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Ohio Corrections Officer Job Description

Ohio is home to three facilities that house federal inmates.  The Federal Correctional Institution at Elkton is a low security facility housing 2,434 male inmates.  The Correctional Institution North East Ohio Correctional Center is a private facility operated by a contractor and houses 1,507 inmates.  There is also a Community Corrections Management Field Office in Cincinnati.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections is responsible for overseeing the entire corrections and state prison operations in the state. Over the past three years, Ohio has seen very small decreases in their prison population, but there is still a demand for more correctional officers in the state- especially in the state prisons and correctional facilities that serve the major population areas of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton and Columbus.

In total, there are 28 correctional and rehabilitative institutions in the state of Ohio, which are consist of more than 12,000 employees (most of which are correctional officers) and about 50,000 inmates, according to a 2011 study conducted by Ohio State Justice and Public Safety Systems administration.

Basic Requirements and Qualifications

Federal Correctional Officers

The minimum requirements necessary to join the BOP as a correctional officer are

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • No felony or serious criminal convictions
  • Pristine financial history
  • Be between 20 and 37 years of age
  • Physically capable of
    • Climb and grasp—ascend a latter and grasp object in 7 seconds
    • Dummy drag—drag 75 pound dummy across 694 feet within three minutes
    • Obstacle course—to be completed within 58 seconds
    • Run and cuff—cross one quarter mile and handcuff a target within 2 minutes and 35 seconds
    • Stair climb-traverse 108 steps in 45 seconds while carrying a 20 pound weight

Federal correctional officers may join the BOP with a GS-5 or GS-6 pay level.  Minimum requirements for GS-5 includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree; or
  • At least three years of experience in management, sales, teaching, emergency response, or counseling

Eligibility for GS-6 includes

  • One year of service in corrections, detentions, law enforcement, or mentally ill patient care; or
  • Nine semester hours of graduate study in social science, law or criminal justice

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

While it is not required, if an applicant has an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, they will be given preference over other applicants- especially if the degree is in sociology, criminology, criminal justice, psychology or a related field of study. Those with experience in security, military police or law enforcement are also given special consideration during the hiring and recruitment process.

In order to be considered for a correctional officer position in Ohio, a person applying for the job must first meet certain basic criteria. The following are some of the basic requirements and qualifications that must be met in order to move on with the hiring process:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must be of good moral character and be able to pass a criminal background check
  • Must be in good physical condition
  • Must have at least a high school diploma or GED, or an equivalent level of education
  • Must have a valid drivers license
  • Must be a resident of the state of Ohio

Examinations and Certification

If an applicant is chosen to move on in the hiring process for a job as a correctional officer in Ohio, they will then be asked to complete a series of examinations and tests. All applicants must pass a physical examination as given by the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, and must pass a psychological test as well. Recruits will also be given a drug screen and an intensive criminal background check, which also must be passed to move on to the training program. A Civil Service Examination must also be taken, which will grant the recruit certification, which is required to work as a state employee in any capacity.

Training

Federal Correctional Officer Training

The 200 hour training program for federal correctional officers is conducted at the assigned facility and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy in Glynco, GA. This instruction includes

  • Witness security
  • Marksman observer
  • Firearms
  • Self-defense
  • Policies and procedures
  • Vehicle operations

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Training

Correctional officers are required to complete 160 hours of training during their first year of employment. The training is very intensive and will teach recruits all the skills they need in order to work in the pressure-filled environment of a state prison.

After the first year of employment, correctional officers are required to complete 40 hours of additional training each year that they work with the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections in Ohio.

Corrections Officer Salary in Ohio

The average corrections officer salary in Ohio during 2012 was $41,030 according to data provided by U.S. the Department of Labor. One of the highest paying cities in the state was Columbus where the median was $42,700.

In Ohio, correctional officers are paid according to the following step-by-step salary plan:

Correction Officer:

  • Step 1: $34,008
  • Step 2: $34,902
  • Step 3: $35,818
  • Step 4: $36,858
  • Step 5: $38,189
  • Maximum: $41,350

Correction Sergeant:

  • Step 1: $35,818
  • Step 2: $36,858
  • Step 3: $38,189
  • Step 4: $39,645
  • Step 5: $41,350
  • Maximum: $45,282

Correction Lieutenant:

  • Step 1: $43,451
  • Step 2: $45,989
  • Step 3: $48,651
  • Step 4: $51,397
  • Step 5: $54,309

Correction Captain:

  • Step 1: $47,923
  • Step 2: $50,627
  • Step 3: $53,352
  • Step 4: $56,306
  • Step 5: $59,446
  • Step 6: $62,670

Correction Major:

  • Step 1: $52,832
  • Step 2: $55,744
  • Step 3: $58,802
  • Step 4: $61,942
  • Step 5: $65,416
  • Step 6: $68,973

These salaries represent corrections officers throughout Ohio’s major cities as has been reported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Akron OH
160
33190
Canton-Massillon OH
280
36230
Cincinnati-Middletown OH-KY-IN
1720
36700
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor OH
1350
40650
Columbus OH
2880
41140
Dayton OH
390
40350
Huntington-Ashland WV-KY-OH
380
36480
Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna WV-OH
150
30270
Steubenville-Weirton OH-WV
110
31850
Toledo OH
490
39420
Wheeling WV-OH
560
36410
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman OH-PA
1370
43650
West Northwestern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
290
35320
Other Ohio nonmetropolitan area
940
43440
Eastern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
420
40460
Southern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
1540
40940

Cincinnati, Ohio Corrections Officer Job Description

There are many options to pursue when considering a career as a correctional officer in Cincinnati. The city runs one of the 25 largest prisons in the country at its Hamilton County Justice Center facility. It also offers jobs in alternative justice environments that focus on rehabilitation while working closely with the surrounding community.

Whether the goal is to move on to other areas of law enforcement or to make a career-long commitment to improving the surrounding community by serving as a correctional officer, working in one of Cincinnati’s correctional facilities is an excellent way to start a career in the field of criminal justice.

Requirements for CO Jobs at the River City Correctional Center

The River City Correctional Center, located at 3220 Colerain Avenue in Cincinnati, is one of eighteen Community Based Correctional Facilities (CBCF’s) operating in the state of Ohio. CBCF’s are local, short-term alternatives to prisons that focus on rehabilitation for non-violent, felony offenders. The River City Correctional Center can accommodate 220 residents, consisting of 165 male and 55 female residents.

The RCCC employs 100 full and part time employees to provide service for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The requirements for becoming a correctional officer at the River City Correctional Center are as follows:

  • A High School diploma or G.E.D. While a college degree is not necessary, earning a degree in a discipline related to criminal justice or law enforcement could be beneficial for a career as a correctional officer
  • A valid drivers license
  • Applicants must have the ability to deal with problems involving multiple variables
  • Must be able to complete routine forms
  • Applicants are required to have basic computer knowledge
  • Applicants must be physically fit.
  • Applicants are required to pass correction officer assessment or they must have completed the assessment within the past 24 months.
  • Applicants must complete a probationary period of 365 days after initial employment

Requirements for CO Jobs Near Cincinnati with the Hamilton County Sherriff’s Office

The Hamilton County correctional system has an average annual of admissions total of 55,000 inmates. They have a daily inmate population of about 1,424.

The following facilities are located in Hamilton County, within commuting distance from Cincinnati:

  • Hamilton County Justice Center
    • This is the largest facility in Hamilton County. It was constructed in 1985, and has a capacity to hold 1,240 people
  • Reading Road Facility
    • Capacity for 172 people
  • Woodburn Avenue Facility
    • Offers a treatment program for offenders with multiple DUI’s
    • Has the capacity to hold 60 people

Hamilton County trains their deputies by first stationing them as correctional officers, rather than hiring CO’s from outside of their organization.

The basic requirements for Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office are as follows:

  • Applicant must have high school diploma or GED equivalent. A college degree is not required, but it would be beneficial, especially if it is related to criminal justice or law.
  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must have good moral character
  • Applicant must be a US citizen
  • Applicant must not have been convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor involving moral character
  • Must be drug free for at least the past three years
  • Must submit to both criminal and personal background checks
  • Applicant’s weight must be proportional to height according to established standards
  • Must be fluent in speaking, reading, and writing in English
  • Applicant’s must pass a written exam, physical fitness assessment, and medical examination
  • Completion of a home interview and two oral interviews
  • Pass Computer Voice Stress Analyzer test
  • Applicant’s can have no visible tattoos in short-sleeved uniform shirts

Cleveland, Ohio Corrections Officer Job Description

According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Cleveland, Ohio, and Cuyahoga County had a total of 3,957 commitments into area correctional facilities in 2011. Of those, 17 percent were for drug trafficking; nearly 10 percent were for burglary; 8 percent were for drug profession, and nearly 7 percent were for felony assault. Violent offenders comprised about 45 percent of the commitments in 2011.

Minimum Qualifications for Correctional Officer Jobs in Cleveland

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction organizes its prisons into four regions, with Cleveland, Ohio, classified in the Northeast Region. The correctional facilities within the Northeast Region include:

  • Trumbull Correctional Institution
  • Ohio State Penitentiary
  • Northeast Pre-Release Center
  • Lorain Correctional Institution
  • Lake Erie Correctional Institution
  • Grafton Correctional Institution

Further, Ohio is served by FCI Elkton, a federal correctional institution, which houses low-security mail offenders.

State Correctional Facility Requirements

Individuals interested in obtaining corrections officer jobs in Cleveland, and working for one of the state’s correctional facilities must ensure they meet the minimum requirements as set forth by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Candidates must:

  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a valid driver’s license

Candidates must also successfully complete the officer assessment or have successfully completed the officer assessment within the past 24 months.

Further, individuals who want to learn how to become a correctional officer in Cleveland must understand the training requirements involved in this position. Upon being hired by the Department, individuals must complete and pass all pre-service training and firearms courses and must re-qualify on annual basis. Corrections officer jobs in Cleveland also require passing an unarmed self-defense course.

Federal Correctional Facility Requirements

Individuals interested in pursuing federal correctional officer jobs in Cleveland, Ohio, at the FCI Elkton must meet federal correctional officer guidelines for employment as set forth by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

Although education and employment requirements for corrections officer jobs through the BOP vary according to grade level, qualifications for entry-level (GS-05 grade level) correctional officer jobs in Cleveland require that candidates:

  • Possess a full, four-year course of study, resulting in a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; OR
  • Possess at least 3 years of full-time experience in one of the following:
    • Providing assistance, counseling, or guidance to individuals
    • Supervising or managing
    • Teaching or instructing
    • Selling products of services (persuasive commission)

Candidates may fulfill the experience requirements by working as a:

  • Parole/probation worker
  • Counselor
  • Teacher/instructor
  • Firefighter
  • Nurse
  • Clergyman
  • Air traffic controller
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Day care facility worker
  • Salesperson in commissioned sales
  • Security guard

Individuals interested in pursuing correctional officer jobs at the GS-06 level must, in addition to the above requirements, have successfully completed at least one of the following:

  • Nine semester hours of graduate study in criminology, criminal justice, one of the social sciences, or a related field; OR
  • At least one year of full-time, specialized experience doing the following: working with individuals in a correctional or mental health facility; apprehending or arresting individuals; or responding to domestic disturbances. Common positions in which this experience may take place include:
    • Detention officer
    • Correctional officer
    • Border patrol agent
    • Sheriff
    • Park ranger
    • Deputy sheriff
    • State trooper

Regional Correctional Facilities

Statistics for regional correctional officer jobs in Cleveland, as of 2013:

Lake Erie Correctional Institution, Conneaut, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 144
  • Inmate population: 1,542

Lorain Correctional Institution, Grafton, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 265
  • Inmate population: 1,479

Ohio State Penitentiary, Youngstown, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 251
  • Inmate population: 458

Trumbull Correctional Institution, Leavittsburg, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 244
  • Inmate population: 1,069

Grafton Correctional Institution, Grafton, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 220
  • Inmate population: 2,009

FCI Elkton, Elkton, Ohio

  • Inmate population: 1,823

Columbus, Ohio Corrections Officer Job Description

Columbus, Ohio, and Franklin County had 1,834 total commitments into its regional correctional facilities in 2011, with 41 percent of those commitments being violent offenders. The commitments in Franklin County totaled about 10 percent of the state’s commitments. Likewise, the correctional facilities in Franklin County totaled about 10 percent of the total inmate population in Ohio during this time.

Of those committed to Franklin County correctional facilities in 2011, 11 percent were for robbery; nearly 11 percent were for drug possession; 10 percent were for burglary; 6 percent were for felony assault; and 6 percent were for grand theft.

Correctional Officer Job Requirements and Training in Columbus

Individuals interested in pursuing corrections officer jobs in Columbus must meet a key set of minimum requirements, and education and experience requirements differ for state and federal corrections officers:

FCI Elkton: Federal Correctional Institution

Corrections officers in Columbus must meet the education and experience requirements set forth by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to qualify for correctional officer jobs in FCI Elkton, a federal correctional institution.

Individuals who want to pursue entry-level correctional (GS-05 grade level) officer jobs must possess one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; OR
  • At least 3 years of full-time experience doing one or more of the following:
    • Teaching/instructing
    • Supervising/managing
    • Providing counseling, assistance or guidance
    • Selling in a persuasive commission environment

Individuals who meet the experience requirements for federal correctional officer jobs likely work as a:

  • Air traffic controller
  • Clergyman
  • Counselor
  • Day care facility worker
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Firefighter
  • Nurse
  • Parole/probation worker
  • Salesperson in commissioned sales
  • Security guard
  • Teacher/instructor

Higher-level federal corrections officer jobs often require graduate study in criminal justice, criminology, or one of the social sciences and/or experience working as:

  • Corrections officers
  • Parole or probation officers
  • Detention officers
  • Border patrol agents
  • Sheriffs
  • State troopers
  • Deputy sheriffs
  • Sheriffs

State Correctional Facilities in Columbus, Ohio

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction divides its correctional facilities into regions for administrative purposes. The state correctional facilities in the Southeast Region, which includes Columbus are:

  • Noble Correctional Institution
  • Pickaway Correctional Institution
  • Belmont Correctional Institution
  • Southern Ohio Correctional Facility
  • Southeastern Correctional Complex
  • Southern Ohio Correctional Facility

Candidates for state correctional facilities must possess a high school diploma or GED and must possess a valid driver’s license to be eligible for corrections officer jobs in Columbus according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. In addition, candidates must complete the officer assessment (or have completed the assessment within the last 2 years) to qualify for Columbus, OH correctional officer jobs.

Individuals who want to learn how to become a correctional officer in Columbusthrough training must understand the pre-service training and firearms courses that must be successfully completed upon being hired. All corrections officers in Columbus must also re-qualify annually in training, firearms, and they must pass an unarmed self-defense course.

Corrections in Columbus, Ohio: A Snapshot of Regional Facilities

Northeast region correctional facilities, as of 2013:

Belmont Correctional Institution, St. Clairsville, Ohio:

  • Total security staff: 294
  • Total daily inmate population: 2,762

Noble Correctional Institution, Caldwell, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 261
  • Total daily inmate population: 2,495

Southeast Correctional Complex, Lancaster, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 273
  • Total daily inmate population: 2,055

Pickaway Correctional Institution, Orient, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 232
  • Total daily inmate population: 2,165

Correctional Reception Center, Orient, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 332
  • Total daily inmate population: 1,774

Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, Lucasville, Ohio

  • Total security staff: 483
  • Total daily inmate population: 1,384

FCI Elkton, Elkton, Ohio

  • Total daily inmate population: 1,823

Dayton, Ohio Corrections Officer Job Description

The concentration of correctional officer jobs in and around Dayton provides a multitude of employment opportunities to individuals interested in becoming correctional officers.  There are a number of different institutions in and around Dayton that offer a variety of work environments for potential correctional officers, both in security level and the size of the institution.

Becoming a correctional officer in the Dayton area can serve as an important step for those looking for a career in law enforcement or other areas of the criminal justice system. There is significant opportunity for advancement in the area, with at least one former correctional officer from the area serving as a county sheriff.

Requirements for Correctional Officer Jobs at the Dayton Correctional Institute

The Dayton Correctional Institute is mainly a minimum-security facility that was opened in 1987. This institution is staffed by 255 employees who are tasked with monitoring and serving up to 920 inmates.

The requirements for becoming a corrections officer at the Dayton Correctional Institute are:

  • A high school diploma or G.E.D equivalent. A college degree in criminal justice, corrections, law, or some other related discipline would be helpful for career advancement
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Successful completion of correction officer assessment
  • Demonstration of basic computer knowledge
  • Ability to pass a physical fitness test

Requirements for Correctional Officer Jobs in Montgomery County Jail

The Montgomery County Jail is one of the most historic facilities in the state. The first prison building in the county was a log cabin built in 1803. The current facility was finished in 1993, with a recent renovation completed in 2004. Montgomery County Jail has the capacity to hold 900 prisoners.

In order to become a correctional officer at the Montgomery County Jail, applicants must:

  • Fill out a pre-employment testing questionnaire
  • Complete the state of Ohio basic corrections course
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or G.E.D. A college degree is not required, but would be beneficial
  • Type at least 30 words per minute
  • Pass the physical performance test

Requirements for Correctional Officer Jobs in Greene County

Greene County is home to two separate correctional facilities that are overseen by the same department: Greene County Jail and the Greene County Detention Center.

Greene County Jail – The Greene County Jail was established in 1969 and houses both male and female inmates, with the capacity to hold 130 total people.

Greene County Detention Center – The Greene County Detention Center is a minimum to medium-security facility that opened in 2000. The Detention Center has a higher inmate capacity, with a total of 236 beds.

The requirements for both the Greene County Jail and the Greene County Detention Center are as follows:

  • Applicants must have a high school diploma or certificate of equivalency. A college degree is not required, but is helpful in moving forward in a career of corrections or criminal justice
  • Applicants must be 20 years of age or older at the time of employment
  • All potential employees must possess a valid State of Ohio drivers license
  • Must be a citizen of the United States
  • Applicants must be fluent in reading, writing, and speaking English
  • Applicants cannot have any felony convictions
  • Applicants must reside within Greene County or any contiguous county

Requirements for Correctional Officer Jobs at the Warren County Correctional Institute

The Warren Correctional Institute is less than half an hour away from the city of Dayton, which allows for an easy commute between the city and facility. The Institute opened in 1989 and now employs 348 total staff. The facility currently houses 1,426 either medium or close-security level inmates.

The job requirements for the Warren Correctional Institute are similar to many other Institutions in Ohio:

  • Successful completion of the state of Ohio correction officer assessment
  • Applicants must have basic computer knowledge
  • All potential employees must be able to pass a physical fitness test
  • Applicants must have a high school diploma or G.E.D equivalent. A college degree would be helpful for career advancement and higher pay
  • A valid driver’s license
    • A commercial license may be required if job includes transportation

Requirements for Correctional Officer Jobs at the Preble County Jail

Preble County Jail is less than a 45-minute commute from the city of Dayton. The facility opened in 1995 and can currently house 70 inmates, 60 male and 10 female. In order to service the facility, the jail has 22 correctional officers in its employ.

In order to be considered for a job as a correctional officer at the Preble County Jail, applicants must:

  • Have a high school diploma or G.E.D equivalency certificate. A college degree is not required, but it should be noted that a degree would be helpful in a career of law enforcement and corrections
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Not have been convicted of a felony at any time
  • Be a resident of the state of Ohio and Preble County
  • Pass a medical examination
  • Sign the application in front of a notary

Toledo, Ohio Corrections Officer Job Description

Becoming a correctional officer in Toledo can open up a multitude of job opportunities, both in the city itself, and in the surrounding areas. Toledo is one of the largest cities in Ohio, and as such, multiple correctional institutions have been built within easy commuting distance that offer the potential for job opportunities to aspiring correctional officers.

Requirements for CO Jobs at the Toledo Correctional Institutions

The Toledo Correctional Institution is located within the city of Toledo and is one of the newest facilities in the area. Opened in 2000, the combined close-security and maximum-security facility is staffed by a total of 394 employees. This facility is able to handle up to 1,306 inmates, but does not generally operate at full capacity.

The following are the basic requirements for becoming a correctional officer at the Toledo Correctional Institution:

  • A High School diploma or G.E.D. certificate. A college degree is not necessary, but a degree in fields related criminal justice or law enforcement could be beneficial for a career as a correctional officer
  • A valid drivers license
  • Applicants must have the ability to solve problems involving multiple variables
  • Must be able to complete routine forms
  • Applicants are required to have basic computer knowledge
  • Applicants must be physically fit.
  • All applicants are required to pass correction officer assessment or they must have completed the assessment within the past 24 months.
  • Applicants must complete a probationary period of 365 days after initial employment

Qualifying to Become a CO at the Lucas County Corrections Center

The Lucas County Corrections Center is a county run institution located downtown in the city of Toledo and has been operating since 1977. The majority of inmates held in this facility are being held on serious felony charges. The nine level facility has six floors devoted to housing a maximum of 346 inmates. Most inmates housed in the Lucas County Corrections Center are being held for trial, so overturn on inmates is fairly frequent as trials occur.

The Lucas County Corrections Center has its own set of specific requirements in order to become a correctional officer:

  • A high school diploma or G.E.D certificate is required. At least an associate’s degree in corrections, law enforcement, or social sciences is preferred
  • Applicants must have basic computer and typing skills
  • Applicants should be able to carry out basic levels of data analysis
  • Must be able to effectively communicate verbally
  • Must be able to write legibly and concisely
  • Fluency in reading, writing, and speaking English is required
  • All applicants must complete a pre-employment screening process that includes a criminal background check and various mental and physical tests.

Meeting the Requirements for CO Jobs in Areas Near Toledo 

The Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio is a facility located less than an hour from Toledo that is maintained by six different jurisdictions: Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, and Williams counties, plus the City of Toledo. The facility has the capacity to hold around 638 inmates in either medium or maximum-security environments.

The Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio requires that all potential employees:

  • Have a high school diploma or G.E.D equivalent. A college degree in criminal justice or social work is helpful
  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Possess a valid drivers license
  • Have no criminal convictions
  • Maintain residence in one of the five counties that serve the CCNO or an adjacent county to a member jurisdiction (including counties in Indiana or Michigan)
  • Complete the specialized training course
  • Pass an 83 question video exam
  • Submit to a background check
  • Pass an agility test, physical exam, and psychological evaluation

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