Becoming a Correctional Officer

Do you consider yourself a strong-willed, determined and just person? Are you looking for a career that is both challenging and rewarding? In case your answers are positive then you might consider becoming a correctional officer. But, maybe you are not quite familiar with this profession and its characteristics and requirements. We will try to help.

Correctional Officers, or CO’s for short, are also known as Detention Officers, but it is the term Correctional Officer that is most widely used. Those who perform the duties of Correctional Officers bear great responsibility and are tasked with watching over individuals who have been tried, convicted and sentenced to a certain amount of time in a jail or prison. There are often individuals who are awaiting trial already as prisoners and therefore have to be guarded and monitored by the Correctional Officers. The main duty of Correctional Officers is to ensure that the regulations and rules authorized by the Prison and Justice system are followed and maintained. Correctional officers are also tasked with monitoring the daily routines of inmates during their shifts. The working shifts of Correctional Officers are usually 8 hours in length, 5 days a week. These working shifts include a 24 hour maintenance and care of inmates that the Correctional institution is required to provide. The working shifts can also extend to holidays and weekends, and also nights, if the circumstances require. Shifts can also be extended beyond the usual 8 hours and are commonly on a rotating schedule.


When it comes to the career prospects, you should know that there are high chances of advancing and/or qualifying for different positions within the Prison system. This usually requires additional training and other prerequisites. For example, in order for an individual to advance to the rank of a Correctional Officer Sergeant, he or she is required to direct the activities and duties of other officers in the Correctional institution that are on an assigned shift. Aside from that, there are also other advancement options for those who are determined to pursue them. Among those options are various administrative type positions or various supervisory positions. Perhaps the best way of pursuing promotions and rank advancements is through education, that is, through attending specific college classes and courses. The Correctional Institutions that act as employers usually favor those who possess college degrees.

Correctional officers can find employment within the Local, State or Federal levels of the prison system. All of these institutions have prerequisites that must be met. The prerequisites that the applicants must fulfill include that they have to be at least 18 to 21 years old, that they are citizens of the United States of America or that they have permanent residence in the US. A high school diploma or its equivalent is also required. Applicants also go through a thorough background check and they are required to have a clean record, and that means no felony convictions. Some institutions require that their applicants possess previous experience, be it in some law enforcement a28gency of military, whereas other institutions just prefer that.

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