Incarcerated individuals in Arizona's local, state, and federal prisons require qualified corrections officers that are professional and treat offenders within safe and humane guidelines, as well as provide opportunities for reform every day. Arizona has some of the largest facilities in the United States and therefore the need for both male and female correctional workers is ongoing. Currently, the state employs just over 9,800 officers across its 16 facilities, which house 39,062 inmates. Correctional facilities in Arizona are either state-owned, like Yuma, Winslow, and Tucson State Prisons, or are under contract from the state to private enterprises, such as Central Arizona Correctional Facility, Marana, and the Red Rock Correctional Center. Regardless, information concerning each facility and employment opportunities can be found on the state's Department of Corrections website. The Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines that job growth is steady at 5% over the next decade, and ample employment opportunities abound as states outsource more prison facilities to third-party companies and move to fill internal gaps left by retiring or promoted officers. The need for correctional workers in community services capacities is also expected to grow. Read more information about the industry below.
Top Schools Supporting Careers in Criminal Justice & Corrections
The following rankings are based on student data, published surveys, and other school and career data collected from several sources which include the following government agencies:
- National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
- The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
By obtaining our base data set from the above data sources, schools were ranked using the criteria below:
- Schools with less than 10 total graduates per year were omitted in order to maintain statistical integrity
- Schools must have at least 1 graduate in the field of criminal justice
- Only 4-year, 2-year, and technical public and private non-profit schools were included
Schools were sorted in order of the highest percentage of total students graduating with a degree in the field of criminal justice (CIPCODES: 43.0102, 43.0110, 43.0113, 43.0103, 43.0104, 43.0107, 43.0109, 43.0111, 43.0112, 43.0199).
Rio Salado College
Since 1997, the educational service partnership between Rio Salado College and the Arizona Department of Corrections has helped more than 13,000 individuals earn a certificate of completion in Law Enforcement Technology Basic Corrections.
Upon completion of the program, basic corrections students earn 21 college credits while on the job. As program completers, they are well on their way toward completing an Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) in Corrections degree, which is beneficial for those seeking promotion or career advancement.
Rio Salado has an appointed staff member called a “navigator” to further assist corrections officers in reaching the goal of earning an AAS, which can be completed online through Rio Salado.
Like other industries, the criminal justice field is facing challenges relating to recruitment and retention of qualified personnel, especially now, as they compete with other criminal justice fields such as law enforcement or private security. Rio Salado is committed to helping the corrections industry meet the demands of finding qualified employees, the success of its Basic Corrections program and ultimately, degree completion for all students.
Arizona State University-Skysong
Arizona State University-Skysong ranks 2nd in our rankings with 140 students completing programs in law enforcement administration out of a total two thousand students in the 2012-2013 school year.
Coconino Community College
Coconino Community College ranks 3rd in our rankings with 14 students graduating from programs in law enforcement administration and corrections out of a total 568 students from the 2012-2013 school year.
Arizona Western College
Arizona Western College ranks 4th in our rankings with sixty-nine students completing programs in corrections and law enforcement administration out of a total three thousand students in the 2012-2013 school year.
Yavapai College ranks 5th in our latest rankings with forty-nine students graduating from programs in law enforcement administration and criminal justice out of a total 2,660 students in the 2012-2013 school year.
Continued List of All Criminal Jusitice Programs in Arizona
Central Arizona College
8470 N Overfield Rd, Coolidge, AZ 85128-9030
Phone: (520) 494-5444
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
2626 E Pecos Rd, Chandler, AZ 85225-2499
Phone: (480) 732-7000
1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013
Phone: (602) 264-2492
Eastern Arizona College
615 N. Stadium Ave., Thatcher, AZ 85552-0769
Phone: (928) 428-8322
Glendale Community College
6000 W Olive Ave, Glendale, AZ 85302
Phone: (623) 845-3000
Mesa Community College
1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202
Phone: (480) 461-7000
Pima Community College
4905C East Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85709-1275
Phone: (520) 206-4500
Estrella Mountain Community College
3000 N Dysart Rd, Avondale, AZ 85323-1000
Phone: (623) 935-8000
Scottsdale Community College
9000 E Chaparral Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Phone: (480) 423-6000
4190 W Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607-6190
Phone: (520) 515-0500
10020 North 25th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021
Phone: (602) 371-1188
Paradise Valley Community College
18401 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85032
Phone: (602) 787-6500
Mohave Community College
1971 Jagerson Ave, Kingman, AZ 86409-1238
Phone: (928) 757-4331
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Arizona Correctional Officer Certification Requirements
The Arizona Department of Corrections is continually recruiting correctional officers for roles in county jails, parole, and state and federal penitentiaries. Candidates should be of good moral character and drawn to a life of public service. In order to apply for a job within the state's DOC, there are several documents that must be submitted as a preliminary application package. These are:
- High school diploma or GED
- 21 Years of Age
- No felony convictions
- Valid drivers license for the state of Arizona
- United States legal resident status
- Honorable discharge papers from military if applicable
Having satisfied the minimum basic requirements for the correctional officer application process, further testing is required. The state of Arizona requires correctional officer recruits to provide these additional qualifications:
- Medical screening
- Fitness testing
- Mental health screening
Recruits who have successfully passed all proof-requirements and screenings up to this point will be placed in a new-candidate hiring pool to be drawn upon as the need arises due to veteran officers' advancement or retirement. As positions become available throughout the state, candidates will be contacted to submit proof of a final negative drug test, and as such, arrangements will be made for correctional officer academy training to begin.
Arizona Department of Corrections
1831 West Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: (602) 542-5497
Arizona Correctional Officer Employment & Outlook
Correctional Officer Salary: Arizona vs National Salary Comparison
Source: BLS State Cross-Industry Estimates 2011
The state of Arizona is committed to serve and support correctional facilities in the state by encouraging growth in the field. To this end, the median income for front-line correctional officers throughout the state is slightly lower at $38,300 than the median national income of $39,800, which translates to less than $1 per hour difference. CareerInfoNet.org has published state and national trends at http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?next=occ_rep&Level=&optstatus=011000000&jobfam=33&id=1&nodeid=2&soccode=333012&menuMode=&stfips=04&x=33&y=9 which predict that growth in Arizona at 13% from now until 2022 vastly outstrips the national growth trend of 5%. The predicted job growth translates into approximately 510 jobs in the form of newly created openings and existing vacancies over the next decade.
Occupational Employment Statistics for Correctional Officers (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm)
Arizona Correctional Officer Salaries By Area
The table below lists career information retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for correctional officers in Arizona. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale||7,660||$19.68||$40,940|
|Lake Havasu City , Kingman||-||$16.19||$33,680|