Salary and Career Info for a Federal Correctional Officer

Sep 17, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation necessary to become a federal correctional officer. Get a quick view of the requirements, as well as degree programs and job duties, to see if this is the right career for you.

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Federal correctional officers work in federal penitentiaries or other facilities where they manage the convicts. These officers should be physically fit and good communicators. We will go more in detail on their salaries and the duties they perform.

Essential Information

Federal correctional officers work for the Bureau of Prisons to supervise convicted criminals, maintain secure facilities and enforce regulations. Excellent communication, observation and reporting skills as well as good physical health are requisite for a successful career in the field of federal corrections.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements 3 years experience in a field providing counseling, assistance or supervision to individuals
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -7% for correctional officers and jailers
Average Annual Salary (2018)* $44,330 for correctional officers and jailers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Information for Federal Corrections Officers

While salaries varied according to locality and the prevailing rate of pay in different parts of the United States. In May 2018, the BLS reported that workers in the 90th percentile or higher earned $76,760 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $31,140 or less per year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also noted that correctional officers and jailers working for the Federal Executive Branch earned an average of $57,540 per year. In addition to other standard benefits, federal correctional officers are issued uniforms or receive a clothing allowance; they may also receive retirement benefits.

Job growth for correctional officers was expected to declined through 2028. The BLS also reported that population growth drives demand. However, other factors like budgetary constraints, shorter prison terms and alternatives to prison may limit the employment growth for correctional officers (www.bls.gov).

Correctional Facility Services Career Information

Federal correctional officers work in a variety of facilities run by the Bureau of Prisons. These include federal prison camps, penitentiaries and administrative facilities such as medical centers, detention centers and transfer centers.

Most personnel begin their careers as jailers, directly supervising the activities and welfare of inmates. Some may move on to become bailiffs who provide prisoner transportation, supervise prisoner courtroom appearances or maintain courtroom order.

Correctional officers may advance to the level of sergeants or first-line supervisors who report to the facility warden. They are responsible for overseeing and maintaining overall security and daily operations of a facility, department or group of officers.

Other administrative and supervisory positions are available for experienced officers depending on demonstrated skills, continued education and interests. With additional training, correctional officers may transfer to positions as probation or parole officers, correctional treatment specialists, correctional counselors or wardens.

In any prison facility owned by the Bureau of Prisons, correctional officers are needed to oversee inmate activity, and deal with any problems that may arise. Federal correctional officers usually have experience working in law enforcement.

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