How to Become a Corrections Officer?

Are you thinking of becoming a Corrections Officer or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Corrections Officer, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Corrections Officer job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
"Correctional Officer" was the nearest match for you query "Corrections Officer".

Steps to Become a Correctional Officer

If you're considering starting your Correctional Officer career path, it's important to note the skills, qualifications, and time it takes to become a professional Correctional Officer and how to advance your career path. Below are the steps generally required to begin and advance your Correctional Officer career.

Earn a Degree

To begin your Correctional Officer career path, a Bachelor's Degree in correctional science or a related field is usually necessary in order to remain a competitive option for employers. Focus on industry-specific skill development during your education in order to be properly equipped when applying for entry-level positions and entering the job force. A Correctional Officer internship may be required to earn your Bachelor's Degree and acquire necessary on-the-job skills before entering the workforce.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Correctional Officer?

57% of people working as a Correctional Officer earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Correctional Officer?

  • 24 Hour
  • Responses
  • Tolerance
  • Report Writing
  • English Language
  • Confidence
  • Releases
  • Written Communication
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Correctional Officer in the United States.

Choose a Specialty in Your Field

As an Correctional Officer, you may be required to choose a specialty within your field. Determine which part of the Correctional Officer field you feel strongest in, and continue taking active steps toward growing in your chosen Correctional Officer specialty.

Get an Entry-Level Position as a Correctional Officer

Once you've acquired a Bachelor's Degree in correctional science or a related field, you'll typically begin your career as an entry-level Correctional Officer. In general, you can become a Correctional Officer after completing your 4 year Bachelor's Degree in a related discipline. Depending on the type of Correctional Officer role you’re pursuing, you may want to explore certification in certified correctional officer.

Advance in Your Correctional Officer Career

Following entry-level, there are several Correctional Officer career path levels to advance into. It can take 2 years as an entry-level Correctional Officer to progress to the senior correctional officer position. Each advanced Correctional Officer position requires approximately 8 years of experience at each level to advance in your Correctional Officer career path. It may be necessary to receive additional education, an advanced degree such as a Master's Degree in a related field, or special certifications in order to advance your Correctional Officer career path.

Continued Education for Your Correctional Officer Career Path

Not all industries and companies require continued education to advance your Correctional Officer career path. However, earning this degree may help you advance to higher-earning positions more quickly. Earning a Bachelor's Degree in correctional science can take 4 years to complete. People that have earned their Bachelor's Degree typically make $61,288 compared to $29,618 for those without that type of degree.

Corrections Officer Career Path

Correctional Officer

8+Years of Experience
$39K - $56K /yrMost Likely Range
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12% advanced to

Senior Correctional Officer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$48K - $72K /yrMost Likely Range
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Director of Correctional

No Years of Experience Reports
$56K - $90K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Corrections Officer Career Path

Correctional Officer I
Correctional Officer
Senior Correctional Officer
Correctional Manager
Director of Correctional
Chief Correctional Officer
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Related Careers in the Military & Protective Services Industry

Interested in other Military & Protective Services careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Corrections Officer skills. Discover some of the most common Corrections Officer career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Police Officer
13% skills overlap
9% transitioned to Police Officer