The National Institute for Jail Operations developed the Professional Certification Program in response to the need to provide a respected national certification for individuals looking for a process that involved legal-based curriculum by an organization which supports and defends their agencies’ worthy goals and objectives. NIJO Professional Certification is a professional designation – earned not issued – for jail and detention officers, supervisors, administrators and sheriffs who have demonstrated to possess the requisite understanding, knowledge, skills, experience and abilities to function to a specific level.
NIJO provides three distinct levels of professional certification for individuals seeking for career development and advancement in their field.
National Certified Corrections Officer (NCCO)
National Certified Corrections Supervisor (NCCS)
National Certified Corrections Executive (NCCE)
Certification requirements are set by the NIJO Certification Board. The requirements vary for each designated certification level but generally include background prerequisites, work experience, legal-based training and education coupled with testing to ensure comprehension of critical areas of focus.
- Civil Liability & Risk Management
- Corrections Law
- Inmate Management
- Inmate Communication
- Inmate Safety, Security and Welfare
- Inmate Health Care
- Use of Force & Restraints
- Religious Exercise, Marriage and LGBTI Issues
- Emergency Planning and Response
- Personnel Management
The NIJO Certification Board may consider trainings or courses not listed under specific requirements to meet the certified hour requirements on a case-by-case basis as requested by the applicant.
Due to the degree of scrutiny and litigation correctional officers and administrators face regularly, NIJO emphasizes the importance of certification programs based on what the law requires rather than best practices that do not promote practices that are constitutionally safe. Because liability and risk management is intertwined with training, NIJO requires 100% comprehension testing for certification. This provides the individual and agency with an added level of confidence in defending itself against frivolous litigation attacks on incomplete or inadequate training.
To ensure efficiency and keep the cost of certification as low as possible, the certification registration process is done entirely online. When the applicant has met and provided documentation of all the necessary requirements, the NIJO Certification Board will verify the information for final approval. Applicants are notified by email upon approval with recognition of the achievement.
There is a one-time nonrefundable application fee which varies for each designation level. This fee covers the administrative costs of operating and maintaining the program. It does not include any incurred costs associated with meeting the specified requirements for certification. There are no deadlines or time limitations for NIJO Certification and individuals may take as long as necessary to complete the requirements as long as they are fully met. An applicant who does not complete the certification process will not be given a refund.
Achieving NIJO Certification is a significant accomplishment and reflects intense training, effort, experience and comprehension so that the individual confidently knows and can follow clearly established laws and procedures in fulfilling his or her duties within a correctional facility.
Agencies are encouraged and may choose to recognize individuals who have earned the distinction of being NIJO Certified. The accomplishment is also proudly recognized by NIJO as follows:
- Matted and individualized NIJO Certificate of Achievement
- NIJO Certification Pin (may be worn on uniform as approved by administration)
- Official NIJO Letter of Commendation for Achievement to recipient
- Name of recipient listed on NIJO website (with agency if desired)
- Recognition at upcoming NIJO Regional Conference (nearest the recipient)