Correctional Officers and Jailers

Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institutions in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, prison, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.

Median Annual Wage: $39,780

Education: High school diploma or equivalent (57%); Some college, no degree (22%); Post-secondary certificate (15%)

Projected Growth: Slower than average (3% to 7%)

Related Job Titles: Correctional Officer; Corrections Officer (CO); Jailer; Detention Deputy; Detention Officer; Correctional Sergeant; Deputy Jailer; Booking Officer; Jailor; Public Safety Officer

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Correctional Officers and Jailers.

More Protective Service Careers

  • Monitor conduct of prisoners in housing unit, or during work or recreational activities, according to established policies, regulations, and procedures, to prevent escape or violence.
  • Inspect conditions of locks, window bars, grills, doors, and gates at correctional facilities to ensure security and help prevent escapes.
  • Record information, such as prisoner identification, charges, and incidences of inmate disturbance, and keep daily logs of prisoner activities.
  • Search prisoners and vehicles and conduct shakedowns of cells for valuables and contraband, such as weapons or drugs.
  • Use weapons, handcuffs, and physical force to maintain discipline and order among prisoners.
  • Inspect mail for the presence of contraband.
  • Guard facility entrances to screen visitors.
  • Maintain records of prisoners' identification and charges.
  • Process or book convicted individuals into prison.
  • Settle disputes between inmates.
  • Conduct fire, safety, and sanitation inspections.
  • Provide to supervisors oral and written reports of the quality and quantity of work performed by inmates, inmate disturbances and rule violations, and unusual occurrences.
  • Participate in required job training.
  • Take prisoners into custody and escort to locations within and outside of facility, such as visiting room, courtroom, or airport.
  • Serve meals, distribute commissary items, and dispense prescribed medication to prisoners.
  • Counsel inmates and respond to legitimate questions, concerns, and requests.
  • Drive passenger vehicles and trucks used to transport inmates to other institutions, courtrooms, hospitals, and work sites.
  • Use nondisciplinary tools and equipment such as a computer.
  • Assign duties to inmates, providing instructions as needed.
  • Investigate crimes that have occurred within an institution, or assist police in their investigations of crimes and inmates.
  • Issue clothing, tools, and other authorized items to inmates.
  • Arrange daily schedules for prisoners including library visits, work assignments, family visits, and counseling appointments.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Correctional Officers and Jailers.

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Correctional Officers and Jailers.

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