County Corrections Officer: Job Description & Requirements

Mar 11, 2019

Read on to see what being a county corrections officer entails. Get information about education and training requirements. Find out if this career is a good fit for you.

Career Definition for a County Corrections Officer

County correctional officers are often civil service workers who supervise and closely monitor jail or correctional facility inmates and the facility itself. They watch over both those who are awaiting trial and those who have already been convicted and are serving their sentences. County corrections officers are often required to work night and weekend shifts. Some county correctional officers may also be members of a labor union, depending on locality.

Education High school diploma required, work experience and bachelor's degree also preferred
Job Skills Observation and communication, physical health, people skills, stamina
Median Salary (2017)* $43,540 (for correctional officers and jailers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* -8% (for correctional officers and jailers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A high school diploma is required for a career as a county correctional officer. Some communities may also require a bachelor's degree or relevant experience, or some may take a combination of the two. County corrections officers who hold bachelor's degrees usually study criminal justice or psychology. Aspiring county correctional officers often attend a training academy where they may study firearms, established policies and procedures for correctional facility operations, and safety and first aid.

Required Skills

County correctional officers need to have good observation and communication skills. Excellent people skills are needed to defuse the often potentially dangerous situations that arise every day in correction facilities. They need to be able to follow instructions and have good physical health and stamina. Some county correctional officers may need to have a valid driver's license as well.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the employment of correctional officers and jailers, including county correctional officers, will experience a decline of 8% from 2016 to 2026 due to increasing budget constraints at the state and local level. The BLS published the median annual salary for all correctional officers and jailers as $43,540 in May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Here are some other ideas for careers in law enforcement:

Probation Officer

A probation officer works with people who have been convicted of crimes but sentenced to probation instead of prison. They work with adults or juveniles and meet with them regularly to monitor their progress toward rehabilitation, offer advice and resources as needed, and write reports that outline offenders' work toward goals. Most employers require candidates to be at least 21 years old and have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field; candidates are also often subject to oral, written, and psychological tests. Completion of a specialized training program and certification may also be required. Probation officers can expect job growth of 6% from 2016-2026, according to the BLS, and working probation officers earned median pay of $51,410 in 2017.

Police Officer

Police officers enforce laws and protect life and property through regularly assigned patrols. They may conduct traffic stops and write tickets, and respond to emergency calls for help. Police officers also arrest people suspected of committing a crime, prepare related paperwork, and testify in court as required. Employment qualifications can vary but aspiring police officers typically need to be 21 years of age or older and a high school diploma to qualify for police academy. Some departments require some college, too. Candidates usually complete physical and written testing. The BLS reported that jobs for police officers are predicted to grow 7% from 2016-2026. Police officers earned median pay of $62,960 in 2017, per the BLS.

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