Correctional officer job requirements

Correctional officers are tasked to keep guard over inmates in certain penal institutions. They help to maintain order and ensure that procedures go accordingly. These officers also guard inmates during transit between prisons, the courtroom, or to another institution. If you are interested in having a career as a correctional officer, there are certain skills you must have in order to be successful. Keep reading to see if you have the skills needed be a correctional officer.
• Physical strength. There will be times where you will encounter dangerous situations and will need to subdue an inmate. It’s not an ideal situation but it does happen. It’s extremely important to stay in excellent physical health and maintain your strength. Being on top of your diet and having an exercise regiment will help you stay strong during those tough predicaments.
• Interpersonal skills. As a correctional officer, you will have to interact with inmates, other correctional officers, and also your superiors. You must maintain professional relationships with everyone you encounter. There will be people who may seem abrasive to you but despite how abrasive they may be, you must have a professional and respectful demeanor.
• Ability to think outside the box. During spontaneous situations you will have to be able to find a solution quickly. Your quick decision making skills can help to alleviate or diffuse a potentially hazardous situation. There will also be times when things do not go according to plan or schedule and you will have to figure out a way around the issue. There may not be many times where this will happen, but when it does you will need to be ready and prepared.
• Self-confidence. There will be inmates who will try to undermine you and you need to have the confidence to ensure that they will not be able to get under your skin. The confidence goes along side your decision making skills. You cannot second guess yourself in certain situations. Those times of second guessing and insecurity can lead to disastrous results. Confidence also helps to command respect from the inmates and also from your co-workers as well.
• Moral compass. In order to be a correctional officer, you will need to have great moral compass. You will be surrounded by people who did horrible things in their past and will need to make sure you can still make the proper judgment calls when you need to. Always stay true your virtues and belief system.
• Problem sensitivity and perception. Along with the ability to think outside of the box, you have to also have the perception or ability to be able to sense or know when something is wrong or will go wrong. With this skill, you can help recognize the problem and eliminate it before it even occurs.
• Communication and comprehension. As a correctional officer, you will have to state commands and orders clearly and concisely. You will also need to be able to comprehend and understand the information being told to you as well. This will avoid confusion and miscommunication.
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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