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Be a Correctional Officer

In order to become a corrections officer, you need a positive outlook and an ability to think on your feet. You have to have a calm demeanor and be a problem-solver. One of your main duties will be to promote change in inmates’ behavior, which you will accomplish at least in part by demonstrating good behavior on your own part. You have to be able to work in a sometimes hostile environment, withstanding verbal abuse and threats in a neutral manner. It is an exciting and challenging environment. The applicant is expected to be, in short, mentally and physically strong. Start your corrections officer degree program today from an accredited college.

It is a challenging occupation full of interesting stories. You meet all different types of characters who have made mistakes in their lives. One of your chief duties will be discipline of inmates. The job includes supervising of inmates to ensure that they are behaving in a safe manner, searching them and their cells for dangerous contraband, searching their mail for safety threats, checking door locks for security violations and making reports about prisoners’ behavior and the general safety and morale of the facility. As you will be working with inmates with different cultural backgrounds, you will need to be able to communicate effectively with people who have limited language ability in English. As the career progresses there will be more of a chance to work outside of the jail setting, for example escorting prisoners to court, supervising visits to parole hearings and such related duties.

In corrections, there are three levels of prisons in which to work, and these are municipal, state and federal. There are different kinds of jobs available but initially the new worker is likely to expect to be immersed in a jail environment. You can expect to gain higher ranks faster if you hold a criminal justice degree or similar qualification. However, generally speaking, a degree in criminal justice is only needed to start in a federal institution. The minimum requirement for starting the majority of jobs in corrections is a high school degree, and a clean criminal record. Military experience also helps in gaining you entry into the corrections field. It is important to note that education does not in the long run (generally) affect your salary. Corrections officers who hold a high school or GED degree do not make significantly less than applicants with degrees in criminal justice.

Generally speaking, positions in federal institutions pay better than state, which pay better than municipal. Benefits, including paid vacation, are also included, which makes the job a secure and well-paid one. Moreover, corrections officers are in high demand, so job security is an added bonus. As a corrections officer you have the benefit of working in a stimulating environment, working with interesting people from different backgrounds, and enjoying an above-average wage with benefits. It is an occupation definitely worth considering.