How to Become a Correctional Officer in Simple Steps

Correctional Officer

Correctional officer jobs are challenging. A detention officer is responsible for the supervision of inmates in prisons. They oversee the criminals serving sentences in jail or reformatory, and they also know how to handle the detainees. These detention officers enforce rules & regulations and maintain security in local or state detention centers. Private companies hire detention officers to provide detention services to prisons. Correctional officer jobs are often stressful and dangerous.

As a correctional officer, you should ensure that the prisoners abide by the rules and are disciplined. The job is hazardous and stressful. However, adequate training is given to take care of you. A correctional officer must patrol the premises and handle visual surveillance. As a correctional officer, you should ensure that the prisoners abide by the rules and are disciplined. The job is hazardous and stressful. However, adequate training is given to take care of you.

Correctional Officer Job Description

The correctional officer job is often misrepresented. Many don’t know which part is real and which part is fiction. This job is the highest risking one and has the highest rate of injuries, illness, and death. Detention officers are responsible for the care, control, and custody of people in detention centers.

The correctional officer job duties are

  • Enforcing rules and maintaining order in prisons and jails
  • Supervising inmates and various activities
  • Offering counsel to convicts and helping them with rehabilitation.
  • Checking for contraband items
  • Going on patrol duties in the detention center
  • Escorting prisoners for both internal and transfer visits.
  • Protecting the prisoner’s property, dignity, and rights
  • Coordinating with the enforcement authorities to prevent crimes.

Bring a positive influence on the lives of the prisoners.

 How to Become a Correctional Officer in Steps

Step 1: Complete a degree program

A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for corrections officers. To work in federal government prisons, you should have a bachelor’s degree.

Step 2: Correctional Officer Training

Newly hired detention officers are often required to complete on the job training. They learn about ethics, safety precaution, self-defense techniques, and crisis management.

Federal correctional officers should have a minimum of 200 hours of formal training in addition to the 120 hours of specialized training at a federal prison.

Step 3: Get a Job as a Correctional Officer

Get a job as a correctional officer(1) in federal, state, or local institutions. In some instances, Employers request the candidates to clear a drug test. Jobs at the Federal Bureau of Prisons require at least three years of full-time work experience for those who don’t hold bachelors’ degrees.

Step 4: Complete In-Service Training

To get updated on the new developments, correctional officers are often required to complete in-service training.

Types of Correctional Officer Careers

i. Probation Officer

Probation officers keep track of the prisoners released on probationary terms and monitor their activities throughout the probation period.

ii. Bailiff

Bailiff takes responsibility for the smooth operation of courtroom activities. They work under the direction of the judge.

iii. Security Officer

Security officers work to protect life and property from theft. They monitor assigned areas through visual contact or electronic surveillance and control the entry in the protected area.

iv. Police Officer

They protect the public and investigate criminal cases. Apart from this, they capture suspects and criminals and hand over them to a detention center.

v. Federal Correctional Officer

A federal correctional officer works within the federal prison system that houses inmates charged with or convicted of a crime.

vi. State Correctional Officer

They deal with prison inmates who violate state law. There is no work experience required as of Federal Correctional Officer.

Correctional Officer Training & Related Degrees

An associate degree serves as an opportunity for those already working as a corrections officer. The course lasts about two years. Interested individuals can opt for Bachelor’s Degree in Corrections, Criminal Justice, etc. There are various educational and training paths to begin a career in this field. Aspirants can get educated in vocational/trade school. Many training centers provide training to future correctional officers.

[Also Read:  How to Become a US Marshal]

How Long Does it Take to Become a Correctional Officer

There is no fixed period to become a correctional officer, and it varies with the path you choose. Working in local prisons requires a high school diploma or equivalent while working for federal prisons requires a 4-year college degree. It takes up to four years of education and 6 to 12 months of training. Three years of experience and 200 hours of on-the-job training.

Correctional Officer Salary

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for correctional officers was $44,330 as of May 2018. How much does a correctional officer make depends on the job role? A probation officer earns a median salary of $49,360. The median wage of a bailiff is $41,670. The median salary of a Security Guard is $24,630, and that of a police officer is $58,320. The highest correctional officer salary jobs are found within the federal government.

Correctional officers exhibit mental strength and emotional stability. Unlike many other jobs, correctional officers don’t have similar primary tasks. Some officers have to deal with violent inmates too.