Correctional Counselor Career Roles

Learn about the exciting and challenging job of correctional counselor.

The Basics

Where you'll work: Correctional counselors work in jails and prisons, or in parole or probation agencies.

What you'll do: Those working in rehabilitation use their correctional counselor training to evaluate the progress of inmates in jails and prisons. You'll work with inmates, probation officers, and other agencies to develop parole and release plans. You'll also provide case reports to the parole board when their clients are eligible for release.

Degree you'll need: Bachelor's degree

Median annual salary: $48,190*

Correctional Counselor Job Duties

prisoner behind bars waiting to talk to her correctional counselor

In addition to job duties listed above, correctional counselors plan educational and training programs for offenders, and counsel them either individually or in groups on coping skills, anger management skills, and drug or sexual abuse prevention.

Correctional counselors, also known as case managers, correctional treatment specialists and drug treatment specialists, create rehabilitation plans for prison inmates and parolees.

Correctional Counselor Education

To become a correctional counselor you'll need a 4-year bachelor's degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology or a related area to work in the field. Many correctional treatment specialists have master's degree in criminal justice, social work or psychology.

Most correctional counselors work as trainees for about 6 months, then obtain a permanent position. A typical agency has several levels of correctional treatment specialists, as well as supervisors.

Licensing and Certification for Correctional Counselors

At minimum, you'll need to be a U.S. citizen over 20 years old, not be a convicted felon, have a bachelor's degree, and pass several competitive written, oral, psychological and physical examinations. Some states require that correctional treatment specialists take certification tests during or after the completion of training.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15; Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.