The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates a medical prison facility in Springfield as well as a community corrections office in St. Louis. The U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners held 1,001 prisoners in 2013. The Missouri Department of Corrections operates 21 correctional facilities with almost 30,000 inmates. The MDOC currently supports 11,500 correctional officers, parole officers, probation supervisors, and administrative staff.
Qualifications to Become a Correctional Officer in Missouri
Federal Educational Requirements
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that correctional officers possess at least a bachelor’s degree in any subject, although in some cases this requirement may be satisfied by extensive work experience. Candidates with this level of education may enter the BOP at the GS-5 pay level, which offers salaries ranging from $31,315 up to $40,706.
New correctional officers may also join the Bureau of Prisons at the GS-6 pay level, which provides salaries ranging from $34,907 to $45,376, if they have at least nine semester hours or 14 quarter hours in one of these graduate programs:
- Criminal justice
- Social science
State Educational Requirements
The Missouri Department of Corrections requires that all applicants have a high school diploma. It also has an two year experience requirement that may be satisfied by 60 earned credit hours of study at the post-secondary level. The annual salary for qualified state correctional officers is between $27,324 and $38,040.
Federal Experience Requirements
Applicants seeking a GS-5 job without a bachelor’s degree may substitute three years of full time work experience in one of the following areas:
- Counseling individuals
- Child care
- Emergency situations response
- Selling products or services
- Supervision or management
Candidates for federal correctional officer jobs in Missouri who possess at least one year of full time experience in one of the following specialized fields may be able to obtain a GS-6 pay grade without any graduate coursework:
- Treatment of patients confined to a mental health facility
- Law enforcement
- Supervision of inmates at a jail
- Correctional duties
In some instances, experience acquired through volunteer or unpaid opportunities may be adequate.
State Experience Requirements
The Missouri Department of Corrections requires that applicants for correctional officer jobs at the state level have at least two years of professional experience if they have no college education. This work experience may be satisfied by time served in the U.S. armed forces.
Application Process to Become a Correctional Officer in Missouri
Federal Bureau of Prisons
The process to become a federal correctional officer in Missouri begins with finding a job posting on www.USAJobs.gov. The link to the Office of Personnel Management should be followed, where a pre-employment questionnaire must be completed. Candidates will be asked to verify that they possess the following qualifications:
- U.S. citizen
- Between 20 and 37 years of age
- Have no felony or serious criminal convictions
- Have no history of serious financial improprieties
The formal application should then be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Prisons along with pertinent documents including
- College transcripts and diplomas
- Employer recommendations
- Military veteran documents
- Law enforcement service documents
If approved, candidates will be interviewed at a nearby BOP facility. A medical examination and background investigation will also be conducted.
Missouri Department of Corrections
The Missouri Department of Corrections employs a merit based hiring system in which more qualified applicants receive greater consideration. Applicants should visit the Office of Administration, Division of Personnel to find a correctional officer job opening. Applications may be filed electronically, or applicants may request a paper application. Applicants should possess the following qualifications
- Ability to complete firearms certification training
- 21 years of age or older
- Ability to pass a background investigation
- Possess a valid state driver’s license
Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Missouri
Federal Correctional Officers
The training program for federal correctional officers is provided in Introduction to Correctional Techniques Phase I and II. Phase I is an 80 hour orientation held at the facility the new officer is posted. Phase II is a 120 hour program held at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA. The four components of this phase include
- Physical abilities test comprised of
- Dummy drag
- Run and cuff
- Obstacle course
- Climb and grasp
- Stair climb
- Policies and procedures
State Correctional Officers
New correctional officers must complete 280 hours of academic and practical training prior to active service. New recruits must also successfully complete the Firearms Certification Training program provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections. After the first year, state correctional officers must complete 40 hours of training each year and maintain firearms certification through re-qualification.