Georgia Corrections Officer Job Description

Georgia is home to a large number of federal and state correctional facilities.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta as well as the Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup.  The BOP also has two private facilities in McRae and Folkston that are managed by private contractors.  The total number of federal inmates in Georgia was 8,189 in 2013.

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The Georgia Department of Corrections operates 38 prisons, which include several facilities operated by private companies.  The DOC supervised 38,369 inmates at state prisons in 2011, with 5,346 at private facilities.  The total costs for GDOC to operate in 2011 exceeded $1.133 billion.

Prerequisites to Become a Correctional Officer in Georgia

Federal Bureau of Prisons

To join the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the GS-5 level, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field; or
  • Have at least three years of work experience in one of these areas:
    • Teaching
    • Management
    • Commissioned sales
    • Emergency response
    • Counseling
    • Security

GS-5 employees receive salaries between $31,315 and $40,706. More qualified candidates may enter at the GS-6 pay grade but must possess one or more of these qualifications:

  • 14 quarter hours or nine semester hours of graduate coursework in one of these fields
    • Law
    • Criminal justice
    • Criminology
    • Social science
  • One year of full time experience in one of these areas
    • Corrections
    • Mental health facility work
    • Law enforcement
    • Detentions

In some cases, volunteer or unpaid work may satisfy these requirements.  GS-6 employees receive salaries between $34,907 and $45,376.

All federal correctional officers must also possess these  qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be between 20 and 37 years of age
  • Ability to pass a background investigation
  • Possess no serious financial discrepancies including poor credit history
  • Ability to successfully complete a physical abilities test composed of
    • Obstacle course
    • Dummy drag
    • Climb and grasp
    • Run and cuff
    • Stair climb

Georgia Department of Corrections

The Georgia Department of Corrections requires that correctional officers meet the following educational and experience requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Preferred:  GDOC prefers applicants with
    • One year of experience in a correctional setting; or
    • At least an associate’s degree in psychology, sociology, criminal justice or a related field

Applicants for correctional officer jobs in Georgia must also possess the following qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have no physical condition that would limit essential job functions
  • Have at least 20/40 vision in both eyes, with or without correction
  • Possess normal color vision
  • Have near normal hearing
  • Possess the physical conditioning to perform these timed tasks
    • One mile run
    • Sit ups
    • Push ups

Correctional officer job applicants in Georgia must also take the Peace Officer Standards and Training Entrance Exam prior to application.  In Georgia, the ASSET and COMPASS tests serve as the official POST exams.  These exams are offered through the Technical College System of Georgia.  The required scores on these exams to apply to a POST position are:

  • ASSET
    • Reading:  38
    • Writing:  35
    • Numerical:  35
  • COMPASS
    • Reading:  70
    • Writing:  23
    • Numerical:  26

The salary for state correctional officers is between $24,322 and $42,643.  The Georgia Department of Corrections also provides incentives for highly qualified applicants:

  • Educational incentives
    • Associate’s degree:  3 percent lump sum payment
    • Bachelor’s degree:  5 percent lump sum payment
    • Master’s degree:  5 percent lump sum payment
    • Military service incentives
      • 1 year of service:  2.5 percent salary increase
      • 2 years of service:  5.0 percent salary increase
      • 3 years of servic:  7.5 percent salary increase
      • 4+ years of service:  10.0 percent salary increase

Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Georgia

Federal

The Federal Bureau of Prisons mandates that all new correctional officers receive at least 200 hours of formal training to learn how to become correctional officers in Georgia.  The first 80 hours of training are entitled Introduction to Correctional Techniques Phase I and are conducted at the correctional facility the officer is assigned to, and includes an introduction to the major features of the facility, the most important policies and security procedures.  During this portion of training, officers also become acquainted with the prison population.

The following 120 hours of training are conducted at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA.  The four components of this training program entitled Introduction to Correctional Techniques Phase II include:

  • Firearms training
  • Physical abilities
  • Self-defense
  • Policies and procedures

Following this three-week program, new officers are closely supervised during the first year of service.  In subsequent years, correctional officers must complete 16 to 40 hours of additional training each year.

State

The four-week training program for state correctional officers is conducted through Basic Correctional Officer Training.  This program includes courses on:

  • Health and human services
  • Legal procedures
  • Use of force
  • Security and supervision
  • Emergency procedures

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