Correctional Officer Supervisor: Job Duties, Salary and Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a correctional officer supervisor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Correctional officer supervisors manage inmates and staff in criminal justice facilities. Experience in the criminal justice system is necessary, and continuing education opportunities exist that may help qualify individuals for these supervisory roles. These professionals must be excellent leaders and able to work under the high-pressure situations that sometimes arise in prisons or detention centers.

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Essential Information

A correctional officer supervisor maintains safe and orderly conditions in a prison, juvenile detention center or similar criminal justice facility. As an authority figure, a correctional officer supervisor assumes responsibility of and control over the actions of subordinates and inmates.

Required Education Correctional officer training academy; bachelor's degree required for officers in federal facilities
Other Requirements On-the-job training; additional certification may be acquired
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% for first-line supervisors of correctional officers*
Average Salary (2015) $62,770 for first-line supervisors of correctional officers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

Working in correctional facilities like jails and detention centers, correctional officer supervisors manage the job functions of subordinate security officials and behavioral enforcers. Through the development and enforcement of institutional policies and operational procedures, they help create a safe and stable environment. They may be tasked with assigning, training, evaluating and disciplining staff. Administrative and record-keeping duties of a correctional officer supervisor include taking or recording inmate counts, writing reports, reviewing inmate records and coordinating the efforts of support staff.

In emergency situations - such as employee or inmate misconduct, escape, rioting or other disturbances - a correctional officer supervisor must lead a response. This may include confiscating prohibited items, using weapons to subdue offenders and contacting outside authorities for help. Correctional officer supervisors must also:

  • Anticipate and prevent problems
  • Calm angry or aggressive situations
  • Communicate orders with deliberate authority
  • Assess the prison or jail environment

Correctional Officer Supervisor Salary

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported average annual wages of $62,770 per year for first-line supervisors of correctional officers.

Career Outlook for Correctional Officer Supervisors

According to the BLS, employment opportunities for correctional officer supervisors are projected to grow 3% from 2014-2024. The BLS explained that while higher incarceration rates would stimulate the need for corrections professionals, this could be tempered in states where sentencing mandates were being reevaluated. Overall, a growing population, reduced parole opportunities and the increased private contracting of prison services could add to job creation in this industry.


Advancement opportunities for correctional officer supervisors arise by obtaining additional education and training, which can allow them to rise or transfer to a higher position. The American Jail Association (AJA) offers jail management training materials, including bulletins on management topics and videos for further education. Additionally, the AJA offers a certification program for aspiring Certified Jail Managers. This requires AJA membership, a minimum education, leadership experience and passing an exam.

The American Correctional Association (ACA) also offers a Corrections Certification Program at the basic, supervisory, management and executive levels for those working in adult corrections and juvenile justice. Supervisory and management certification for security threat group corrections are also available. The ACA also offers a variety of leadership and training materials for correctional officers and supervisors.

To become a correctional officer requires little initial formal education, though a training academy and on-the-job training are usually required once hired. With enough experience, these officers can be promoted to positions as correctional officer supervisors.

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