Becoming a Correctional Officer in Arizona

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.

Schools Analyzed
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).


Rio Salado College

2323 W 14th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

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.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 15.21%
  • Program Graduates: 1,536
  • Total Graduates: 10,098
  • Programs:
    • Corrections
    • Police Science

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: More than 20,000

Arizona State University-Skysong

1475 N Scottsdale Road - Ste 315, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

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.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 5.74%
  • Program Graduates: 140
  • Total Graduates: 2,440

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 4-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 10,000 - 20,000

Coconino Community College

2800 S. Lone Tree Rd., Flagstaff, AZ 86001-2701

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.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 2.46%
  • Program Graduates: 14
  • Total Graduates: 568
  • Programs:
    • Corrections
    • Law Enforcement Administration

School Details

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

Arizona Western College

2020 S. Avenue 8E, Yuma, AZ 85365-8834

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.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 2.03%
  • Program Graduates: 69
  • Total Graduates: 3,404
  • Programs:
    • Law Enforcement Administration
    • Corrections

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 5,000 - 10,000

Yavapai College

1100 E Sheldon St, Prescott, AZ 86301

Yavapai College ranks 5th in our latest rankings with forty-nine students graduating from programs in criminal justice and law enforcement administration out of a total 2,660 students in the 2012-2013 school year.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 1.84%
  • Program Graduates: 49
  • Total Graduates: 2,660
  • Programs:
    • Law Enforcement Administration
    • Police Science

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 5,000 - 10,000

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

Phoenix College

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

Cochise College

4190 W Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607-6190
Phone: (520) 515-0500

Ottawa University-Phoenix

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

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. has published state and national trends at 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 (

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.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale7,660$19.68$40,940
Lake Havasu City , Kingman-$16.19$33,680