The correctional officer job description is straight to the point. The correctional officer is responsible for the security of the institution and for keeping the staff and the prisoners safe from harm. Read below and find out all there is to know about the education requirements, set of skills and responsibilities, and about the salary of a correctional officer associated with the job.

What Does a Correctional Officer Professional Do?

The correctional officer job description refers to job attributions such as inspecting the institution and making sure that every cell and room in the building respect the security standards. This professional must also patrol the premises and handle visual surveillance on a daily basis. Also, they have to report any unusual activity or behavior to their superior as soon as possible, as well as use disciplinary procedures when the prisoners break the rules and policies of the institution.

Correctional Officer Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities

  • Greet and inspect visitors in a professional manner.
  • Maintain the security of the staff and prisoners.
  • Inspect the institution and patrol the premises.
  • Handle the visual surveillance every day.
  • Use disciplinary procedures when prisoners break rules.
  • Check for contraband, weapons and other illegal items.
  • Keep the communication channels open at all times.
  • Report any suspicious behavior or situation to the superiors.
  • Have in-depth knowledge of the SOP (Standard Operation Procedures).
  • Explain the rules and procedures of the institution to all the prisoners.
  • Let the prisoners know what the consequences are when they break rules.
  • Supervise prisoners all the time to maintain order and safety in the institution.
  • Ensure that the prisoners’ rights aren’t threatened in any way.

Correctional Officer Job Required Skills

Intuitive Skills. This professional must know how to read prisoner’s body language and detect changes in their behavior. As well as provide proper counseling and help the inmates with rehabilitation. A good correctional officer must also be emotionally stable and aware of the surroundings. They must be resourceful, flexible and adaptable since inmates can exhibit an unpredictable behavior.

Field and Technical Skills. The correctional office job description implies knowing how to handle surveillance equipment (video, audio, radio). Also, to follow the American Correctional Association (ACA) rules and procedures.

Organizational Skills. The officer needs to be able to assess when a situation becomes dangerous and when it is time to intervene. Also, when spotting an emergency or dangerous situation they must alert the entire staff, respond to riots and disturbances promptly, without any hesitation. Having great negotiation skills in order to avoid a more dangerous situation is also useful.

Physical Skills. It is mandatory for this professional to be in great physical shape and know different combat techniques. They must also be ready to react when the situation demands it, and have a spotless medical record. Also, it is important to have no prior convictions and no criminal record.

How to Become a Correctional Officer Professional

Due to the level of stress and the dangers that a correctional officer is subjected to on a regular basis, the job isn’t an easy one. There are a few requirements to be taken into consideration before applying for such a job. The correctional officer job description implies a thorough on-the-job training as well as a specialized training when it comes to federal prisons.

Education & Training Requirements

The correctional officer job description clearly states that a high school diploma or an equivalent is needed in order to be considered for this job. There are some institutions that will require a college degree, but it varies from institution to institution. People that have a military or law enforcement background don’t need to have a college degree, their work experience counts as a certification.

When it comes to federal prisons, the education requirements differ a bit. Any correctional officer that wants to work for a federal institution needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Also, there is a specialized training that takes place at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Work Experience

Although having worked in the field is a big plus, most institutions and facilities don’t look for previous work experience. People that have a law enforcement background or any military experience can easily become a correctional officer since the skills developed in such dangerous fields are required for such a job as well.

The prisons that have the highest security risk will ask more than an on-the-job training, in such cases previous work experience will be required. Other than that, becoming a correctional officer is fairly easy. For the rest of the institutions, older staff will train the newer staff to become a correctional officer. Also, they will need to pass a physical and psychological exam in order to become a correctional officer.

Work Schedules

A correctional officer’s schedule is 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, on rotating shifts, because security needs to be provided around the clock in prisons. These professionals also need to work weekends and holidays, as well as overtime. Some facilities are moving to 12-hour workdays, in hopes of decreasing the amount of overtime necessary and decreasing turnover by offering more full days off work, especially on weekends.

Career Prospects

If a correctional officer has impressive skills and has worked for some years in the field, he or she is qualified for a promotion. There are plenty of opportunities to advance from a correctional officer to a correctional sergeant. A correctional sergeant is in charge of all the correctional officers that work for the institution.

There is also an administrative career path for any correctional officer. These officers can also become parole officers, probation officers and they can also become counselors if they also have a psychology background.

The pay for a correctional officer is $15.62 per hour. Meaning a median salary of $36,398 per year. The average pay fluctuates depending on the correctional officer’s work experience and location.


We are sure our correctional officer job description is useful for those looking for details on the skills and duties, experience needed, and working hours for this job. Considering a correction officer career is not that bad when looking at the career path and the numerous career opportunities of the job. The well-structured sections are an easy read to help you decide if you’re the right person for the job or not and if you like what the job supposes.