Correctional Treatment Specialist (Case Manager) Duties and Environment
Correctional treatment specialists most often work in the correctional system in jails or prisons. They counsel inmates that are preparing for probation, parole or release. They also work closely with the department's parole and probation officers to create education, counseling and employment plans that will help a parolee or recently released inmate adjust to life in the community. Correctional treatment specialists write reports based on their meetings with inmates that are used in meetings that determine whether an inmate should be paroled. They most often conduct their work in the prison but some work on the outside with parole officers. Much of the correctional treatment specialist's work is counseling related to anger management, drugs and sexual abuse.
Correctional treatment specialists carry large work loads. It is not uncommon to have 100 active cases. This is a stressful career and sometimes can be very dangerous, based on where much of the work is conducted and who it is conducted with. Those who do work in the field enjoy the challenge of the work and find it very rewarding.
How to Become Correctional Treatment Specialist
1) Earn a bachelor degree in criminal justice, corrections, social work, counseling, psychology, sociology or a related field. Correctional treatment specialists are employed by county, state and federal departments and are usually required to have at least a bachelor degree education.
2) Contact the county, state or federal department you are interested in working for and find out what specific work experience and advanced education requirements they want their correctional treatment specialists to have.
3) Make sure you meet their minimum application requirements and then apply.
More Correctional Treatment Specialist Requirements
Most departments require you to be at least 21 years of age, be a US citizen, and have a valid state driver's license. Educational requirements vary by department, but federal agencies want to see graduate education (master's degree) as well as work experience in a related field. Opportunities for advancement exist but may require experience and most often a master's degree in psychology, counseling or related field. Correctional treatment specialists, once hired, may have to complete training programs as well as a probation period, and pass any required certification exams. These requirement may vary depending on department and location.
In order to successfully create a rehabilitation plan a correctional treatment specialist must be able to assess and evaluate individual and group behavior. Correctional treatment specialists should be able to conduct both individual and group counseling sessions and communicate effectively. One of the primary responsibilities or requirements of a correctional treatment specialist is to be able to determine an inmate’s rehabilitation needs by evaluating court reports, pre-sentence investigation reports, their history, the nature of crime, if they have successfully completed any prior treatments, and how an inmate will respond to risk factors that resulted in their original prison sentence.
Correctional Treatment Specialist Salary and Job Outlook
As the population continues to grow, crime will continue to increase despite the advancements in law enforcement. Based on this trend, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth in this field to continue at -1 percent through 2022, which represents little or no change in growth for all occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists is $48,190. 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.