Correctional officers and jailers oversee people who are serving time in a secure, locked facility, either as they await release on bail, wait for an upcoming trial or hearing, or serve time as part of a local, state, or federal sentence. The job can be high-risk, but rewarding for those want to be part of the larger criminal justice community.

Correctional Officers And Jailers picture    Correctional Officers And Jailers image

Correctional Officer Schools

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically needed to enter a career in corrections, although some agencies may require completion of some college credit. Individuals who are interested in a career working in the federal prisons usually have to have a bachelor's degree and/or three years of full-time experience in counseling, assistance or supervision. The following are five schools offering degrees for future correctional officers:

  • Kaplan University: This online school offers an associate degree in criminal justice. The program offer foundational classes math, sociology, criminology, forensics, and psychological profiling.
  • Penn State World Campus: The online campus of Penn State offers a bachelor's in criminal justice, taught by the same on-campus faculty who possess real-world experience.
  • Southern New Hampshire University: This university offers an associate degree in criminal justice that allows graduates to seek entry-level work in the field. The program provides the fundamentals of criminal law and social science.
  • Strayer University: This university offers an online bachelor's in criminal justice. The program offers 1 of 4 in-demand concentrations, including Computer Security and Forensics, and Homeland Security Technology.
  • University of Maryland University College: This college offers a bachelor's degree in criminal justice which gives students key critical-thinking skills to solve for a wide range of challenges in the criminal justice environment.

Correctional Officer Education Requirements

Though the correctional officer education requirements vary from facility to facility, those hoping to pursue employment at a federal facility should attain a bachelor's degree. Candidates for a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, perhaps the academic field most relevant to work as a correctional officer, might find themselves studying arrest and control techniques, skills related to firearm use, basic first aid and defense tactics while unarmed. Common student admission requirements to criminal justice bachelor's degree programs include:

  • A valid U.S. driver's license
  • Good physical health
  • Handgun, holster and fingerprint clearance for firing range work
  • Satisfactory marks on institutional profile assessment
  • No convictions for use or sale of narcotics or any felony offense
  • A minimum age of 21 at graduation

Correctional Officer Training

Most correctional officer training occurs on the job. However, all agencies require correctional officer supervisors to have a high school diploma and some agencies require some college coursework or related work experience. A regional training program often needs to be completed before individuals are allowed to begin working. These programs give individuals training in specific procedures and policies and help them to understand their scope of responsibility when it comes to custody, law and security. Coursework at most academies cover topics such as:

  • Laws of arrest and constitutional rights of law
  • Rules and concepts of evidence
  • Rights of the confined
  • Use of force and restraint devices
  • Cell and prison searches
  • Prison gangs

Correctional Officer Certification and Licensing

After completing a program or academy, officers may become certified in specific skill sets or in Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST), depending on the type of training they completed. They may need to recertify in specific areas in a given timeframe.

Individuals who have received training may receive some type of credential or badge, but this can be dependent on the scope and type of training completed.

Correctional officer supervisors typically receive most of their training on the job. All agencies require correctional officer supervisors to have a high school diploma and some agencies require some college coursework or related work experience. Most correctional officer supervisors began their careers as correctional officers.

Resources for Correctional Officers


  1. Correctional Officers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/correctional-officers.htm
  2. Correctional Officers and Jailers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm
  3. Southern New Hampshire University, http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/associate/as-in-criminal-justice
  4. Strayer University, http://www.strayer.edu/degree/bachelors-degree/criminal-justice
  5. Kaplan University, http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/criminal-justice/criminal-justice-criminology-associate-degree.aspx
  6. PennState Online, http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/criminal-justice-bachelors/overview
  7. University of Maryland University College, http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/bachelors-degrees/criminal-justice-major.cfm

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Correctional Officers and Jailers

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Correctional Officers and Jailers jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 9920 $44,160
Scottsdale 9920 $44,160
Mesa 9920 $44,160
The Woodlands 8100 $43,270
Houston 8100 $43,270
Sugar Land 8100 $43,270
Fort Lauderdale 6610 $53,360
Miami 6610 $53,360
West Palm Beach 6610 $53,360
Dallas 6420 $39,030
Total Employment for Correctional Officers And Jailers - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Total Employment for Correctional Officers And Jailers
Salaries for Correctional Officers And Jailers - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Salaries for Correctional Officers And Jailers
Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Correctional Officers And Jailers

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Correctional Officers and Jailers

To find out more about building a career as Correctional Officers And Jailers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

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Most Popular Industries for :
Correctional Officers and Jailers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 406,330 94% $38,900
Office Services And Staffing 20,440 4% $28,810
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Correctional Officers and Jailers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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