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What Does a Correctional Officer Do?

If you want to help keep the public safe and serve your community, this career could be a good fit for you.

Correctional officers oversee people who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time. Inside a prison or jail, they enforce rules and maintain security by preventing any disturbances, assaults or escapes. These officers also escort prisoners to courtrooms, medical facilities and other locations. Correctional officers with advanced training or experience are often utilized in the counseling and rehabilitation of inmates.

Working as a correctional officer can be rewarding, but also dangerous and stressful. Officers may work odd hours to cover nights, weekends and holidays.

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Correctional officer walks through prison aisle
Correctional officers are on the front line of our nation’s prison system. (Credit: Bigflick/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Keep order within a jail or prison
  • Oversee the activities of inmates
  • Inspect inmates for contraband items
  • Report on inmate conduct
  • Escort and transport inmates
  • Ensure facilities meet security and safety standards
Education + Training

Correctional officers are employed by federal, state and local governments. The educational requirements vary depending upon the position and the level of government. Currently, many states and local governments require a high school diploma or GED. Federal corrections officer jobs require at least a bachelor's degree or three years of work experience in a related field such as supervision, counseling or criminal justice. Law enforcement or military experience may also be acceptable.

Applicants for a position as a corrections officer must typically be at least 18 or 21 years old, depending on the location, be a U.S. citizen and have no felony convictions.

  • Make decisions quickly
  • Have strong interpersonal skills
  • Have a military or law enforcement background
  • Negotiate effectively
  • Are physically strong enough to protect inmates and yourself in a tense situation
  • Have self-discipline

Correctional Officer training in your area


Correction Certificate

Glendale Community College
Glendale (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice Technology Diploma (Online)

Durham Technical Community College
Durham (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.S.

Lincoln Land Community College
Springfield (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice Studies Certificate

Community College of Baltimore County
Baltimore (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice Certificate: Corrections

Housatonic Community College
Bridgeport (0.0 Miles)
College of the Mainland

Criminal Justice, A.A.S.

College of the Mainland
Texas City (0.0 Miles)

Law Enforcement- One Year

Sinclair Community College
Dayton (0.0 Miles)

Law Enforcement Academy Certificate

Pima Community College
Tucson (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.S.

Pellissippi State Community College
Knoxville (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.S.

Community College of Philadelphia
Philadelphia (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice Certificate

Mott Community College
Flint (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice Level 2 Certificate of Technology

San Jacinto College District
Pasadena (0.0 Miles)

Find Correctional Officer Jobs in Your Area


Correctional Officer

Rock County
Janesville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

Correctional Security Officer III

State of Oklahoma
Norman ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 1 week ago

BECI Correction Officer

Department of Administrative Services, State of Ohio
Saint Clairsville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 8 months 2 weeks ago

LOCI Correction Officer

Department of Administrative Services, State of Ohio
London ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 9 months 2 weeks ago

Community Corrections Monitor 1

Renewal Inc
Pittsburgh ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 1 month ago

Officer-12 HR

GEO Group Inc.
New Castle ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago

Correctional Security Officer I

State of Oklahoma
Woodward ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 1 week ago

Temporary Police Officer (jail Officer)

Wayne County Government
Detroit ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month ago