What does a Corrections Officer do?

Correctional officers oversee inmates to ensure they are safe, secure, and supervised. They do so by enforcing outlined rules and regulations. This might include inspecting cells, writing incident reports, and restraining inmates. Most correctional officers are employed by county, state, or federal agencies in jails or prisons.

Correctional officers must have a high school diploma or general education degree (GED) and be of a certain age, either 18 or 21 depeding on the state. Some correctional officers also obtain an associate's degree in criminal justice in order to help with professional development. Correctional officers must be alert, decisive, and have good judgment.

What responsibilities are common for Corrections Officer jobs?
  • Book and process incoming and outgoing prisoners according to written policies and procedures
  • Write detailed and accurate incident reports
  • Patrol the interior and exterior of the facility
  • Conduct inmate and cell searches
  • Inspect visitors and packages delivered to the facility
  • Respond to crisis situations as outlined by policies and procedures
  • Oversee inmate activities including meals, classes, visitation, and recreation
  • Monitor inmates and grounds with surveillance cameras
What are the typical qualifications for Corrections Officer jobs?
  • High school diploma or general education degree (GED) required
  • Must be at least 18 or 21 years of age, depending on state
  • Must possess a valid driver's license
  • 1 year of experience in the field of corrections preferred
  • Ability to pass a background check, drug test, and physical
  • Working knowledge of the methods and procedures associated with processing prisoners
  • Familiarity with security regulations and safety procedures
  • Proven ability to react in a calm and collected manner to emergency situations
  • Ability to lift and carry up to 100 pounds
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
2.5 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.1 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

How much does a Corrections Officer make near United States?

$49,135 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Corrections Officer Career Path

Learn how to become a Corrections Officer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Correctional Officer
Senior Correctional Officer
Corrections Officer

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Corrections Officer Insights

Read what Corrections Officer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Minnehaha County SheriffMinnehaha County Sheriff
Correctional Officer
Mar 30, 2023

“Respect others and don't be power hungry and the job is actually pretty fun and not difficult.”

Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & ReentryArizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry
Community Corrections Officer
Feb 3, 2023

“Overall this is a great department and I can honestly say that I love my career.”

Texas Department of Criminal JusticeTexas Department of Criminal Justice
Correctional Officer
Aug 5, 2023

“Good benefits that’s about it pay isn’t all that good for what you have to deal with”

Florida Department of CorrectionsFlorida Department of Corrections
Correctional Probation Senior Officer
Sep 11, 2022

“High risk retirement is 3% but you can find MUCH better in the private sector.”

HM Prison ServiceHM Prison Service
Prison Officer
Oct 23, 2022

“Good stable and secure job”

Corrections Corporation of AmericaCorrections Corporation of America
Parole Officer
Jul 20, 2022

“Good salary and condition great”

Prison Officer
Jun 26, 2023

“Stable and good pay for everyone”

SCI Chester
Correctional Officer
Oct 20, 2023

“This job can be stressful and dangerous.”

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Corrections Officer Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a Corrections Officer

When working as a Corrections Officer, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are 24 Hour, Responses, Tolerance, Report Writing, and English Language.

The most similar professions to Corrections Officer are:
  • Police Officer
  • Security Officer
  • Police Sergeant
  • Public Safety Officer

The most common qualifications to become a Corrections Officer include a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 years of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.

Related Careers

Police Officer
13% skills overlap
Security Officer
38% skills overlap
Police Sergeant
13% skills overlap
Public Safety Officer
13% skills overlap

Corrections Officer Jobs