How to Become a Correctional Officer

Those who become correctional officers are tasked with the important responsibility of keep the public safe by monitoring inmates in institutions, courtrooms, and any other destination they are currently present. In order to become a correctional officer, you will need to have certain requirements you will need to fulfill depending on which state you want to apply for. Keep reading if you wish to learn more on how to become a correctional officer.
What are the educational requirements?
Most correctional officers need to at least have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. There are some states that do require for you to have some college credits. However, if you served in the military or previous law enforcement, this can take place of your college credits.
If you want to apply for a federal prison, you will need to pursue a college career and earn your bachelor’s degree. Besides your degree, you will also need to have at least three years of full-time field experience. This experience must be in providing assistance or supervision of individuals. Federal prisons are very large and need to have experienced people overlooking the inmates.
What type of training will you need as a correctional officer?
As stated above, you will need to have certain amount of training and experience. Some states require potential employees to enroll in training programs established by the American Correctional Association (ACA). These programs offer education in many subjects including self-defense, security procedures, and the institution’s policies.
After the training is complete you may need to undergo site training as well. This training can include several weeks to months of training under an experience officer. The training however, can vary depending on who you work for.
What skills or qualities will you need as a correctional officer?
When it comes to being a correctional officer, there are certain qualities and traits you will be required to have. Qualities such as good judgment, a high moral compass, and problem sensitivity are extremely important when it comes to monitoring large crowds of inmates. Other skills such as communication, quick decision-making, and the ability to resolve or diffuse conflicts are extremely important as well. Without these important qualities and skills you cannot be successful as a correctional officer.
Is physical health important?
Being in the great physical health with a sound mind is very important when it comes to your career in this field. There will be times where you will have to restrain inmates or protect other inmates from those displaying aggressive behavior. If you are not physically conditioned, you cannot fully do your job to protect others.
A sound mind is also important as well when it comes to being a correctional officer. Being confident in your ability to do your job is highly important. It’s also important to stay true to your virtues and beliefs and to also be confident in your decision-making. Combining this with a conditioned body will ensure you are able to execute all your tasks.
Sources:
1. http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
2. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/correctional-officers.htm#tab-4

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