NYC Correction Officer Career Info and Education Requirements

Aug 14, 2018

Explore the requirements to become an NYC correctional officer. Learn about the job description and duties, and take a look at the step-by-step process that can help you start a career in corrections.

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  • 0:00 NYC Correctional Officers
  • 1:18 Career Info & Skills
  • 2:09 Step 1: Meet Requirements
  • 2:39 Step 2: Take the…
  • 4:02 Step 3: Complete…
  • 4:21 Step 4: Obtain a Position

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NYC Correctional Officers

NYC correction officers work to maintain the security of the facilities to which they are assigned. They work under the supervision of higher-ranking officers to secure the custody of inmates and oversee the safety of criminal offenders in the city's correctional facilities. Tasks may include supervising inmate activities, conducting searches for banned materials, instructing inmates on rules and regulations, and helping resolve inmate conflicts and problems. They can also include supervising visits and requesting medical assistance for inmates when necessary.

Correctional officers in general usually work in government-funded facilities, which comes with a measure of job security, good pay, and benefits. Officers may work indoors or outdoors in all types of weather. Prison environments may vary from clean, well lit, and air-conditioned, to older buildings in disrepair with no air, poor lighting. NYC correctional officers must be physically fit and able to stand and walk for hours at a time. They must also be comfortable handling conflicts, including physical altercations. This job is more dangerous than most. There are risks of injury and illness while working with inmates in tight quarters and subduing fights, riots, and attacks.

Career Info & Skills

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent (minimum); associate's degree, bachelor's degree programs available
Certification Voluntary professional certification is available
Experience Two years of military experience or experience working full-time in law enforcement, although this is waived for applicants with college credits
Key Skills Physical stamina, strength and self-discipline; good interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills, along with the ability to think critically, use good judgment, and solve problems
Additional Requirements Must be a U.S. citizen, have a current New York State driver's license, be a resident of New York City and pass drug screening, background check, and meet age requirements
Salary $61,160 (average annual salary for correctional officers and jailers in New York State, 2015)
Job Outlook 4%, or slower-than-average, increase in jobs from 2014-2024 correctional officers and bailiffs nationwide

Sources: The City of New York Department of Citywide Administrative Services, American Correctional Association, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Step 1: Meet the Requirements

NYC correctional officers can meet the requirements for employment in one of four ways. Earn a high school diploma or its equivalent and have two years of experience in the U.S. military. Have at least two years of experience as a police officer, peace officer, or special patrolman. Have six years of experience as an active reservist in the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, or Marine Corps. Earn 39 college credits and 21 credit hours of academy training, for a total of 60 credits.

Step 2: Take the Eligibility Exam

The New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) administers the NYC correctional officer exam and it's offered at two DCAS testing locations. Individuals can apply electronically using the department's online application system or in person at the testing centers in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The NYC correctional officer exam is a multiple-choice, computerized test that assesses an applicant's abilities in the following areas: written comprehension, deductive and mathematical reasoning, memorization, problem sensitivity, spatial orientation and visualization. Individuals must receive a score of 70% or higher to pass the test and receive a spot on the eligibility list, which is organized in order of final testing scores. After meeting other eligibility requirements, including passing a drug test, physical exam, and psychological assessment, applicants will be considered for appointment to correction officer training.

Success Tips

  • Schedule the exam early in the month. Seating at each DCAS testing center is limited, and according to the department, earlier testing times tend to be less busy.
  • Leave prohibited items at home. Cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices aren't allowed in the testing center. Applicants found to have banned items will have their test scores nullified; DCAS does not refund the application fee.

Step 3: Complete Academy Training

The 1-year training program includes at least eight weeks at the Correctional Services Training Academy and training in areas like interpersonal communications, security measures, emergency response procedures, and correctional issues. In addition to classroom learning, trainees receive physical training to develop the stamina and strength needed for the job.

Step 4: Obtain a Position

After passing the examination, individuals are appointed as correctional officers and assigned to city facilities based on each facility's staffing needs. During this time, NYC correctional officers will need to meet the State of New York for Peace Officers requirements and pass a firearms qualifications test. Correctional officers will be placed on probation for two years, in addition to completing a training course and obtaining on-the-job training.

Success Tip

  • Look for professional certification options. Voluntary professional credentials, such as the American Correctional Association's Certified Corrections Officer (CCO), are available and can support professional growth and advancement. Applicants need a high school diploma or its equivalent and at least one year of experience as a correctional officer. They must also pass the certification exam.

Let's review. The steps involved in becoming a NYC correctional officer include meeting education and experience requirements, taking the eligibility exam, and training at the Correctional Services Training Academy. As of May 2015, the average yearly salary for correctional offers and jailers in New York State was $61,160.

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