Provisional certification: a new benefit for students.

Author:Dobrzanska, Ania
Position:Professional Development Update

On Nov. 3, 2004, the American Correctional Association's Corrections Certification Program administered for the first time a certified corrections officer/provisional (CCO/P) examination to a student, Amanda Ly.

Ly is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in criminal justice at the University of Maryland University College. She is studying the nature of crime and the institutions and processes that prevent and respond to crime in a democratic society. Upon graduating, Ly plans to enroll in a graduate program in social work. Eventually, she would like to work with inmates and their families.

Ly learned about the certification program from William W. Sondervan, Ed.D., CCE, who was her professor at the university and who is director of the ACA Professional Development Department. Sondervan has high standards, inspiring students to lead the justice system into the 22nd century.

For her certification examination, Ly studied the suggested reading material and successfully passed what is known to be a challenging exam. "I put a lot of effort into my preparation," Ly said. "Since I do not currently work in corrections, all of the information was new to me." Familiarizing herself with the suggested study material broadened Ly's knowledge, adding confidence to her understanding of the field. "I studied the material for hours and ended up with about 50 pages of notes," Ly added. "I thought the test was fair and covered the major points of the material."

Certification provides Ly with provisional recognition as a qualified correctional practitioner. And the designation--CCO/P--which she may now use with her name, distinguishes her as having achieved the first stage of a professional-level knowledge of the corrections field.

The Student Provisional Certification Program

Ly's accomplishment illustrates how the certification program now provides a national method by which graduating students and department of corrections training academy cadets can gain recognition as qualified correctional practitioners. Graduating students and cadets may take an examination, and upon passing, receive provisional certification. They become fully certified after one year of satisfactory performance on the job as rated by their immediate supervisor. Provisional certification is offered in two categories: certified corrections supervisor/provisional (CCS/P); and CCO/P.

CCS/P. This category includes students graduating from a four-year college/university who have...

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