Really specific degree titles

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Dustin, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Someone on my LinkedIn feed graduated recently from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Correctional Program Support Services.

    What's the motivation to offer such specific degree titles, is it about locking students in because credits won't tranfer, or capturing a specific vertical (students will feel like they're getting a degree focused on exactly the degree they want.) Maybe something else I'm not thinking of?
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Degree titles have nothing to do with whether credit will transfer, so I expect it's your other suggestion.
  3. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Not a correctional expert by any means, but have taught and managed correctional programs for years. From my experience, correctional program support personnel are on a very distinctly different career track compared to correctional security administration. Would be inclined to guess that they are capitalizing on the niche distinction and providing a specialized graduate program. If that’s the case, pretty neat!
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I would say it's your latter point. People feel like they are targeting a specific career path and that this might make the degree more valuable to them.

    Let's not underestimate the power of search engine optimization here, also.

    People on this forum will pour through the interwebs looking for obscure programs. Most other people will not. They are going to search for whatever they think they need the degree to say. If you are a janitor who is being told they need an associates degree to keep your job then you might google "online associates degree janitor" and so if the first result is "Associate of Applied Science in Janitorial Services and Building Maintenance" then it is probably going to grab your attention much more than an A.A. in Liberal Studies even if the coursework will be identical.

    Personally, I think it's a bad idea. I have a classmate from high school who went into a then brand new program. It was a B.S. in Artificial Intelligence. Realistically, it was a CS degree with around 18 credits of specialization. It's working out well for him now. The problem is that when he first graduated, and jobs specifically in A.I. were far fewer, people weren't reading it as a CS degree that was specialized. Cheap HR algorithms and poorly trained HR assistants were chucking his resume for not meeting basic requirements since his degree didn't actually say "Computer Science." It got to the point where he ended up taking a $9/hr job writing code for a web developer before he figured out that if he listed it as "Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Specialization in Artificial Intelligence" that his callbacks would dramatically increase.

    So I get why the schools do it. And I get why it is enticing to many would-be students who didn't want to sit down and think out how a degree in CJ, Public Administration or maybe even Business might have served their purposes just fine for being correctional support staff. That doesn't mean I'd recommend it in many cases.
    Rachel83az and SteveFoerster like this.
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I've worked in corrections as a correctional officer and counselor; it sounds like a junk degree. All types of schools are guilty of creating these specific, career-limiting online programs, especially at the graduate level. What kinds of jobs can you get if you don't live near a federal or state prison? Openings are limited at county jails and juvenile detention centers. Even if you're willing to move, most BOP case managers have graduate degrees (this is an undergraduate program). It's extremely hard to get in as an external hire unless you have veterans' preference. Many will start as correctional officers at BOP.

    I think schools create these programs to be unique from the competition and to keep people interested. It's similar to how fast food restaurants create new menu items every year. The more junk they create, the more desperate they are. You'll see the most novelty items being created at McDonald's and Burger King because the franchises and corporate locations are struggling.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Excellent point.
  7. Vicki

    Vicki Member

    I see this as a social sciences degree with a emphasis on correctional program support. Might get someone an office job in a setting that touches upon some sort of corrections. ;)
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I worked in corrections for several years. This sounds like nonsense.

    There are two basic groups running a prison: correctional officers (and their leadership) and everyone else.

    I can see an argument for a discipline of study for corrections and correctional officers. There is a distinction there, different from, say, criminal justice, police work, etc.

    But the other side, the support side? No. There is no common thread like that. Support personnel in a prison are widely varied, running from educators to healthcare providers to mental health to program managers to business managers to personnel get the idea. See, that's why they're considered support. They bring their own specialties into the corrections environment.

    Support personnel are taught the basics of corrections so they can function in that environment. Where I worked (and I ran the training academy), they received 40 hours of orientation, while correctional officers received 200 hours of training. Support personnel received 16 hours per year of refresher training while correctional officers received 40. It was a corrections environment; the support staff were prepared to do what they did within it.

    When I was an Air Force officer, I never flew in a plane on a mission. Almost all of the Air Force is that way. We all received some form of entry training--I went to basic training when I enlisted and Officer Training School to be commissioned--but we didn't go to flight school. Almost no one did, except the pilots and navigators, and they made up a tiny portion of the overall force. The rest of us supported that mission in one way or another, and our training reflected that. Same idea.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  9. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Looking at the curriculum, this is basically a case management program focused on casework and counseling. Anyone with a degree in social work sociology, criminal justice, psychology, behavioral science, counseling, or human services will do. If one is interested in working with inmates, they should take a couple of corrections courses as electives or get a minor in criminal justice using corrections courses.

    Corrections works fine as a concentration within a criminal justice program. You really don't need a degree at all to work in this field. Some people mistaken CJ programs as law enforcement/police programs when they're not. They're generalist programs. There are a growing number of CJ programs with addictions counseling, forensic science, digital forensics, financial investigations, and cybersecurity concentrations.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  10. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    My undergrad BA is technically in "Interactive Communication Processes" - usually I just tell people "Communication" since that seems to be the broad category most people understand, or "Interpersonal Communication" if I want to be more specific since the main three track divisions at the time were Strategic Comm, Interpersonal Comm, and Marketing Comm...but my diploma just says "Bachelor of Arts from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences" so many ways to go, lol.
  11. MiracleWhipz

    MiracleWhipz Member

    I know this is off topic but since you and I have similar experience and you are in a PhD program I am so curious what it is in. I just want to pick your brain lol
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Criminal justice, but I should have majored in public health like I originally intended.
    JoshD likes this.

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