Correctional Counselor
How to Become a

Correctional Counselor

The complete career guide to be a Correctional Counselor: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $45,080
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 19.6%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Correctional counselors work with criminal offenders, both in and out of the prison systems, by helping them re-adjust and integrate back into society through therapy and customized treatment plans.

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What is a Correctional Counselor?

The following responsibilities are common for Correctional Counselors:

  • Conducts psychological examinations and uses the information gathered to create a customized treatment and rehabilitation plans
  • Assists offenders with finding housing and additional counseling
  • Collaborates with probation and parole officers and other law enforcement to develop parole and release plans
  • Maintains detailed and organized case plans on each individual inmate
  • Creates evaluation reports based on the inmates progress or decline and makes recommendations on these basis

A Day In The Life

Correctional counselors provide counseling services to inmates.  They aim to help criminal offenders strive to continue integrated in society once they are released from prison.  Upon the inmates release they conduct psychological testing, coordinate job training and educational services and helps them find housing, jobs and any additional counseling or groups they may need.

The majority of their time is spent interviewing clients and their families, observing an inmates behavior and arranging rehabilitation programs.  If the client is currently incarcerated, it is their job to create reports that evaluate the offenders behavior and progress.  Counseling inmates during and after the inmates prison sentences is also a large part of the job.  Counseling clients in areas for drug dependence or sexual abuse and providing therapy for issues like anger management.

Typical Work Schedule

The majority of work in this field is shift work.  Typically 12 hour long shifts due to the infrequency of shift changes within the prison systems for security purposes.

Projected Job Growth

Counselors, social workers and community workers are expected to see a significant increase in the job growth.

Typical Employers

The majority of employers with be state or federally run prison systems.  Some may also work for probation and parole offices as well.

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How To Become a Correctional Counselor

Those interested in a career as a correctional counselor should expect to be required to obtain an undergraduate degree in psychology, social work, counseling or criminology or a related field of study.  Coursework should include criminal justice courses, psychology and criminal psychology classes as well as addictionology.

Also, most government agencies have strict and specific requirements like, passing a background check and fingerprints examination, no criminal history and being a U.S. citizen.  At least a year of internship work is also required under a senior corrections counselor in a prison setting.

Correctional Counselor Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Correctional Counselor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Correctional Counselor's can make an average annual salary of $45,080, or $22 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $32,720 or $16 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #449 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Correctional Counselors

  • 5.4%   Doctorate
  • 48%   Masters
  • 25.1%   Bachelors
  • 5.4%   Associates
  • 10.1%   College
  • 5%   High School
  • 1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Correctional Counselor job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 26,400 jobs for a total of 160,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 19.6% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #54 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Correctional Counselors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers 23,100 7,600 8%
Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities 11,500 4,600 5%
Self-employed workers 10,200 1,900 2%

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