County Jailer/Correctional Deputy Requirements
In order to work at most correctional facilities one must be at least 18 or 21 years old; not a convicted felon; have a high school diploma or GED; have U.S. citizenship; and have held a job for two years prior. A college degree or post secondary education will give applicants an edge with regards to promotions.
Prospects for correctional officers’ positions must meet minimum requirements of eyesight, hearing, and physical abilities. They must also be able to demonstrate sound judgment and decision-making abilities. Drug tests, background checks, and written tests are also part of the application process. Quite a few institutions determine a candidate’s aptness to succeed in correctional facility employment by using standardized tests.
Correctional Officer Speak Out About The Job (Watch The Video Below)
The American Jail Association and American Correctional Association have established standards for training correctional officers that many local, State, and Federal institutions use in their training. Local agencies in some States rely on State-sponsored academies for training.
Instruction continues on-the-job after formal training, especially with regards to legal regulations related to an officer’s work and effective communication skills. Self-defense training and firearm certification is required by some institutes. Though training and application requirements differ between facilities, most trainees receive weeks or months of on-the-job training after being hired.
In formal training at academies, new officers learn about several pertinent topics, including custodial practices and security procedures, facility regulations, and prison operations. New Federal officers, in order to maintain their employment, are required to receive 200 hours of official training within one year of being hired.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons administers an additional 120 hours of training during the trainees first 60 days of employment at their residential training center in Glynco, Georgia. In-service trainings help veteran officers maintain awareness of advances and new practices. Prison tactical response teams are composed of correctional officers who have received training about chemicals, emergency management techniques, forced entry procedures, and weapons. These teams respond to prison uprisings, conflicts, forced cell moves, hostage situations, and other hazardous disturbances.
Correctional sergeants are chosen from among qualified officers that have a combination of training, education, and experience. Sergeants fill a supervisory role as they ensure safety and manage actions of officers in specific areas during their shift. Additional supervisory and administrative jobs, including all the way up to warden, are filled by qualified and dedicated correctional officers. Lateral job movement occurs as correctional officers transfer to similar fields of employment like parole officer, probation officer, or correctional treatment specialist.
Detention Officer Job Openings & Employment Opportunity
Superb job opportunities await correctional officers. Thousands of jobs will be created each year as existing officers leave the field by retiring or transferring and as employment demand increases. The comparatively low salaried and rural location has made finding and keeping qualified officers difficult for State and local facilities. These conditions will likely continue in the future.
The growing prison population will create new supervisory positions and correctional officer posts, resulting in a faster-than-average employment growth rate through 2012 for correctional officers. Inmate populations will likely increase as an effect of mandatory sentencing laws resulting in reduced parole and longer sentences. New facility construction will create more job opportunities as well, though the rate at which new institutions are built may be slowed somewhat by State and local budgetary constraints. Private institutions hired by the government to provide correctional services will also be a source of corrections employment.
Correctional officers can join unions or other negotiating groups but are not permitted to strike. However, the rising inmate population allows for few officers being fired or laid off.
Correctional Deputy Earnings, Wages and Salaries
The top 10 percent of correctional officers and jailers earned $52,370 in 2002, compared to the less than $22,010 that the lowest 10 percent earned. The median annual earnings were $32,670 with the middle half earning between $25,950 and $42,620. Veteran officers may earn more still.