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Correctional Officer Education and Training

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 28 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2003 Pages: 11-22
Susan L. Clayton
Date Published
February 2003
12 pages
This article reports on a survey of United States and Canadian State, Provincial, and Federal correctional departments to determine their pre-hire education and training requirements for correctional officers, as well as training costs and wages, subsequent education and training, and educational partnerships.
The 2002 survey on correctional officer education and training shows that an officer in today's correctional setting needs a variety of skills to perform several functions/roles, including police officer, counselor, social worker, emergency responder, communicator, and sociologist. Nearly all of the 47 reporting correctional systems require a high school diploma or GED as a hiring prerequisite for correctional officers. Thirty-one of the reporting U.S. systems stated that more than 200 hours of course work is required for training. Salaries are paid to trainees in various ways: hourly, averaging $12.63; monthly, averaging $2,106; biweekly, averaging $996; and weekly, averaging $300. Nineteen U.S. systems pay an annual wage that averages $25,312. Twelve U.S. systems offer monetary incentives to correctional officers to encourage them to further their education after they are hired. Unless it is required for promotion to certain positions, advanced education is not mandatory in nearly all of the reporting systems. Formalized education partnerships are in effect in 30 of the U.S. reporting systems, primarily between the correctional facilities and community colleges or area universities. Tables show survey findings by responding jurisdictions.