The job of corrections officer is to guard prisoners at local and federal prisons. Their job involves keeping the prison safe, making the inmates secure and accountable and preventing disorderly conduct, attacks and escapes. They also educate inmates individually or in groups about prison rules and hear their complaints and lists of wants. Specific job training that leads to immediate employment as a corrections officer is given for periods of time ranging from 6-9 months at local departments of correction or community colleges; some courses may be offered online. The only academic prerequisite for these courses is a high school diploma or a GED.
Corrections Officer School Programs Options
Students interested in becoming a corrections officer may enroll in programs available at local correction agencies or community colleges in order to attain the required background knowledge. Coursework for corrections officers involves a lot of very practical and hands-on courses, although some are more academic. Class topics usually include:
- Correctional facilities
- Legal issues
- Defensive tactics and firearms
- First aid
- Client development
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that correctional officer and bailiff jobs will grow 4% from 2014 through 2024, which is slower than the average for all jobs. Population growth and high turnover is behind the need for correctional officers; however, budget cuts and lower crime rates will keep the employment numbers low. Employment issues include shift work and relatively low salaries. In 2015, yearly salaries ranged from $27,830 or less for the bottom ten percent of correctional officers to over $73,060 for the top 10%, with the median being $40,530 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
The field of correctional officials is fairly limited in the kinds of jobs available: corrections officer, security officer and detention specialist. Those with degrees may be able to work as customs agents, forensic scientists, criminologists, private investigators, compliance officers, bailiffs and probation officers. Degrees will be listed under criminal justice in college catalogs, and they will generally include associate, bachelor's and, occasionally, master's degrees.
Corrections officer guard prisoners at local and federal prisons. There are a wide array of classes offered at community college or corrections facilities in order to prepare interested individuals for a career in this role.