How to Become A Correctional Officer

Corrections officers have the responsibility of managing prisoners who have both been arrested and are waiting for trial while in jail and those that have been sentenced to serve time in prison. Corrections officers have the responsibility of managing prisoners who have both been arrested and are waiting for trial while in jail and those that have been sentenced to serve time in prison. They also provide security and protection of the inmates from those in the prison population that may pose a threat to them.

How to Become a Correctional Officer

Typically a high school diploma or equivalent is required to fulfill the educational requirements of becoming a corrections officer.

Some local corrections agencies and states may also require some college education. However, law enforcement or military experience may substitute for this requirement in some cases. Federal employers may also require correctional officers to have at least a bachelor’s degree along with a few years of full-time experience.

Preparing to Become a Correctional Officer

Becoming a correctional officer usually involves the following steps:

  • Determining if the job is the right fit for you - Correctional officers have a challenging and demanding job, often involving direct confrontation with criminals. Hence candidates should be ready to deal with unpredictable and dangerous situations.

Candidates are required to be at least 18 to 21 years of age to apply. Applicants for federal corrections officer positions must not have turned 37 prior to their appointment.

Requirements for Employment

Job Opportunities for Corrections Officers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of correctional officers was $39,780 in May 2014.

  • Fulfill the minimum and maximum age requirements
  • Be a U.S Citizen or a permanent resident
  • Must have no felony convictions
  • Meet minimum health requirements, including eye-sight and physical fitness requirements.

  • Once educational, training and other requirements are met, the next step is to find a job as a correctional officer. Fitness requirements
    Physical fitness is one of the primary requirements assessed by employers. Candidates should be physically capable to endure the stressful environments of prisons. They may also be required to stand for long periods of time and work in hot and noisy environments. 

    Cognitive requirements
    Passing a reading, writing, and mathematics skill test is also required in order to join corrections.

    Psychological requirements
    Most employers demand candidates pass a psychological evaluation before the entering the training academy. This is required in order to authorize the candidate to use firearms, the primary skill that correctional officers must become an expert at.

    Training requirements
    It is essential for correctional officers to undergo intensive recruit training. The program duration may vary between several weeks to a couple of months. It includes instruction in different courses along with rigorous daily physical training.

    Correctional Officers Duties
    The job responsibilities of correctional officers usually include the following:
    • To enforce rules and regulation and maintain order within prisons and jails
    • To oversee the activities of prisoners and inmates
    • To assist in counseling and rehabilitation of criminals
    • To examine facilities and ensure certain standards are met
    • To check inmates for illegal or smuggled items
    • To record and report the conduct of inmates to the warden
  • Almost all correctional officers work for state, federal, and local government. Others are on the payroll of private companies that provide correctional services in prisons and jails.
    After graduation, correctional officers may be assigned where they are needed accordingly. They may work in:
    • Prisons and prison camps
    • Youth correctional facilities
    • City or county jails


The salary figures mentioned above are taken from Click Here
Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What are the steps to become a corrections officer?

A:Students interested in becoming corrections officer are required to complete their high school education first. After high school graduation, it is recommended that students complete a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement. This qualification will give students intimate knowledge about the profession. After graduation students can apply for a job with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Professionals will also have to complete on the job training when hired by the Bureau.

Q:What advantages are associated with the best correctional officer online degree?

A:There are a number of benefits associated with the best correctional officer online degree. One of the biggest advantages of online programs is that these are convenient and allow students to study at their own pace. The curriculum for these programs is extensive that covers every topic in detail. And another advantage is that these programs are comparatively inexpensive with students saving money on travel and accommodation.

Q:As I read on the correctional officer school quick schooling plans, there was mention of the course on Essentials of Sociology. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is common to get to read about the course on Essentials of Sociology while going through the Correctional Officer School Quick Schooling. This course is usually worth 2-3 credits in total. It is designed to provide students with ample understanding of the different questions and the inter relating theories and terminologies that might be used by sociologists all over the world in understanding societies.

Q:How to become a corrections officer?

A:For becoming a Corrections Officer, you must meet the minimum education and training requirements which will vary from state to state. Students can get enrolled in a relevant undergraduate program in any of the online schools listed on our website and complete the degree program at their pace and time of suitability. Upon completion of the undergrad program, students can be hired as corrections officer.

Q:Is becoming a correctional officer while studying online possible?

A:Yes it is very much possible to get most of your training on how to become a corrections officer online. Online education and training is quite flexible. This is particularly convenient for those who work part-time and are looking for a learning mechanism that will not upset their schedule. In the online course, you will learn about the history and nature of prisons across United States, along with their layout, processes and security features. This helps prepare officers for scenarios that can arise in the prison environment.

Q:Can you tell me how to become a correctional officer? And what are the requirements?

A:If you are thinking on how to become a correctional officer then it is important that you check the requirements according to your location and state. You need to have a clean criminal record and must be at least 18 years of age to apply, along with this you will need at least a high school diploma. For training you can check out certain schools that offer such training programs.

Q:How do I become a correctional officer?

A:To become a correctional officer, you should at least have a high school diploma. If you want to have better opportunities and more lucrative positions, you should go for an advanced degree in this field. A master's degree or a PHD, both are good academic options if you want a career in as correctional officer.

Q:How long does it take to become a correctional officer?

A:A corrections office is responsible for maintaining peace and order with in the prison gate and while transporting prisoners back and forth from courts. Correctional officers carry arms and are authorized to use them in case of an emergency. A typical Correctional Officers (COs) training is made up of a sixteen-week's of comprehensive training.

Q:While looking for how to become a correction officer I came across a training requirement. Is it mandatory?

A:Yes if you want to become a corrections officer you will have to take the mandatory training. This training will allow you to understand your job responsibilities and perform them in the best possible manner. Some agencies also require officers to complete on the job training in addition to the general training they have already received.

Q:How to become correctional officer?

A:You can become a correctional officer by acquiring education at bachelor and masters level. Having a high school diploma is a minimum requirement. It is recommended to earn a degree in a relevant academic field such as criminal justice. Once you complete your education, you can enroll in a training program and prepare for entry level jobs in correctional facilities.

Q:I want to become a correctional officer, but I don't know how. Can you help me out?

A:You will first need to complete your high school diploma. Once you have acquired this level of education, you can acquire training through certification programs and enrolling in sate/federal correctional training programs. These programs are career oriented and will help you understand what to expect in the field.

Q:How can i become a correctional officer with just a high school diploma?

A:A high school diploma will qualify you for a correctional officer career at entry level. You may need a bachelor degree to work as a correctional officer at federal level. A post-secondary degree will help you acquire more knowledge about law enforcement. You can also enroll in a correctional training program to enhance your skills.

Q:How long does it take to be a correctional officer?

A:The time it takes to become a correctional officer depends upon the academic route you pursue. If you opt for a bachelor degree in criminal justice, you will have to spend at least four years in college. After completion of this program, you must enroll in a training program that will equip you with necessary skills and knowledge. The duration of the training program can be anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

Q:Can you give me information on how to become a correctional officer?

A:A correctional officer is a professional who deals with criminals and must therefore understand criminal psyche and understand correctional techniques. This requires completion of a full fledge training program usually administered by local or state departments. One must have at least a high school diploma to qualify for this career.

Q:Can you tell me about the job of a correctional officer?

A:A correctional officer deals with jailed convicts. He or she maintains a sense of discipline and order among them. The job of a correctional officer is very challenging and requires extensive training. This profession requires training in terms of arms and security procedures. This is because these professionals have to protect themselves and prevent prisoners from escaping.

Q:What degree do you need to become a corrections officer?

A:To become a corrections officer, you must have at least a high school diploma. The educational requirements will vary from state to state. In some states you will need to have a post-secondary degree to work as correctional officer in federal prisons. Areas recommended for study include criminal justice, criminalistics, and business administration. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What are the requirements to become a corrections officer?

A:To become a corrections officer, you must have at least a high school diploma. A post-secondary degree is recommended as this is the minimum educational requirement in many states. You must also complete formal training at a federal, state, or local department of corrections. In a training program, you will gain insight on important subjects such as institutional policies, self-defense, and security procedures. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What do corrections officer do?

A:Corrections officers are trained professionals who supervise and oversee prisoners, or individuals who are awaiting trial. The key responsibilities of corrections officers include: enforcing rules, search prisoners, ensure security, and supervise activities of inmates. Corrections officers must make sure that all rules and regulations are being met within prisons and jails.

Q:Why become a corrections officer?

A:According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary of corrections officers was $38,970 in 2012. In addition to this, the labor bureau also estimated that the number of people working as corrections officer would grow by 5 percent from 2012 to 2022. This means that during this time period, almost 22,100 new jobs would be created. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How long does it take to become a corrections officer?

A:it takes your 1 to 2 years to become a corrections officer after you complete your high school. To work in federal prisons, correctional officers must at least have a bachelor's degree. After you have completed your bachelor's degree, you must complete a corrections training program administered by the federal or the state department for corrections. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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