Correctional Officer Job Facts

Getting a correctional officer job could be exactly what you need for a fulfilling career. There will always be a large demand for correctional officers all across the country. Here are the basics of what to expect when you are a correctional officer.

Becoming a Correctional Officer

In order to become a correctional officer, you will have to have at least a high school diploma in most cases. If you plan on trying to work for a federal prison, you will typically have to have at least a bachelors degree. If you do not have a bachelors degree, sometimes they will hire people that have at least three years of experience in another prison. Regardless of what type of prison you decide to work at, you will have to undergo a training period. Most of the time, this training program will last approximately 6 months.

Basic Tasks

The job of a correctional officer entails many different possibilities. As a correctional officer, you will have to watch over inmates at all times. Correctional officers are responsible for making sure that everything is locked up appropriately. You will have to check inmates for items that are forbidden in the facility. 

Correctional officers escort prisoners to a number of different locations including the cafeteria, the gym, chapel, and anywhere else that they need to go within the prison. Correctional officers will assist prisoners and listen to their problems accordingly. Correctional officers are in charge of breaking up fights and protecting the inmates. Many correctional officers are utilized to watch the boundaries of the prison and make sure that prisoners do not get away. Other correctional officers may escort prisoners outside the walls of the prison in order to perform community service projects.

Work Schedule

Correctional officers will adhere to a strict working schedule at a prison. Your hours as a correctional officer will vary greatly. Correctional officers are required 24 hours a day for 365 days out of the year. Therefore, you might find yourself working one of three different shifts throughout the day. You will typically have two days off per week, but they will my necessarily be on the weekend. Therefore, you will need to be flexible with your schedule in order to be a correctional officer.


According to recent salary data, an average correctional officer makes about $35,000 per year.

Opportunities for Advancement

As a correctional officer, you will have numerous chances to advance in your career. Being a correctional officer at a prison is an entry-level job and there are other careers that you could move up to. You could move up to a management position within the correctional officer field. Working in the prison, you will also be aware of any other job openings that become available. Therefore, if you want to switch to another job within the prison, you should be able to do so. This means that you could choose to pursue any career within the prison. Correctional officers also tend to pursue other law enforcement jobs in the future.