Massachusetts Corrections Officer Job Description

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections states that as of January 2013, some 11,000 inmates were housed in the commonwealth’s correctional institutions. This does not include the Federal Medical Center located in Devens, which also houses prisoners. In Massachusetts, correctional officer jobs may be found in any of the state’s correctional institutions as well as in the Federal Medical Center in Devens.

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Becoming a Correctional Officer in Massachusetts

Educational Prerequisite

  • Federal
    • At the entry (GS 5) level, candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Alternatively, they may substitute experience as listed below.  
    • At the next (GS6) level, candidates must have taken at least nine graduate college semester hours in criminal justice, criminology, criminal justice, law, social science, or a related discipline. Alternatively, they may substitute experience as listed below.
  • State
    • Experience is preferred, but the following educational accomplishments will substitute for experience:
      • A bachelor’s degree in sociology, social work, psychology, law enforcement, criminology, criminal justice or counseling may be substituted. Two years of this education equals one year of experience at this level.
      • A bachelor’s degree in another field may be substituted for one year of experience, with two years of education equaling six months of experience.
      • A graduate degree in sociology, social work, psychology, law enforcement, criminology, criminal justice or counseling equals one year of experience and may be substituted for this.
      • Education towards a degree will be prorated if substituted for experience.

Experience Prerequisite

  • Federal
    • At the entry (GS 5) level, three years of full-time work experience in any of these areas may be substituted to meet the education prerequisite:
      • Assisting, directing and guiding others
      • Sales
      • Managing/supervising others
      • Teaching or instructing others
      •  Responding to emergencies
      • Counseling others
    • At the next (GS6) level , one year of full-time, specialized work experience in any of these areas may be substituted to meet the education prerequisite:
      • Job in which duties include making inmates in a mental health/correctional facility follow rules/regulations
      • Job in which duties include apprehending and arresting lawbreakers
      • Job in which duties include responding to domestic disturbances
  • State
    • Two years of full-time professional experience in the following areas is necessary(unless a candidate substitutes education for a portion of this time as listed above):
      • Criminal justice
      • Counseling
      • Social work
      • Treatment, rehabilitation and/or counseling of offenders (juvenile or adult)

Other Prerequisites

  • Federal
    • Candidates must be no older than 36 ½ at the time of application
    • Candidates must be U.S. citizens
  • State
    • Candidates must have a current, valid Massachusetts Class D vehicle operator’s license (or equivalent license from another state)
    • Candidates with Spanish and/or bilingual abilities are encouraged to apply

The Application Process

  • Federal
    • Search for job openings at Apply for openings online.
    • Pass a background investigation and board interview.
    • Pass a drug test and physical exam before beginning employment.
  • State
    • Search for job openings at the Massachusetts Department of Correction website.
    • View and print the online application and complete it. Mail it to Division of Human Resources, Personnel Department, P.O. Box 946, Norfolk, MA 02056.
    • Take and pass the Correctional Officer Civil Examination . Those who pass will have their names placed on a Certification List, from which the Department of Correction will contact qualified individuals as openings arise.
    • Undergo a criminal history background investigation. Present all paperwork requested.
    • Enter the Pre-Screening process, consisting of psychological, drug and physical fitness testing. This will be conducted at the Shirley Training Academy. Failing any part of this process disqualifies an applicant from becoming a correctional officer in Massachusetts.

Training for Correctional Officers in Massachusetts


Federal Correctional Officers who are hired in Massachusetts must complete training. It will entail orientation, classes on policies and procedures, and instruction on supervising inmates. The  Introduction to Correction Techniques I class is held  at the federal medical institution in Massachusetts, FMC  Devens.

New hires must also go to the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA for training in firearms, self-defense, policies and procedures, and to pass a physical abilities test.


Correctional officers who are hired in Massachusetts must complete 10 weeks of the Department of Corrections Basic Training academy. Classes will include physical conditioning, and rules, procedures and regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.

Massachusetts Corrections Officer Job Sites

Correctional officer jobs may be found throughout the commonwealth of Massachusetts, in both the Federal and State capacity.


  • Federal Medical Center (FMC), Devens


  • Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, Shirley –Maximum Security
  • South Middlesex Correctional Center, Framingham – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
  • Pondville Correctional Center, Norfolk – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
  • Old Colony Correctional Center, Bridgewater- Medium/Minimum Security
  • Northeastern Correctional Center, West Concord – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
  • North Central Correctional Institution, Gardner – Medium/Minimum Security
  • MCI Shirley, Shirley – Medium/Minimum Security
  • MCI Plymouth, South Carver – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
  • MCI Norfolk, Norfolk – Medium Security
  • MCI Framingham, Framingham – Medium/Maximum Security
  • MCI Concord, Concord – Medium Security
  • MCI Cedar Junction, South Walpole – Maximum Security
  • Massachusetts Treatment Center, Bridgewater – Medium Security
  • Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center, Bridgewater –Minimum Security
  • Lemuel Shattuck Hospital Correctional Unit, Jamaica Plain – Medium Security
  • Bridgewater State Hospital, Bridgewater – Medium Security
  • Boston Pre-Release Center, Roslindale – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
  • Bay State Correctional Center, Norfolk – Medium Security

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