What Are the Requirements to Become a Correction Officer?

Corrections officers work in prisons and jails to oversee inmates and provide security in the facilities. Read on to learn about the specific requirements necessary to pursue this career. Schools offering Corrections degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Requirements for becoming a corrections officer vary from one law enforcement agency to another. Some require only a high school diploma and a clean criminal record. Others require formal education or related work experience. Be sure you investigate the requirements that are specific to the level you want to work in.

Important Facts About Correction Officers

Online AvailabilityFull coursework for certificate program, bachelor's degree, and master's degree online
Continuing EducationRequired every three years to maintain certification
SpecializationsCertification available in areas such as adult corrections, juvenile justice, and security threat groups
Common CoursesDeviant behavior, crime prevention, victimology, juvenile delinquency
Median Salary (2018)$44,400 (Correctional Officers and Bailiffs)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)-7% decline (Correctional Officers and Bailiffs)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Legal Requirements

In order to become a corrections officer, you must be at least 18 years of age. Some agencies set a minimum age of 21. You must also be able to prove you're a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and have no felony convictions. Some corrections facilities require that you have at least two years of work experience and a clean work record.

Education

While educational requirements vary depending on the correctional facility, all facilities require at least a high school diploma. Additionally, many state and local facilities expect you to have some postsecondary education as well. The Federal Bureau of Prisons demands you have a bachelor's degree. If you intend to apply for a more advanced corrections position, some graduate work is expected in criminology, criminal justice, or a similar discipline.

Academy Training

You are also required to attend a training academy to prepare for a career as a corrections officer. Training consists of about 200 hours of coursework in institutional regulations and custody procedures. Your subsequent on-the-job training includes learning defensive tactics, firearm use, and crisis intervention. Although not required, you might also consider pursuing a certified corrections officer designation (CCO), which you can earn upon completing your academy training and one year on-the-job.

Other Requirements

You must find employment as a corrections officer before you turn 37 in order to maintain your qualifications. You must also be in good health and physical condition with good eyesight and hearing. You should also be able to demonstrate sound judgment and decision-making abilities.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »