To become a federal correctional officer, you must apply through the Federal government. Job openings are available at BOP.gov. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident and have no felony convictions. Trainees must complete schooling at an academy run by the American Correctional Association.
To apply for a state position, applicants should check their state's employment website for openings. Regulations vary at state level, but generally correctional officers must be at least 18 or 21 years old and have a high school diploma. Some states require college degrees or credits. Federal correctional officers must have a bachelor's degree and three years of experience.
Once accepted, both state and federal trainees enter a training academy based on the guidelines put in place by the American Correctional Association. Trainees learn prison rules and regulations, as well as security procedures.
Besides the academy training, Federal employees must also complete 120 hours of specialized training at the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility within their first year. The trainees learn safety skills, and how to disarm prisoners and respond to riots. First-year correctional officers also must attend 80 hours of in-house training. Generally correctional officers do not carry weapons, but sometimes training includes firearm training.
Correctional officers can advance to sergeant, a position that supervises the correctional officers. Some officers work their way up to warden.