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Certificate in Criminal Behavior

Certificate in Fundamentals of Correctional Psychology with Assessment

Gain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential to working within correctional settings.

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Certificate in Fundamentals of Correctional Psychology with Assessment Overview

The advanced practice certificate in fundamentals of correctional psychology supports mental health professionals working within, or seeking to work within, correctional systems to attain the skills, knowledge, and attitudes essential to success and safety. It is also designed to support those already within the system to enhance their knowledge and skills.


Program Highlights

Pathway to a Master’s

The credits from this certificate coursework can be applied toward earning your master of science degree in forensic behavioral science or forensic leadership administration.

Taught Online

The program is offered online giving you the flexibility to complete your coursework virtually and from a location of your choice.

Forensic Assessment Focus

This program supports students in discerning the purposes and differences between clinical and forensic assessments in correctional settings.



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Degree Information

Curriculum Plan

Course One: Developing a Correctional Professional Identity

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the field of correctional psychology, and of the unique relational factors that contribute to or hinder realization of professional identity within correctional settings. In this program you’ll learn about the unique culture of correctional institutions, and the health professional’s role as a member of an inter-professional team. You’ll explore the factors associated with successful and intentional development of a solid professional identity, including addressing difficult situations within corrections, common lapses in judgment and missteps that occur in correctional institutions, conditions that lead to burn out, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, strategies for self-care, and best practices for conflict resolution in an adversarial environment. Special emphasis will be placed on ethical decision-making in the correctional setting.

Course Two: Developmental Bases of Criminal Behavior

This course will explore the major distinctions between normative and criminal human development, including the major theories of personality development as related to criminal behavior. The impact of various factors on criminal behavior, including macro-level factors (culture, media, political context), neuroscientific factors, and major theories of cognitive development, related to criminal behavior.

Course Three: Evidence-based Practices in Corrections

This course reviews the particular impact of common and co-morbid physical, psychological, and environmental conditions on clinical intervention in correctional settings. The impact of institutional resources and priorities on treatment planning is explored. Common treatment interventions used in the correctional environment, including motivational interviewing and various cognitive-behavioral and psychoeducational interventions, are reviewed and practiced. The course will also review basic psychopharmacology commonly used in correctional settings. You’ll learn best practices specific to correctional settings, including establishing a therapeutic alliance, including the strategies for working with resistant patients; counter-transference issues that arise when working within correctional settings; and special considerations, such as screening for and treating suicidality and homicidality.

Course Four: Assessment in Correctional Settings

This course supports you in discerning the purposes and differences between clinical and forensic assessments in correctional settings. It explores how legal standards inform your choice of assessment tools, and the commonly employed assessments and the specific considerations for interpretation when working with correctional populations.


Links and Downloads

School Performance Fact Sheet


Frequently Asked Questions


Is this course taught online or on-campus?

The certificate program is offered online. All classes and coursework can be completed virtually, allowing you flexibility with your schedule.


Are scholarships and financial aid available?

Yes, there are private and public scholarships to help you meet the cost of your education and Alliant offers institutional scholarships for many of our students. Learn more about these scholarship opportunities here. Additional financial aid is available for those who qualify in the form of loans, grants, federal work study, and military aid. Learn more in our Financial Options Guide.


Why Alliant

At Alliant, our mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership and to promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve lives. We offer an education that is accredited, focused on practical knowledge and skills, connected with diverse faculty and alumni, and aimed at the student experience.

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CSFS is dedicated to graduating rigorously educated and trained professionals who impact society, public opinion, and policy by applying science in preventing, investigating, and mitigating conflict and violence. CSFS is a corporate partner of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and many of our advanced practice certificates are eligible for continuing education credit.


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