How to Become a Correctional Officer

Updated on May 30, 2019

Correctional officers are law enforcement personnel who oversee individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trails.

These professionals work in stressful conditions where they need to stay vigilant at all times.


They have one of the highest rates of injuries usually resulting from close encounters with inmates.

However, if this is the type of work that one wants to do, upholding the law may be much more critical than on the job hazards.

One cannot just “decide” to be a correctional officer.

There is lots of training that one has to go through before he is accepted at this position.


One has to enroll into a training academy, and once the training is completed, s/he is usually assigned to a facility to gain on the job experience (which is extremely important since dealing with adversities is all in a day’s work for correctional officers!).

Educational qualifications may vary depending on which state an individual is from but mostly, you only require a high school diploma to qualify for a correctional officer job. Of course physical brute may be a high contributing factor to your application!

See also: Correctional Officer Resume

How to Become a Correctional Officer

Let us look at the step by step guide on how you can become a correctional officer:


While most employers or facilities might be satisfied with your high school diploma or G.E.D, you may need some additional training such as a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement. You might need to concentrate on police studies, constitutional law, and criminal investigations.

Training Program

Once your credentials are accepted, you will be required to join an academy where your real training begins. You will need to go through many courses and fieldwork to test your abilities in the role of a correctional officer.

On The Job Training

Working in a correctional facility will provide you with an excellent opportunity to learn the ropes that you will need to depend on when you work real time. This position will be a type of training that will prepare you for working in the most volatile of situations with inmates.


Once your training is done, you may consider attaining a certification that will help demonstrate law enforcement aptitude and inadvertently maximize your employment chances.

Advancing in Corrections

If you have enthusiasm, you can eventually be privileged enough to bid on special corrections projects. Here you will get a chance to work in a supervisory role (keeping in mind that you have had substantial experience) and eventually lead correctional jobs.


Additional Resources

  1. Correctional Officer Cover Letter
  2. Correctional Officer Skills
  3. Objectives for Correctional Officer

About the Author

Sam Mogul, MBA (ITM & HR), is a passionate career expert with 15 years of experience in writing and reviewing resumes, cover letters, and career-related content. He founded CoverLettersAndResume in 2011 intending to help job seekers in their job search journey. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to Contact Us. Or visit our About Us page.

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