Many career options exist for individuals wanting to work in federal correctional institutes. The Federal Bureau of Prisons offers a comprehensive overview of potential careers. Some jobs include correctional officer, registered nurse, chaplain, clinical psychologist and dental officer.
Positions in federal correctional institutes often require a college degree or several years of on-the-job experience. Below you'll find more details on these careers.
Correctional officers make up the majority of the staff and are responsible for enforcing regulations among the inmates. A college degree is usually needed to become a correctional officer at a federal correctional institute. Depending upon the job's grade level, applicants need either a bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited school or between 9-14 hours of graduate study in criminology, criminal justice or a related field.
An appropriate amount of work experience may also qualify an individual. Correctional officers at federal correctional institutes must be under the age of 37 when applying for a position.
Since registered nurses are responsible for monitoring the medical conditions of inmates, they need to have a degree or diploma from an accredited nursing program. The American Correctional Association also has voluntary certification programs for corrections nurses. The upper-grade level requirements for a nursing career in a federal correctional institute include:
- Master's degree in nursing
- 2-2.5 years of graduate study in nursing or one year of specialized practice
Graduate study requirements include a concentration in a nursing field, such as clinical specialties and nursing administration, or a related non-nursing field. Some general course topics include:
- Nursing practices
- Safety procedures
- Patient assessment
- Pre- and post-operative care measures
Chaplains administer, supervise and provide spiritual and religious guidance to inmates of all faiths at federal correctional institutes. An undergraduate degree and a Master of Divinity are required. Some general course topics include:
- Church history
- Sacred writings
Chaplains need to have at least two years of experience as a religious leader at a church or other ministerial setting. An ecclesiastical endorsement agency documents their qualifications as a minister. The American Correctional Chaplains Association offers a program to become a certified correctional chaplain, and this requires one year of experience prior to application.
Clinical psychologists are included as part of the inmates' healthcare team. Job duties include:
- Conducting assessments
- Interpreting results
- Producing reports
Depending upon job grade level, clinical psychologists hold a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from an accredited institution or hold a Ph.D. and have at least one year of professional or volunteer experience. An important course topic includes treatment and intervention methods in relation to the setting of a federal correctional institute. Like correctional officers, clinical psychologists need to be under the age of 37 when they apply for a position at a federal correctional institute.
Dentists, who perform the full-range of dental care on inmates, have a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree. The D.M.D. or D.D.S. needs to be from an academic institution approved by the American Dental Association (ADA), the Council on Dental Education or a school that provides a dental program equivalent to those offered at ADA-approved schools. Important course topics focus on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of oral diseases.
Depending upon job grade level, applicants must have at least 2-3 years of dentistry experience. Dentists are licensed to practice in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico.
Those who want to work in a federal correctional institute can find employment in a variety of different positions, such as correctional officer, nurse, chaplain, psychologist and dentist. Each of these fields requires specific schooling and experience, and some have an age limit for application.