Answers To Questions On How To Become A Correctional Officer…
Corrections officers are needed at the local, state, and federal level in order to ensure the security of prisoners.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 469, 500 correctional officers in the United States, and demand for these workers is expected to increase by 5% before the year 2020.
Since there is such a high demand for these employees, you may be wondering how to become a correctional officer. The exact procedure will vary by institution, but there are a few common criteria that typically must be met by all of them.
An individual who is applying for a correctional officer position must meet certain criteria such as:
- Being a United States citizen
- Having a high school diploma or GED (preferably a bachelor’s degree in something like criminal justice)
- Passing a criminal background check with no felonies
- Passing urinalysis testing
Once candidates have been prescreened to determine they meet these qualifications, the next step in the process will be physical fitness testing. This test is normally administered to a group of applicants, and consists of pushups, sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. Individuals must meet the targeted score for their age and gender in order to continue in the selection process.
After passing a physical fitness test, a written test is often administered next. A written test can consist of scenarios for which individuals must choose an appropriate response. Some agencies also include a section on counting as well. A score of 70% or higher is normally required in order to be placed on a list of available applicants.
This list will then be narrowed even further by the interview process. An interview can be conducted by a panel that consists of corrections officers and supervisors who will ask a pre-determined series of questions. There can be as many as three of these interviews required before a job offer will be made. Correctional officer salary is not normally discussed at an initial interview, but may be brought up during a second or subsequent interview.
Psychological testing or polygraph exams are sometimes required before a job offer is made. Those who fail these exams are precluded from employment, and cannot usually reapply at the same agency either.
Pay and Benefits
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mean annual wage for these workers is around $43,550 annually. This amounts to an average correctional officer salary of $18.77 per hour. Those who are at the top of the pay scale can earn as much as $69,610 each year, which amounts to around $33.47 per hour. For those who learn how to become a correctional officer, the pay and benefits can be well worth it.