Correctional Case Manager: Career Guide
Correctional case managers, or treatment specialists, provide a critical connection between the prison system and social services. They work in an advisory capacity with convicted criminals to help rehabilitate and reintroduce them to the community. Though often compared to a parole or probation officer, a correctional case manager's role differs substantially. A correctional case manager's focus is on providing direct rehabilitation and social services, such as counseling and job training. A corrections degree will help you develop the skills necessary for a successful career as a correctional case manager.
Career Description, Duties, and Common Tasks
Correctional case managers interact with inmates on a daily basis. They analyze an offender's psychological tendencies and past behaviors, including sexual abuse, drug abuse, and violence. They develop an individual treatment plan for inmates, with the goal of making a difference in the individual's future path in life. Case managers will offer counseling suggestions to help a convict deal with the results of violent outbursts, anger issues, or drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, case managers help their clients locate education opportunities and acquire job skills to ease the transition to life outside prison once they are released.
Case managers work in a variety of settings, including local, state, and federal correctional facilities, such as the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Others work with probation and parole officers in independent offices located outside of correctional institutions. Advancement is possible through years of job experience or continued education. A PhD or master's degree in related fields such as psychology, law, or criminology is necessary for advancement to some higher positions. Increasing populations in US prisons combined with earlier prisoner release numbers are causing a rise in demand for case managers.
Steps for Becoming a Correctional Case Manager
The minimum educational requirement for correctional case managers is a high school diploma or GED, though many employers expect qualified applicants to have a bachelor's degree, preferably in behavioral or social sciences or in criminal justice. Some employers may allow experience in criminal justice in place of education. Employers typically ask that qualified applicants undergo testing to ensure they are capable of functioning effectively in a physically and an emotionally demanding job. Becoming a correctional case manager may include the following steps:
- Attend a degree program or gain experience in a related field.*
- Apply for an open correctional case manager position.
- Attend an oral interview.
- Successfully complete a written and psychological examination.
- Successfully complete a physical examination, drug test, polygraph exam, and background investigation.
- Get hired as correctional case manager.
- Receive on-the-job training as a correctional case manager.
*Check job postings in your area for the typical educational and experience requirements.
Correctional Case Manager Job Training
Correctional case managers generally complete training managed by the state or the federal government, depending on the hiring organization. New hires may be put on a probationary period, especially during training, as their skills and abilities are carefully evaluated.
Other Helpful Skills and Experience
Correctional case management specialists must be detail-oriented and adhere to deadlines. In addition, they must be prepared to work with offenders who may be prone to violence or other behavior that can cause uncomfortable, or even dangerous, situations. Case management specialist candidates with previous experience working within the criminal justice system, in counseling, or in a corrections setting may have an edge over applicants who do not have such experience. Similarly, candidates who possess a degree in criminal justice may also be preferable to employers.
Possible Job Titles for This Career
- Correctional Case Management Specialist
- Correctional Case Manager
- Corrections Case Manager
- Correctional Case Treatment Specialist
Correctional Case Manager Salary and Job Outlook
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists (also known as correctional case managers) earn a median annual wage of $51,410.1 From 2016 to 2026, jobs for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is projected to grow 6%, as fast as the average for all occupations.1 This reflects 5,200 jobs added to the field, which is in addition to replacement openings as current professionals retire or move to other positions.1
If you are interested in a position as a case manager, you may also be interested in reading about these similar jobs:
- Conservation Officer
- Criminal Investigator
- FBI Agent
- Fire Investigator
- First-Line Supervisor of Correctional Officers
- Fish and Game Warden
- Homicide Detective
- Narcotics Officer
- Police Officer
- US Marshal
- Victims Advocate
- Crime Scene Investigator
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is a correctional treatment specialist's typical work schedule?
Answer: Corrections managers generally work full time and, due to typical workloads, may be required to work long hours, including nights and weekends. Some agencies may require correctional treatment specialists to be on call.
Question: Are applicants with a criminal conviction qualified?
Answer: Qualified applicants are generally considered unless they have been convicted of a felony. Certain misdemeanor offenses, such as those related to domestic violence, may be disqualifiers. Check with a particular job posting for requirements related to that job.
Question: Can correctional treatment specialists join a union?
Answer: Yes. Like many other law enforcement-related positions, correctional treatment specialists frequently join unions.
- American Correctional Association: Founded in 1870, the ACA is an educational resource for corrections professionals.
- International Community Corrections Association: The ICCA is a resource for correctional professionals including access to events, articles, and other resources.
- National Institute of Corrections: The NIC is a resource for corrections professionals offering a library, industry news, and training opportunities.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm