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Arizona Corrections Officer Job Description

Arizona’s Department of Corrections (DOC) employs a professional workforce of correctional officers to ensure inmates’ sentences are served lawfully. Officers are trained in the field’s best security procedures and practices to ensure criminals are given a fair and unrestricted chance at rehabilitation. Working as a correctional officer opens the door to a wide variety of jobs and promotions within the Arizona DOC, all of which contribute to improving public safety. Officers will receive state-of-the-art training and opportunities to advance to their highest potential.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates several offices and correctional facilities in the state.  In addition to a community corrections center in Phoenix, the BOP also manages a medium security Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix, a low security Federal Correctional Institution in Safford, and a Federal Correctional Complex in Tucson that is comprised of a medium security facility as well as a high security U.S. Penitentiary. In 2013, the total number of inmates at Arizona federal facilities was 5,132.

Getting Started

Federal Correctional Officers

The minimum qualifications for correctional officers with the Federal Bureau of Prisons include:

  • Be a U.S. citizen (In rare cases, non-citizens may be hired if demand is high enough)
  • Be at least 21 years old and younger than 37
  • Be able to pass a thorough background investigation including financial history
  • Completed a four year college with a bachelor’s degree; or
  • Have at least three years of experience in
    • Counseling; or
    • Teaching; or
    • Selling product or services; or
    • Responding to emergencies; or
    • Supervision or management; or
    • Religious instruction; or
    • Security

Experience in one of these occupations does not necessarily need to be paid but should be full time, i.e. 40 hours a week. These qualifications allow candidates to join the BOP at the GS-5 pay grade, which provides salaries ranging from $31,315 up to $40,706.  Candidates with one or more of the following qualifications may join the BOP at the GS-6 pay grade, which provides salaries from $34,907 to $45,376:

  • Nine semester hours or fourteen quarter hours of graduate study in
    • Criminology
    • Law
    • Social science
  • At least one year of full time experience in
    • Law enforcement
    • Corrections
    • Detention
    • Clinical mental health operations

Arizona’s Department of Corrections (DOC)

Potential candidates can begin the application process by contacting a Recruitment Unit for Selection and Hiring (RUSH) at 1-888-545-RUSH (7874) or applying online through the Arizona State online jobs portal. A recruiter will review a candidate’s minimum qualifications to determine initial eligibility:

  • At least 21 years old with a high school diploma or GED
  • Proof of legal residency and a valid driver’s license
  • No felony convictions or multiple acts of moral turpitude

If the candidate meets the three requirements, he or she can fill out an application and will be scheduled for a written and oral exam. Both tests will assess the areas of:

  • General knowledge
  • Reading comprehension
  • Human relationship skills
  • Ability to follow directions
  • Observational abilities

Candidates passing the tests will be invited back for a formal interview. If all goes well a conditional offer of employment will be extended, contingent upon the candidate’s successful completion of the hiring process.

Arizona DOC Hiring Process

Candidates who make it this far will have already received an offer of employment. Now they must complete:

  • Background check: the candidate will complete an extensive background questionnaire and be required to submit proof of the fulfillment of the minimum requirements
  • Medical exam that evaluates vision, hearing, lab work, medical history, and any other areas of concern
  • Physical fitness test to be administered in the following events:
    • Simulated trigger pull and tensile strength
    • Push-ups
    • Sit-ups
    • Sit-and-reach
    • Stair climb
    • Lifting: weight and proper technique
  • Psychological assessment and personality test
  • Drug test

Federal BOP Hiring Process

The federal hiring process begins by visiting www.USAJobs.gov, where job postings for federal correctional officers can be found.  Following the link to the Office of Personnel Management will direct applicants to answer several questions about job eligibility.  The application may be submitted online along with the necessary uploaded documentation.

Prior to employment, candidates will be required to perform a set of exercises that help evaluate them for strength, agility and stamina.  This Physical Abilities Test consists of

  • Climb and grasp—candidates have seven seconds to climb a ladder and retrieve an object
  • Obstacle course—should be completed within 58 seconds
  • Dummy drag—a 75 pound dummy must be dragged at least 694 feet within three minutes
  • Run and cuff—within two minutes and 35 seconds, candidates must run a quarter of a mile and handcuff a target
  • Stair climb—while carrying a 20 pound weight, candidates must climb 108 stairs within 45 seconds

If these steps are successfully completed, an interview will be scheduled with BOP personnel.  A medical evaluation and background check will also be conducted along with a drug test.

Correctional Officer Training Academy

The Correctional Officer Training Academy is held in Tucson. This is a nine-week live-in program that imparts the knowledge, abilities, and skills needed for a solid foundation to advance in corrections careers. Trainees will receive college credit for their physically and academically challenging courses, learning how to become a qualified officer. These include:

  • Modern technology and correctional management
  • Self-defense and firearm training
  • Inmate policy, procedures, and management
  • Arizona law and state code
  • Safety procedures, first aid, and CPR
  • Control, security, and custody
  • Mental health and medical awareness

Officers will also receive two weeks of on-the-job training at their home corrections facility, split between a week in the mid-cycle of the training academy and a week after graduation.

New federal correctional officers will receive 200 hours of pre-employment training through Introduction to Correctional Techniques Phases I & II. Phase I will consist of 80 hours of orientation held at the officer’s assigned federal correctional facility.  Phase II will be conducted at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA. This three week, 120 hour program will include firearms training, self-defense, and correctional policies and procedures.  In subsequent years, officers must receive between 16 and 40 hours of additional training annually.

Corrections Officer Salary in Alabama

In Arizona, corrections officers are paid based on their experience. For corrections officers with no prior experience, the starting salary is $31,886, which then increases to $32,916 after training has been completed.

For officers with experience, the starting salary structure is as follows:

1 Year: $33,106

  • After Training: $34,136

2 Years: $34,370

  • After Training: $35,400

3 Years: $35,034

  • After Training: $36,064

4 Years: $35,720

  • After Training: $36,750

5 Years: $36,427

  • After Training: $37,457

6 Years: $37,135

  • After Training: $38,165

7 Years: $37,885

  • After Training: $38,915

8 Years: $38,634

  • After Training: $39,664

There is also an additional stipend of $2,600 per year for officers assigned to work at the Winslow Complex and Apache Unit.

Shown below are the annual salaries of corrections officers in various cities across Arizona as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
8260
41420
Tucson AZ
2060
39820
Yuma AZ
880
36580
North Arizona nonmetropolitan area
680
34600
Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area
1130
38330

Maricopa County, Arizona Corrections Officer Job Description

Between the years of 2004 and 2008, the crime rate in Maricopa County, Arizona dropped 19 percent. This decline is two times greater than the national average decline in crime, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Additionally, Maricopa County Prosecutors have a 94 percent conviction rate. Much of the credit for this drop is given to employees of the state’s law enforcement and correctional systems.

Maricopa County is the largest county by population in Arizona, thanks to the metro areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler and Mesa. The prison system in Maricopa County includes a federal penitentiary, Arizona Department of Corrections state-operated prisons, and independently operated state prisons.

Requirements of Correctional Officer Jobs in Maricopa County

Education and Experience Requirements

Federal

  • Entry-level: Bachelor’s degree in any discipline is the standard for federal correctional officer jobs in Maricopa County (or relevant experience may be substituted, as described below)
  • Second-level: Nine hours of graduate education (or relevant experience may be substituted, as described below)
  • Entry-level: Three years of work experience in counseling, teaching, emergency response, supervising, sales, guidance or other jobs may be substituted for the education requirement.
  • Second-level: One year of work experience in mental health,  law enforcement or corrections may be substituted for the education requirement

State

  • High school diploma/GED
  • No experience required

Other Requirements

Federal

  • All applicants must be under age 37 at the time of application

State

  • All applicants must be at least 20.5 years old at the time of application
  • Must have a valid Arizona driver’s license
  • Must have proof of legal residency in the U.S.
  • Must have no felony convictions

Training for Corrections Officers in Maricopa County

Federal

  • Orientation training to learn how to become a correctional officer at the federal correctional institution to which a correctional officer is assigned
  • Classes/training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA
  • After one year of work as a federal correctional officer in Maricopa County, employees must complete40 hours of continuing education classes yearly

State

  • Nine weeks of initial training at the Correctional Officer Training Academy in Tucson
  • Two additional weeks of on-the-job training on site
  • After one year of work as a correctional officer in Maricopa County, employees must complete 40 hours of continuing education classes annually

Maricopa County, Arizona Corrections Facility Locations

Federal

  • Federal Correction Institution Phoenix
    • Houses male inmates in medium security

State

  • Arizona State Prison Complex – Perryville
    • Houses 3636 female inmates in medium to maximum custody
  • Arizona State Prison Complex – Lewis
    • Houses 5401 inmates in medium and maximum custody
  • Arizona State Prison –Phoenix West
    • Houses 400 adult males needing substance abuse treatment in minimum custody
  • Arizona State Prison Complex – Eyman
    • Houses 5132 inmates in maximum custody
  • Arizona State Prison Complex –Florence
    • Houses 4126 inmates in maximum custody
  • Arizona State Prison – Florence West
    • Houses 500 adult males needing substance abuse treatment in minimum custody
  • Central Arizona Correctional Facility – Florence
    • Houses 1280 adult males needing sex inmate treatment in medium-custody

Mohave County, Arizona Corrections Officer Job Description

In a 2010 report by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, it was found that four out of five law enforcement agencies in Mohave County, Arizona had an active gang presence within their jurisdiction. Two agencies reported that gangs under their jurisdiction were expanding their presence in the county. These gangs were responsible for distributing marijuana, methamphetamine, and pharmaceuticals throughout Mohave County. Law enforcement officials and correctional officers at the county, state and federal level in Mohave County are working to contain the gang threat that remains pervasive in the county.

Education Requirements for Correctional Officers in Mohave County

COs in Federal Penitentiaries – All Mohave County residents who wish to work in a federal penitentiary located in Arizona must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to obtain an entry-level job as a federal correctional officer. Graduate college education in law, corrections or mental health is required for upper-level federal penitentiary positions.

If an applicant has three years of experience working in certain areas (such as teaching, counseling, sales, or emergency response) this may be used to satisfy the educational requirement for an entry-level federal correctional officer job. One year of specialized experience can be claimed to fulfill the graduate educational requirement for upper-level federal correctional officer jobs.

COs in State of Arizona Prisons – The State of Arizona Department of Corrections requires all Mohave County applicants to have a high school diploma or GED in order to apply for a job as a correctional officer.

COs in Mohave County Jail – Before applying for a job as a Detention Officer at the Mohave County Jail, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.

Training for Correctional Officers in Mohave County

Federal Penitentiaries – All new Mohave County federal COs complete three weeks of training at the job site and the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA where they learn how to become correctional officers. Each year thereafter, they must complete 40 hours continuing education in order to maintain their jobs.

State of Arizona Prisons – New Mohave County correctional officers must complete nine weeks of training at the Correctional Officer Training Academy in Tucson, and an additional two weeks of training at their job site. Each year thereafter, they must complete 40 hours of continuing education to maintain their jobs.

Mohave County Jail – New Mohave County Detention Officers must complete a 180-hour Basic Detention Academy training, to be conducted on the job. After that, they must complete a four week Corrections Training Officer Program.

Mohave County, Arizona Correctional Institution

Federal – Federal Correctional Institution – Phoenix (not in Mohave County but the closest federal penitentiary to Mohave County)

State – Arizona State Prison – Kingman

County – Mohave County Jail – Kingman

Pima County, Arizona Corrections Officer Job Description

Because of its geographical location, correctional officers in Pima County, Arizona apprehend many criminals for crimes occurring on the border between the United States and Mexico. Since 2007, Pima County correctional officers have arrested more than 400 criminals for border crimes. The Pima County Attorney’s Office has also instituted 88CRIME, a program in which residents can offer anonymous information to help stop crimes or catch criminals. If a felony offender is apprehended or indicted as a result of the tip, the anonymous tipper is eligible for a cash reward.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Pima County

Education and Experience Requirements for Correctional Officer Jobs

Federal

  • A GS5 Federal Correctional Officer job in Pima County requires a bachelor’s degree or experience (see below)
  • A GS6 Federal Correctional Officer job in Pima County requires nine hours of graduate education Second-level: Nine hours of graduate education or experience (see below)
  • If substituting experience for education, a GS5 Federal Correctional Officer job in Pima County requires at least three years of work experience in emergency response, sales, counseling, supervising, teaching, or guidance
  • If substituting experience for education, a GS6 Federal Correctional Officer job in Pima County requires at least one year of work experience in law enforcement, corrections or mental health treatment

State

  • A state or Pima County correctional officer job requires a high school diploma or equivalent
  • No experience is required to become an Arizona state or Pima County correctional officer

Other Requirements for Correctional Officer Jobs

Federal

  • Must be under age 37

State

  • Must be at least 21 years old (with the exception of Pima County jail correctional officer applicants, who must be 18)
  • Must possess a valid Arizona driver’s license
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident
  • Must have no felony convictions on record

Training Required to Become a Correctional Officer in Pima County

Federal

  • The federal correctional facility in Pima County to which a new correctional officer is assigned will be the site of some training for new recruits
  • The rest of a new recruit’s training will be at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA
  • Following the first year, federal correctional officers in Pima County are expected to take 40 hours of continuing education each year

State

  • A new correctional officer in a Pima County state prison facility must complete nine weeks of training at the Correctional Officer Training Academy in Tucson
  • Two weeks of training will be conducted on the job
  • Following the first year, correctional officers at Pima County state facilities must take 40 hours of continuing education annually

County

  • New Pima County correctional officers take seven weeks of training at the Correctional Officer Training Academy in Tucson
  • Then six weeks of field training are completed on the job
  • When a new recruit starts training at the Academy, his or her probationary period of one year begins

Pima County’s Correctional Complexes

Federal

  • Federal Correctional Complex, Tucson:
    • Federal Correctional Institution, Tucson
    • United States Penitentiary, Tucson

State

  • Arizona State Prison Complex – Tucson
  • Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility, Marana

County

  • Pima County Adult Detention Complex, Tucson
  • Pima County Minimum Security Facility, Tucson
  • Ajo District Jail, Ajo

Pinal County, Arizona Corrections Officer Job Description

Due to its location near the United States’ border with Mexico, the rates of border crime and crimes involving illegal immigrants are high in Pinal County, Arizona. In 2010, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department, the number of increases in marijuana seizures and vehicle pursuits involving illegal immigrants more than doubled. 45,000 pounds of marijuana were seized that year, and 333 vehicle pursuits occurred. Part of the Pinal County Adult Detention Center is used to detain illegal immigrants under the direction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Correctional officer jobs in Pinal County may be available at the county, state or federal level to deal with the detainment of these criminals.

Becoming a Correctional Officer in Pinal County

Education and Experience

Federal – In order to obtain a job as a federal correctional officer in Pinal County, Arizona, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in any field. Experience may be substituted for this education, as noted below.

In lieu of a bachelor’s degree, an applicant to become a federal correctional officer in Pinal County may claim three years of work experience. This experience must be in sales, guidance or counseling, emergency response, teaching or instructing, or supervising others.

State – Those seeking a job as a Pinal County correctional officer or a correctional officer at a state prison in Arizona must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

Applicants for Arizona state or Pinal County correctional officer jobs need no experience.

Other Prerequisites

Federal – All applicants for federal correctional officer jobs in Pinal County must be less than 37 years old

State – Those applying for Arizona correctional officer jobs in Pinal County must be 21 years of age. They must also have a valid state driver’s license, be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, and have no felony convictions.

Training for Correctional Officers in Pinal County

Federal – A new federal correctional officer will receive three weeks of training, split between his or her assigned facility and the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA. After one year of employment, federal correctional officers in Pinal County must complete 40 hours of continuing education annually.

State – Nine weeks of training at the Correctional Officer Training Academy in Tucson is required for state correctional officers in Pinal County. Two weeks of training are also given on the job. After one year of employment, correctional officers in Pinal County must complete 40 hours of continuing education annually.

Pinal County’s Corrections Facilities

Federal

  • Federal Correctional Institution, Safford (not in Pinal County but close)

State

  • Marana Community Correctional Treatment Center, Marana
  • Central Arizona Correctional Facility, Florence
  • Arizona State Prison-Florence West
  • Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman, Florence
  • Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence

County

  • Pinal County Adult Detention Center, Florence

Yavapai County, Arizona Corrections Officer Job Description

As of June 2013, the most common crimes in Yavapai County were theft, disturbing the peace, and weapons violations. Depending upon the crime committed, if convicted, criminals may be sent to federal or state correctional facilities near Yavapai County or to the Yavapai County Detention Center. Correctional officer jobs in Yavapai County may be found in either one of these locations.

Education and Experience Qualifications for Correctional Officers in Yavapai County

Federal

Bachelor’s degree in any discipline (exception made for experienced applicants, see below)

Three years of work experience in guidance, counseling, sales, teaching, supervising, or responding to emergency situations may be substituted to fulfill the educational requirement (above)

State and County

  • High school diploma or GED
  • No experience required

Other Qualifications and Requirements

Federal

  • Only those under 37 years old may apply to become a federal correctional officer in Yavapai County

State

  • Only those at least 21 years of age may apply to become a state correctional officer.
  • A valid driver’s license is required
  •  No felony convictions may be on an applicant’s record
  • U.S. citizenship/legal residency is required

County

  • Only those 20 years of age and older may apply to become a Yavapai County Correctional Officer (Detention Officer).
  • Must hold a valid driver’s license
  • Must be a resident of Yavapai County

Training for Correctional Officers in Yavapai County

Federal

  • Three weeks of training, with some held at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA, and the rest at the correctional officer’s assigned federal incarceration facility
  • Continuing education of 40 hours annually is required after a year of employment

State

  • Nine weeks of training at the Correctional Officer Training Academy in
  •  Two weeks of training on the job
  • Continuing education of 40 hours annually is required after a year of employment

County

  • 12 weeks Facility Training Program must be completed within the first six months of employment
  • Employees are on probation during the first six months of employment

Yavapai County, Arizona Correctional Facilities

Federal – Opportunities for those interested in federal correctional officer jobs in Yavapai County may be found slightly outside of the county. The Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix (to the south of Yavapai County, in Maricopa County) may offer such jobs.

State – While no state prisons exist within Yavapai County, the Arizona State Prison Complex in Winslow (which is to the west of Yavapai County, in Navajo County) may offer positions for Yavapai Countians interested in state correctional officer jobs.

County – The Yavapai County Detention Center is split into two parts: the Northern Detention Bureau in Prescott, and the Eastern Detention Bureau in Camp Verde. Both employ correctional officers (called detention officers) in Yavapai County.

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