What does a Correctional Officer do?
Correctional officers oversee inmates to ensure they are safe, secure, and supervised. They do so by enforcing outlined rules and regulations. This might include inspecting cells, writing incident reports, and restraining inmates. Most correctional officers are employed by county, state, or federal agencies in jails or prisons.
Correctional officers must have a high school diploma or general education degree (GED) and be of a certain age, either 18 or 21 depeding on the state. Some correctional officers also obtain an associate's degree in criminal justice in order to help with professional development. Correctional officers must be alert, decisive, and have good judgment.
- Book and process incoming and outgoing prisoners according to written policies and procedures
- Write detailed and accurate incident reports
- Patrol the interior and exterior of the facility
- Conduct inmate and cell searches
- Inspect visitors and packages delivered to the facility
- Respond to crisis situations as outlined by policies and procedures
- Oversee inmate activities including meals, classes, visitation, and recreation
- Monitor inmates and grounds with surveillance cameras
- High school diploma or general education degree (GED) required
- Must be at least 18 or 21 years of age, depending on state
- Must possess a valid driver's license
- 1 year of experience in the field of corrections preferred
- Ability to pass a background check, drug test, and physical
- Working knowledge of the methods and procedures associated with processing prisoners
- Familiarity with security regulations and safety procedures
- Proven ability to react in a calm and collected manner to emergency situations
- Ability to lift and carry up to 100 pounds
Correctional Officer Salaries
Average Base Pay
Correctional Officer Career Path
Learn how to become a Correctional Officer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Years of Experience Distribution
Correctional Officer Insights
“High risk retirement is 3% but you can find MUCH better in the private sector.”
“This could be a great opportunity for people to jump start a career with law enforcement.”
“Good salary and condition great”
“Good place to work and friendly”
“Colleagues are usually professional and good to work with.”
“Good job to have and the money is good.”
“$15k starting off not including additional raises and promotions because of their better pay scale.”
“I have a criminal Justice degree while most staff don’t have any and I was fired.”
Correctional Officer Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a Correctional Officer
When working as a Correctional Officer, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are 24 Hour, Responses, Tolerance, Report Writing and English Language.
- Police Officer
- Security Officer
- Police Sergeant
- Public Safety Officer
The most common qualifications to become a Correctional Officer is a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.