Correctional Officer Job & Salary Information

The field of Corrections offers many career paths, and employs individuals with a broad set of educational backgrounds, including those in criminal justice, education, mental health, law enforcement, administration, healthcare, maintenance, operations, and food service. In spite of downward trends in crime, and budget constraints that typically limit employment growth in this sector, job opportunities are abundant. The rising number of adults under parole or probation and the increase in the number of private companies who are contracted to offer prison services are just a few of the factors that keep job demand high. Listed below are several of the most common professions within the field of Corrections:

Career Options in the Field of Corrections

Correctional Officer Jobs & Job Description

Corrections Officers work in a variety of environments throughout the nation’s prisons, jails, and detention centers.  Working within the proscriptions of routine duties in accordance with carefully planned policies, regulations and procedures, correctional officers maintain order throughout a facility.  While jobs do vary, corrections officers have similar sets of tasks that include:

  • Provide security, care and direct supervision of inmates or residents
  • Ensure that housing units, meals, recreation, work assignments and additional activities are secure environments for residents and staff
  • Use weapons as required to maintain order
  • Use force as required to maintain order
  • Receive incoming inmates, prisoners or residents
  • Searches, books, fingerprints and photographs incoming inmates, prisoners, or residents
  • Searches, records and stores offenders’ personal property
  • Classifies and provides accommodation for prisoners and residents
  • Provides monitoring of offenders within residential areas
  • Provides direct supervision of offenders during meals, health and medication check ins, and work periods
  • Distributes food and goods to prisoners
  • Enforces general behavior standards of prisoners
  • Secure and escorts offenders within and without the facility
  • Conduct random cell searches as a method of control and discipline for security purposes
  • Maintain and update jail records
  • Use computer systems and proprietary computer programs to check and record prison and offender data
  • Escort prisoners for court
  • Monitor offenders while in court
  • Draft reports documenting incidents, collect items for evidence
  • Liaise in a positive and professional manner with internal and external stakeholders, including supervisors; co-workers; outside law enforcement agencies; lawyers, transport personnel, county, state and federal personnel and agencies, community members
  • Follow direction to respond appropriately and professionally to emergencies using appropriate force
  • Operate a variety of equipment, including computers, printers, FAX and fingerprint machines, digital imaging computers, physical restraint devices, firearms, radios, fire extinguishers, intercom systems, telephones, and equipment found in the central control booth.

Senior corrections officer jobs often have a broader scope of practice which includes additional confidential information, advance protocols, and decision-making roles involving facilities, operations and personnel. Such responsibilities may include:

  • Tactical response and team deployment to control offender assaults, fires, riots, offender disturbances, explosions, natural disasters, and hostage conditions
  • Complete corrections paperwork including booking, medication, release records, reports; logs, requests, memos and rosters
  • Facilitate clerical and reception work to best support the prison and offenders
  • Release prisoners through approved procedures including bail, court order, or as otherwise ordered by appropriate authorities.
  • Operate, audit, repair, requisition a variety of equipment, including computers, printers, fax and fingerprinting machines, digital imaging software, physical restraint devices, firearms, radios, fire extinguishers, intercom systems, telephones, and equipment found in the central control booth.
  • Manage team morale in an appropriate, ethical and positive manner
  • Manage, monitor and engage in interactions with offenders in an appropriate, ethical and positive manner
  • Consider the health and safety of self, team, offenders, and community at large before engaging in any action within the prison
  • Liaise with senior management officials, warden, trustees, and government officials

Correctional Officer Salary Information

Correctional Officer Salary Information by State

Location 10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States $27,280 $32,390 $39,780 $55,670 $72,790
Alabama $23,720 $28,570 $32,730 $39,540 $46,900
Alaska $42,920 $48,500 $57,750 $66,660 $74,340
Arizona $31,530 $34,060 $38,260 $45,560 $50,910
Arkansas $23,640 $28,540 $32,080 $36,050 $41,650
California $48,060 $58,340 $75,250 $79,440 $81,770
Colorado $34,310 $40,410 $43,750 $55,390 $63,990
Connecticut $41,810 $46,110 $53,040 $55,070 $55,080
District of Columbia $31,410 $36,650 $48,980 $60,040 $61,440
Florida $30,040 $32,400 $36,580 $50,340 $65,280
Georgia $21,550 $24,930 $27,990 $31,390 $37,240
Hawaii $40,960 $43,690 $48,400 $55,720 $60,860
Idaho $26,130 $27,530 $30,460 $35,730 $41,750
Illinois $45,060 $51,840 $60,270 $62,790 $69,010
Indiana $26,170 $27,900 $30,860 $36,120 $41,130
Iowa $30,710 $38,760 $49,100 $55,880 $57,300
Kansas $25,220 $27,850 $32,650 $38,320 $47,030
Kentucky $21,740 $24,670 $27,840 $39,010 $49,580
Louisiana $23,660 $27,270 $31,590 $40,160 $49,100
Maine $26,880 $29,380 $34,800 $40,240 $51,290
Maryland $37,750 $40,130 $43,120 $45,570 $52,870
Massachusetts $45,470 $56,880 $67,580 $74,070 $77,980
Michigan $34,730 $44,560 $53,740 $58,640 $61,650
Minnesota $34,610 $40,010 $46,420 $54,280 $60,090
Mississippi $20,190 $22,120 $24,670 $28,930 $34,870
Missouri $24,940 $29,020 $29,030 $31,030 $36,010
Montana $26,300 $28,820 $33,130 $38,380 $45,070
Nebraska $27,310 $31,000 $33,330 $37,850 $48,340
Nevada $36,000 $41,850 $49,120 $67,660 $84,670
New Hampshire $29,420 $34,530 $41,690 $46,670 $51,780
New Jersey $42,650 $58,420 $73,240 $87,010 $97,950
New York $44,980 $53,560 $63,590 $77,780 $87,900
North Carolina $27,810 $28,990 $29,990 $34,360 $39,180
North Dakota $30,310 $33,310 $37,770 $43,830 $48,330
Ohio $31,860 $37,280 $42,640 $47,070 $50,010
Oklahoma $24,600 $26,900 $30,670 $37,520 $48,320
Oregon $40,810 $43,810 $53,810 $58,190 $68,120
Pennsylvania $33,670 $40,530 $47,980 $59,300 $64,140
Rhode Island $49,700 $56,140 $61,890 $64,930 $64,930
South Carolina $24,840 $26,680 $29,740 $35,650 $43,890
South Dakota $25,450 $28,820 $33,800 $38,490 $47,010
Tennessee $23,450 $27,180 $28,750 $34,450 $41,220
Texas $29,390 $32,930 $37,070 $39,120 $45,930
Utah $33,410 $34,310 $38,200 $45,500 $49,900
Vermont $33,580 $35,060 $38,900 $44,500 $50,330
Virginia $31,010 $32,750 $35,870 $42,860 $58,380
Washington $35,680 $45,550 $46,700 $58,350 $69,310
West Virginia $20,860 $23,090 $29,220 $42,300 $53,510
Wisconsin $33,520 $37,070 $42,110 $47,490 $53,790
Wyoming $33,010 $35,330 $39,210 $46,630 $53,210
Puerto Rico $18,330 $22,350 $26,200 $28,690 $30,180

Table data taken from 2014 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm)

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