New York State Corrections Officer Job Description

New York State corrections officers are not only responsible for the custody and surveillance of the 54,700 criminal offenders housed in 60 state correctional facilities, but also for the safety and well-being of these inmates. As of July 23, 2012, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) employed 17,766 corrections officers with an additional 200 recruits in the training academy.

Duties of Corrections Officers in New York State

Corrections officer jobs in New York are as designated under peace officer status, requiring these professionals to carry their identification cards at all times, even when not on duty. Their on-the-job responsibilities include:

  • Supervise movements and activities of inmates
  • Make rounds of assigned areas
  • Search spaces and persons for contraband
  • Maintain order
  • Instruct inmates about rules and regulations
  • Help inmates resolve problems
  • Prepare written reports

Qualifications for Job as Corrections Officer in New York State

Federal Bureau of Prisons

The minimum qualifications necessary to join the Federal Bureau of Prisons include:

  • U.S. citizenship (this may be waived for facilities in extreme need of personnel)
  • At least 21 years of age but no older than 36
  • Have no serious criminal convictions
  • Have no major financial obligations

The pay grades for entering federal correctional officers are GS-5 and GS-6.  The requirements for GS-5 employees are:

  • Possession of a bachelor’s degree; or
  • At least three years of experience in
    • Management
    • Sales
    • Teaching
    • Security
    • Counseling
    • Emergency response

The minimum requirements for entry at the GS-6 level are:

  • Nine semester hours of graduate courses in
    • Social science
    • Criminology
    • Law; or
  • One year of service in
    • Law enforcement
    • Mental  health care
    • Corrections

New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)

Candidates interested in learning how to become corrections officers in New York must be:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Physically fit
  • Able to pass New York civil service exam

Announcements of corrections officer openings and exam dates are available at the Department of Civil Service website, or by calling 1-877-697-5627.  Online or paper applications can be submitted when openings occur.

Once candidates pass the written exam and their applications are approved, they will be notified of dates/times to begin the screening process which includes a physical agility test, medical examination, psychological evaluation and background investigation. There is mandatory fingerprinting ($75 fee).

Correction Officers in New York are Exceptionally Physically Fit

On March 7, 2013, a relay team of four New York corrections officers competed in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 25th annual stair-climbing fundraiser at the Corning Tower in Albany. The four officers beat 16 other teams and won the competition by running up the tower’s 41 floors (809 steps) in 3 minutes, 21 seconds! They helped to raise $50,000 for research to combat the disease.

Training for a Career as Corrections Officer in New York

Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy

The Federal Bureau of Prisons mandates that new correctional officers receive 200 hours of orientation and training, while serving officers must receive between 16 and 40 hours of training each year. The first 80 hours of pre-employment training are administered through the assigned facility, while the remaining 120 hours are conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy in Glynco, GA. This training includes instruction in firearms, vehicle operations, marksmanship, and policies.

New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)

New York State corrections officers have a 12-month training period. Individuals who successfully complete the screening process are required to participate in an eight-week long training program at the Correctional Services Training Academy in Albany that incorporates both academic courses and rigorous field training. Classroom subjects include:

  • Security Procedures
  • Legal Rights and Responsibilities
  • Emergency Response Procedures
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Corrections Concepts/Issues

Field work includes firearms training and tough physical fitness training aimed at increasing the recruit’s strength, endurance and stamina. At the end of the training recruits must complete seven sequential job-related tasks within 2 minutes and 14 seconds. Failure to perform this test results in dismissal. The formal training is followed by 10 months working in a correctional facility under the direct supervision of a superior officer before becoming a certified corrections officer.

Corrections Officer Salary and Benefits in New York State

The annual base salary for corrections officer is: first 26 weeks of training – $39,014; second 26 weeks – $41,037; certified corrections officer – $46,990. Recruits are paid an extra $200 upon successful completion of the academy training program. There is also inconvenience pay for persons working evening and night shifts. Raises are based on performance evaluations. Benefits include medical, dental, vision and life insurance.

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