If you’re looking for an exciting, fast paced career, then you might want to consider becoming a correctional officer. Correctional officers work in jails and prisons to make sure rules and regulations are followed by the inmates. It might not always be a pretty job but it definitely has its rewards.Somebody has to do it so why not you? Find training at a top criminal justice school near you.
A day in the life of a correctional officer
Within prisons and jails, you’ll find correctional officers running the show. Their job is to enforce the rules and regulations, not only for the safety of the prisoners but for the safety of their fellow correctional officers and the general public, as well. Correctional officers make sure security is maintained by knowing where the prisoners are at all times and whether or not they are abiding by the prisons rules. They also prevent disturbances, assaults and escapes.
On a daily basis, correctional officers search inmates for hidden contraband, settle disputes and discipline the prisoners. They also have to make sure the facility is clean and safe, they have to inspect the mail for any incoming dangers, write reports and fill out behavior logs.
Being a correctional officer can be dangerous as well as extremely stressful. But, they are highly trained to take care of themselves and those they are there to watch over. However, outside of the jail or prison where the correctional officer is employed, they have no other law enforcement responsibilities.
How to become a correctional officer
Before you can become a correctional officer, you need to be at least 18 years old and either have a high school diploma or a GED. Some states require college credits, as well. However, law enforcement or military experience counts toward those credits. Also, you must be a U.S citizen with no felony convictions.
To work as a correctional officer in a federal prison, the Federal Bureau of Prisons requires you to have a bachelor’s degree and 3 years of full-time experience in a field that provided counselling, assistance or supervision (or a combination of the three) to even obtain an entry level position.
Training academy is a requirement to becoming a correctional officer. Training varies from place to place but many start with on-the-job training right out of the gate. Subjects that are taught are self-defense, institutional policies, regulations, operations, and they may be taught how to use firearms although not always.
Pay and job outlook for correctional officers
BLS.gov says the annual median range for a correctional officers salary is $40,530. However, some earn as much as $73,060. They receive their health insurance as well as retirement benefits. Since correctional officers are uniformed, they don’t need to worry about purchasing clothing suitable for the work environment.
Job prospects are good as there is always a need for correctional officers in our ever growing prison population and a rather large job turnover rate. The expected growth between now and 2024 is pretty standard at 4%. Sound like a good career choice for you? See how much you already know with our criminal justice practice tests.