Correctional officers work directly with people who have broken laws, people who are in jail, or people who are serving a term of probation. Working as a correctional officer can be a dangerous profession, since criminals can be dangerous and may be willing to do whatever it takes to escape from custody. In fact, correctional officers have some of the highest rates of injuries on the job because of their confrontations with inmates. Additionally, prisons and jails must have 24-hour security, 7 days per week, so many correctional officers must work overnight and morning shifts, as well as on weekends and holidays.
Correctional Officer Job Education Requirements
Most correctional officer positions require that applicants have at least a high school diploma. These candidates are selected to complete education at a training academy, where current correctional officers provide insight and information about the job duties. The qualification requirements vary by state, but agencies across the country do require a high school diploma or equivalent. Positions in federal government agencies might require a college degree or other similar education. Correctional officers with more experience can qualify for jobs with more responsibility and can earn better pay. There are also positions available for corrections specialists.
Correctional Officer Job Market
The job market for correctional officer positions should grow by five percent by the year 2022, which translates to about 23,000 job openings. This growth is actually slower than the national average for job growth across all industries. However, working as a correctional officer is an important part of the safety that residents of the United States enjoy. Therefore, those who have an interest in working with criminals should pursue this career option. Since it is a more dangerous job option, there won't be as many interested candidates, leaving more positions available for those who care about enforcing laws.
Correctional Officer Job Salary Information
The median salary for a correctional office in 2012 was $39,040. A similar position is working as a bailiff, and the median annual salary for that job in 2012 was $36,840. Since there are jails, prisons and correctional facilities throughout the country, interested candidates can find job opportunities close to home. Those who have a special interest in working with youth can find jobs in youth correctional facilities. This is a great opportunity to provide a positive influence to young adults who struggle with keeping and honoring laws.