Correctional Officer at a Glance

Projected Job Growth

  • +0% Job Growth for
    Correctional Officer

  • 2013
  • 2023

Average Salary for Correctional Officer

  • $0 Annual Pay
    National Average
  • $0 Hourly Pay
    National Average

Best States for Correctional Officer

in 2011
Annual Salary
Hourly Pay
Arizona 13,240 $40,130 $19
Mississippi 6,350 $26,800 $13
New Mexico 4,490 $31,940 $15

Becoming a Correctional Officer

Before qualifying for careers in corrections, candidates must earn high school diplomas or the equivalent. Although some states do not require candidates to have degrees, earning an associate or bachelor's degree in a criminal justice field can help improve job prospects. In addition, students who have earned a bachelor's degree in corrections or a related field can qualify to work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Once admitted into bachelor's degree programs, future correctional officers will learn about criminal law, investigations, and the rehabilitation programs that exist for offenders. They will also study criminal behavior, which will give them insight into ways to manage unruly inmates. Students may be required to take kinesiology courses to help them stay physically fit as well, which will come in handy if they ever need to restrain violent prisoners. Some of the specific classes that students will take include:

  • Criminology
  • Ethics in criminal justice
  • Correctional Institutions
  • Public Policy

Education does not end at the receipt of a degree. After graduating, correctional officers must receiving training. Exact training requirements will depend on the individual facilities, however many facilities follow training criteria set forth by the American Correctional Association. Typically, training includes practice with firearms, hands-on experience within a prison, and physical conditioning. Although it is not required, correctional officers can pursue additional certificates in areas like juvenile justice or adult corrections by taking exams. Earning a certification may lead to career advancements.