Within the criminal justice system, all prisoners should receive equal treatment, but that is not always the case. Gang members, sex offenders, or individuals with mental or chronic physical health issues may create special challenges for correctional officers. These challenges can make rehabilitation in the criminal justice system more challenging for individuals with special needs. A special populations degree examines the needs of these individuals and considers how they can be more effectively rehabilitated in the future.
Online Degrees in Criminal Justice for Special Populations
The special populations degree is a highly focused segment of criminal justice. It is most often available as a criminal justice degree specialization, or even simply as an individual course or special seminar within a criminal justice degree plan. There are, however, a select few programs that offer an online degree in special populations. This degree is a good choice for students who are specifically interested in understanding and improving the treatment of special populations within the criminal justice system.
Career Paths in Special Populations
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in special populations often follow careers in corrections or social work. Though the specialization may be highly focused, it offers a good background in criminal justice, allowing professionals with this degree to work in a variety of areas within the criminal justice system to better serve individuals in special populations.
Special populations degrees most often lead to a career as a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist. In this career, you’ll have the opportunity to work directly with individuals in special populations and consider how they can be better served by the criminal justice system.
This field of work boasts both a promising career outlook, which includes a 4% job growth rate between 2019 and 2029, and a strong earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), probation officers and other correctional treatment specialists earned an average salary of $61,900 as of May 2020. Those with just a few years of experience earned about $43,720 during this time, which represents the 25th percentile, while the profession’s most seasoned pros earned about $98,510, which represents the 90th percentile.
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed June 2021.
National job growth projections for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net database (2019-2029).
Special Populations Degree Curriculum
Understanding special populations within the criminal justice systems means that first, you’ll need to understand the criminal justice system itself. Your special populations degree curriculum is likely to include the foundations of criminal justice with a special focus on minority populations, social work, and counseling. Courses may include:
- Corrections and incarceration
- Social work
Start Serving Special Populations in Criminal Justice
Begin your career in special populations with an online degree in criminal justice. Search our schools to find the right online special populations degree for your future — and the future of specially challenged individuals in criminal justice.