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Correctional Officers

Correctional Officers
Quick Facts : Correctional Officers*
2010 Median Pay$39,020
Entry Level EducationHigh school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 2012493,100
Job Outlook5% (Slower than average)
Employment Change26,000

Correctional officers oversee individuals in the correctional facility that have either been arrested and are awaiting trial or have been sentenced to serve time in a correctional institution. They maintain security by preventing any disturbances, assaults, or escapes. Correctional officers supervise the daily activities of inmates, ensuring that inmates obey the rules and finish their work.

What Correctional Officers Do

  • Enforce rules and keep order within jails or prisons
  • Supervise activities of inmates
  • Aid in rehabilitation and counseling of offenders
  • Inspect conditions within facilities to ensure that they meet established standards
  • Search inmates for contraband items

Work Environment

Working in a correctional institution can be stressful and hazardous. Every year, correctional officers are injured in confrontations with inmates. Correctional officers have one of the highest rates of nonfatal on-the-job injuries.
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Job Outlook

Employment of correctional officers is expected to grow by 5 percent from 2010 to 2020 as demand for correctional officers will come from population growth.
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In May 2010, the average salary of correctional officers and jailers was $39,040.
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Correctional Officers*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Correctional Officers


Legal & Law Enforcement Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Correctional Officers*
Percent Change in Employment

Correctional Officers


Legal & Law Enforcement Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Correctional Officers

Correctional officers go through a training academy and then are assigned to a facility for on-the-job training. Qualifications vary by agency, but all agencies require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some also require some college education or work experience.
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