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
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
2.6 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.1 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Correctional Officer Salaries

Average Base Pay

$65,349 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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$50K
Median: $65K
$85K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

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.

L2
Correctional Officer
$65,349/yr
L3
See Career Path

Correctional Officer Insights

Read what Correctional Officer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
CenterstoneCenterstone
Correctional Officer
May 25, 2019

“Schedule is not a good work life balance unless you are in a supervisory or clinical role”

Mohave County SheriffMohave County Sheriff
Detention Officer
Jan. 6, 2021

“This could be a great opportunity for people to jump start a career with law enforcement.”

ATTIJARIWAFA BANKATTIJARIWAFA BANK
Correctional Officer
Jun. 4, 2021

“Good place to work and friendly”

HM Prison ServiceHM Prison Service
Prison Officer
Nov. 7, 2020

“Colleagues are usually professional and good to work with.”

Webster County Iowa Jail Division
Correctional Officer
Sep. 13, 2021

“I have a criminal Justice degree while most staff don’t have any and I was fired.”

Federal Bureau of PrisonsFederal Bureau of Prisons
Correctional Officer
Aug. 1, 2021

“Easy job not really stressful job”

State of OhioState of Ohio
Correctional Officer
Nov. 15, 2020

“State Job benefits are good”

Texas Department of Criminal JusticeTexas Department of Criminal Justice
Correctional Officer
Dec. 8, 2020

“Learning to take charge in stressful situations and really good discipline”

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Correctional Officer Interviews

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Correctional Officer jobs