Becoming a Correctional Officer in Virginia

Correctional officers in Virginia work in a variety of local, federal, and state incarceration and administration facilities. While a majority of the state prisons are state-run, in recent years, government has been trending toward the hire of third-party contractors to manage and oversee prison facilities in the name of efficiency and cost-savings. There are 38 state correctional facilities, 2 federal penitentiaries, and an extensive network of county jails throughout the state of Virginia all of which share resources and communications to ensure the safety of the public. Virginia prison facilities have a range of incarceration options available - some contain a secured space for long-term and violent offenders. Others, like the James River Work Center focus on minimum-security units for inmates. State need and an increasing understanding of what rehabilitation means to offenders, their families, and the community means that staffing needs over the next 10 years are poised to grow at a steady rate (BLS.gov) - in Virginia this means that there will be approximately 650 new positions created for frontline correctional officers; applicants to the field should also be aware that there will be additional roles to fill as existing staff retire, change jobs, or advance their careers. Read more to discover additional points of interest about opportunities in the corrections field below.

39
Schools Analyzed
10
Schools Ranked

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:

Data Sources

  • 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).

1

Bluefield College

3000 College Dr, Bluefield, VA 24605

Bluefield College ranks first in our rankings with thirty-seven students graduating from programs in criminal justice out of a total 402 graduates.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 9.20%
  • Program Graduates: 37
  • Total Graduates: 402

School Details

  • School Type: Private, 4-year
  • Website: bluefield.edu
  • School Size: Less than 1,000
2

Averett University

420 W Main St, Danville, VA 24541

Averett University ranks 2nd in our rankings with eighteen students graduating from programs in corrections and law enforcement administration out of a total 302 students.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 5.96%
  • Program Graduates: 18
  • Total Graduates: 302
  • Programs:
    • Law Enforcement Administration
    • Corrections

School Details

  • School Type: Private, 4-year
  • Website: averett.edu
  • School Size: Less than 1,000
3

Virginia State University

1 Hayden Drive, Petersburg, VA 23806

Virginia State University ranks 3rd in our latest rankings with 111 students graduating from programs in criminal justice and corrections out of a total two thousand students.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 5.11%
  • Program Graduates: 111
  • Total Graduates: 2,174
  • Programs:
    • Criminal Justice
    • Corrections

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 4-year
  • Website: sola.vsu.edu
  • School Size: 5,000 - 10,000
4

Virginia Wesleyan College

1584 Wesleyan Dr, Norfolk, VA 23502-5599

Virginia Wesleyan College ranks 4th in our rankings with 24 students graduating from programs in criminal justice out of a total 572 students in the 2012-2013 school year.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 4.20%
  • Program Graduates: 24
  • Total Graduates: 572

School Details

  • School Type: Private, 4-year
  • Website: vwc.edu
  • School Size: 1,000 - 5,000
5

Radford University

801 East Main Street, Radford, VA 24141-0672

Radford University ranks fifth in our latest rankings with 162 students completing programs in criminalistics and criminal science and criminal justice out of a total 4,464 students in the 2012-2013 school year.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 3.63%
  • Program Graduates: 162
  • Total Graduates: 4,464
  • Programs:
    • Criminal Justice
    • Criminalistics And Criminal Science

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 4-year
  • Website: radford.edu
  • School Size: 5,000 - 10,000
6

Ferrum College

215 Ferrum Mountain Road, Ferrum, VA 24088-9000

Ferrum College ranks 6th in our latest rankings with 17 students graduating from programs in criminal justice out of a total 482 students.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 3.53%
  • Program Graduates: 17
  • Total Graduates: 482

School Details

  • School Type: Private, 4-year
  • Website: ferrum.edu
  • School Size: 1,000 - 5,000
7

Dabney S Lancaster Community College

1000 Dabney Drive, Clifton Forge, VA 24422-1000

Dabney S Lancaster Community College ranks seventh in our rankings with 14 students completing programs in corrections and law enforcement administration out of a total 476 graduates from the 2012-2013 school year.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 2.94%
  • Program Graduates: 14
  • Total Graduates: 476
  • Programs:
    • Corrections
    • Law Enforcement Administration

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website: dslcc.edu
  • School Size: 1,000 - 5,000
8

Longwood University

201 High St, Farmville, VA 23909

Longwood University ranks 8th in our rankings with 51 students graduating from programs in criminal justice out of a total 2,052 graduates.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 2.49%
  • Program Graduates: 51
  • Total Graduates: 2,052

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 4-year
  • Website: longwood.edu
  • School Size: 1,000 - 5,000
9

Wytheville Community College

1000 E Main Street, Wytheville, VA 24382-3308

Wytheville Community College ranks 9th in our latest rankings with forty-four students completing programs in law enforcement administration and corrections out of a total two thousand graduates from the 2012-2013 school year.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 2.08%
  • Program Graduates: 44
  • Total Graduates: 2,118
  • Programs:
    • Corrections
    • Law Enforcement Administration

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website: wcc.vccs.edu
  • School Size: 1,000 - 5,000
10

Mountain Empire Community College

3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219

Mountain Empire Community College ranks tenth in our latest rankings with twenty-eight students completing programs in corrections and law enforcement administration out of a total a thousand students from the 2012-2013 school year.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 1.92%
  • Program Graduates: 28
  • Total Graduates: 1,462
  • Programs:
    • Corrections
    • Law Enforcement Administration

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website: mecc.edu
  • School Size: 1,000 - 5,000

Continued List of All Criminal Jusitice Programs in Virginia

ProgramWebsite

Southwest Virginia Community College

369 College Road US Rt. 19, 6 Miles S. Claypool Hill, Richlands, VA 24641-1101
Phone: (276) 964-2555

Virginia Commonwealth University

910 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23284-2512
Phone: (804) 828-0100

Rappahannock Community College

12745 College Drive, Glenns, VA 23149-2616
Phone: (804) 758-6700

Danville Community College

1008 S Main St, Danville, VA 24541-4004
Phone: (434) 797-2222

Patrick Henry Community College

645 Patriot Avenue, Martinsville, VA 24112
Phone: (276) 656-0311

Virginia Western Community College

3093 Colonial Ave, Roanoke, VA 24015
Phone: (540) 857-7311

Roanoke College

221 College Lane, Salem, VA 24153-3794
Phone: (540) 375-2500

Paul D Camp Community College

100 N College Dr, Franklin, VA 23851
Phone: (757) 569-6700

Southside Virginia Community College

109 Campus Dr, Alberta, VA 23821
Phone: (888) 222-7822

Liberty University

1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, VA 24515
Phone: (434) 582-2000

George Mason University

4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
Phone: (703) 993-1000

John Tyler Community College

13101 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Chester, VA 23831-5316
Phone: (804) 796-4000

Germanna Community College

2130 Germanna Hwy, Locust Grove, VA 22508-2102
Phone: (540) 423-9030

Tidewater Community College

121 College Place, Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone: (757) 822-1122

Piedmont Virginia Community College

501 College Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22902-7589
Phone: (434) 977-3900

J Sargeant Reynolds Community College

1651 E Parham Road, Richmond, VA 23228-2327
Phone: (804) 371-3000

Northern Virginia Community College

4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796
Phone: (703) 323-3000

Marymount University

2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4224
Phone: (703) 522-5600

Shenandoah University

1460 University Dr, Winchester, VA 22601-5195
Phone: (540) 665-4500

New River Community College

5251 College Drive, Dublin, VA 24084-1127
Phone: (540) 674-3600

Hampton University

E Queen Street, Hampton, VA 23668-0099
Phone: (757) 727-5000

Blue Ridge Community College

1 College Lane, Weyers Cave, VA 24486-0080
Phone: (540) 234-9261

Virginia Highlands Community College

100 VHCC Drive, Abingdon, VA 24212-0828
Phone: (276) 739-2400

Central Virginia Community College

3506 Wards Rd, Lynchburg, VA 24502-2498
Phone: (434) 832-7600

Thomas Nelson Community College

99 Thomas Nelson Drive, Hampton, VA 23666
Phone: (757) 825-2700

Regent University

1000 Regent University Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Phone: (757) 352-4000

Lord Fairfax Community College

173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645
Phone: (540) 868-7000

Norfolk State University

700 Park Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23504-8000
Phone: (757) 823-8600

Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs

420 W Main St, Danville, VA 24541
Phone: (800) 448-5233

Virginia Correctional Officer Certification Requirements

The Department of Corrections in Virginia has an open recruitment campaign whenever a new vacancy in the system occurs. Work in corrections is challenging, but has lots of opportunity for advancement. In order to apply, candidates must demonstrate to the state that they are the best fit for the role of correctional officer through a multi-stage hiring process. It begins with basic eligibility requirements:

  • Must be 21 years of age
  • Possess a driver's licence valid in Virginia
  • Possess a High School Diploma or GED
  • Have no felony convictions or domestic violence convictions

Having submitted proof of eligibility with a completed application, successful applicants will continue to the testing portion of the hiring process:

  • Written test
  • Physical assessment
  • Fitness testing
  • Drug screening
  • Fingerprinting
  • Background and profession checks that may span a candidate's entire work history

Hiring is conditional upon successful completion of the DOC Basic Training, at which time, candidates will be considered certified corrections officers by the state and may be posted to jobs as vacancies permit.

Virginia Department of Corrections

P.O. Box 26963
Richmond, VA 23261-6963
Phone: (804) 674-3000
https://vadoc.virginia.gov/

Virginia Correctional Officer Employment & Outlook

Correctional Officer Salary: Virginia vs National Salary Comparison

Source: BLS State Cross-Industry Estimates 2011

One of the ways that the state of Virginia strives to serve and support correctional officers is through strong working conditions and competitive salaries. Currently, the median income for front-line correctional officers throughout the state is slightly lower at $35,900 than that of the national median income. According to the occupational profile for the state of Virginia, http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?next=occ_rep&Level=&optstatus=011000000&jobfam=33&id=1&nodeid=2&soccode=333012&menuMode=&stfips=51&x=44&y=13 published by CareerInfoNet.org, state and national trends predict a 13% increase in correctional officer jobs by 2022; that is, the state's growth is more than double that of national growth. For residents of the state, this rate translates into 730 job openings per year.

Occupational Employment Statistics for Correctional Officers (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm)

Virginia Correctional Officer Salaries By Area

The table below lists career information retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for correctional officers in Virginia. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Richmond3,860$18.12$37,690
Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News2,010$18.95$39,410
Lynchburg530$17.80$37,020
Charlottesville280$16.80$34,940
Danville270$15.98$33,230
Winchester170$20.57$42,790