilsonville, OR
  • Contact:

Contained within Clackamas’ Education, Human Services and Criminal Justice Department, the A.A.S. in Criminal Justice-Corrections option offers small classes with experienced instructors combined with hands-on experience in correctional agencies. The program integrates an interdisciplinary approach to corrections, including psychological, social and biological behavioral perspectives

Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Law, Criminal Justice, and Society
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • MSCHE
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Pittsburgh, Greenburg, and Bradford PA
  • Contact:

Students in the University of Pittsburgh’s BA in Criminal Justice program have the opportunity to study abroad in London, England at the Global Seminar on Wrongful Conviction. The College of General Studies houses the BA in Law, Criminal Justice and Society degree and offers courses online, on campus and in a hybrid fashion.

South Carolina

Benedict College

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered On Campus in Columbia, SC (some courses may be offered online)
  • Contact:
    • Criminal Justice Dept. at (803) 253-5000

Benedict’s program, resulting in a BS in Criminal Justice Administration, gives students a thorough knowledge of justice administration and law enforcement. This includes public service, field operations, order maintenance, and policies and procedures. A minor or concentration is also available in Public Safety Administration and Management.

Tennessee

Middle Tennessee State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Murfreesboro, TN
  • Contact:
    • Dept. of Criminal Justice Administration at (615) 898-2630 or cjadept@mtsu.edu

Middle Tennessee State’s BS in Criminal Justice Administration program offers students the opportunity to study abroad in London, England. Concentrations are possible in Law Enforcement and Homeland Security. The degree may be completed totally online, in-person, or a combination of both.

Texas

Central Texas College

  • Degree(s):
    • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice – Corrections Specialization 
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Kileen, TX and Fort Pendleton, CA
  • Contact:

The A.A.S. degree in Criminal Justice with a Corrections specialization at Central Texas College is designed to prepare you to become a Corrections Officer, Probation or Parole Officer, or Correctional Treatment Specialist. The fact that it can be completed online, in Texas, or in California (or a combination of these) makes it a highly flexible accredited program that fits into many students’ lifestyles.

Utah

Dixie State University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts/Science in Criminal Justice- Criminology Emphasis
    • Bachelor of Arts/Science in Integrated Studies – Criminal Justice Emphasis
    • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • NWCCU
  • Offered On Campus in St. George, UT
  • Contact:

Dixie State’s Department of Applied Sociology and Criminal Justice hosts the BA/BS in Criminal Justice program. Minors are available in Criminology, Digital Defense & Security, and Social Justice. The Integrated Studies Department hosts the BA/BS in Integrated Studies-Criminal Justice program, which takes a more interdisciplinary approach to the study of criminology. 

Vermont

Champlain College

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Accreditor(s):
    • NECHE
  • Offered On Campus in Burlington, VT
  • Contact:

Champlain College’s unique Upside-Down Curriculum allows students in the first two years of the Criminal Justice program to take upper-level courses. The Career Collaborative assists them in beginning an internship or externship prior to the start of their sophomore year. These unique qualities combine to make this one of the best BS in Criminal Justice programs in the country. 

Virginia

Paul D. Camp Community College

  • Degree(s):
    • Associate of Applied Science in Administration of Justice – Specialization in Corrections Science
  • Accreditor(s):
    • SACSCOC
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Franklin, Suffolk and Smithfield, VA
  • Contact:

The A.A.S. in Administration of Justice-Corrections Science program at Paul D. Camp Community College teaches students about the major criminal justice system components including law enforcement, the judiciary and corrections. It helps prepare students for careers as correctional officers, probation/parole officers, police officers, in federal law enforcement, and as industrial/commercial security officers.

Washington

Seattle University

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Criminology and Forensics – Specialization in Administration of Justice
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Criminology and Forensics – Specialization in Criminology & Criminal Justice Theory
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Criminology and Forensics- Specialization in Forensic Psychology
  • Accreditor(s):
    • NWCCU
  • Offered On Campus in Seattle, WA (some courses may be offered online)
  • Contact:

Seattle University’s Criminal Justice, Criminology & Forensics Department takes a collaborative approach to teaching criminal justice. It offers interdisciplinary courses from the arts and the sciences to help students understand the many facets of the study of crime and society’s responses to crime. Students also have the opportunity to complete a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Program in 5 years, or a Bachelor of Arts with Specialization in Law Program for 6 years.

West Virginia

Bluefield State College

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, Corrections Concentration
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered On Campus in Bluefield and Beckley, WV
  • Contact:

The Corrections Concentration in the BS in Criminal Justice Administration program at Bluefield State College prepares students for careers in corrections, probation and parole, or counselors at the federal, state and local level. An Honors College is available for students with a 3.25 minimum GPA.

Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

  • Degree(s):
    • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice – Corrections Emphasis
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Corrections Emphasis
  • Accreditor(s):
    • HLC
  • Offered Online and On Campus in Platteville, WI
  • Contact:

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s BA/BS program in Criminal Justice-Corrections offers flexible options, including online, on campus and a mixture of both. It also hosts a Criminal Justice Career Day each year, in which students have the opportunity to network with 100 tri-state criminal justice agencies.