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West Virginia Corrections Officer Job Description

Federal correctional facilities are large contributors to the West Virginia economy.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates six facilities within the state.

  • Federal Correctional Institution at Gilmer is a medium security facility housing 1,669 males
  • Federal Correctional Institution at Morgantown is a minimum security facility holding 1,191 males
  • Federal Correctional Institution at Beckley is a medium security facility with 1,647 male inmates
  • Federal Correctional Institution at McDowell is a medium security facility with 1,556 male inmates
  • US Penitentiary in Hazelton is a high security prison with 1,423 male inmates
  • Federal Prison Camp in Alderson is a minimum security facility housing 1,139 female inmates

The West Virginia Division of Corrections (WVDOC) hires the top-qualifying candidates to maintain law and order in its state prisons. Newly hired correctional officers will attend an intensive training academy where they will develop the skills, work ethic, and pride needed to become a successful officer. The WVDOC even offers its officers a chance to participate in a mock prison riot held over the course of four days at a decommissioned state penitentiary where officers get to test their training, preparedness, and the latest in law enforcement gadgets and technology.

Preparing for a Career in Corrections

Federal Corrections Officers

The Federal Bureau of Prisons hires correctional officers only if they meet these basic requirements:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Between 20 and 37 years of age
  • No felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
  • Good financial history
  • Have a bachelor’s degree; or
  • Have three years of full time experience in
    • Emergency response
    • Sales
    • Management
    • Child care
    • Counseling
    • Teaching
    • Security

More qualified applicants who possess the following qualifications are eligible to join the BOP with an elevated salary:

  • One year of full time experience in corrections, detentions, police work, or  mental health care; or
  • Nine semester hours in graduate school studying criminal justice, social science or law

The West Virginia Division of Corrections (WVDOC)

Becoming a correctional officer in West Virginia involves a series of steps that will see candidates applying, going through an interview process, and being trained after their hire. Before filling out an application, officer candidates should familiarize themselves with the minimum requirements for the position, including:

  • Hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent at minimum
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Never been convicted of a felony
  • Ability to carry a firearm or other weapon
  • Ability to pass drug testing
  • Ability to pass a pre-agility exam followed by an agility test
  • Ability to pass a psychological assessment
  • Willingness to work any and all shifts

Candidates can also receive a preferential status if they have experience in any of the following:

  • Corrections
  • Law enforcement, military police, corrections, probation, parole, security guard
  • Social services worker or teacher
  • Emergency medical technician or firefighter
  • Daycare employee
  • Commissioned sales
  • Member of the clergy

Application and Hiring Process

Applications are accepted on a continual basis for correctional officer jobs. The process begins when a candidate creates an online account with the State Division of Personnel department and submits an application. This will be reviewed to see if it meets the minimum qualifications, and the candidate will be notified if and when to report for an assessment test. Candidates can also contact their local corrections center or WorkForce WV office to register for the soonest upcoming test at which point they may also complete an application.

The hiring process proceeds as follows:

  • Assessment test: This is a behavioral assessment test also known as the Corrections Selection Inventory (CSI) that usually takes about 45 minutes to complete and requires no previous preparation
  • Basic skills test
  • Physical agility test
  • Interview
  • Background check
  • Drug screening

Corrections Officer Training

Federal Corrections Officers

Federal correctional officers are required to attend the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy in Glynco, GA, where they will be enrolled in a three week training program.  This course of study will include firearms, self-defense, bus operations, policies, procedures, and legal issues.  In following years, federal correctional officers must obtain between 16 and 40 hours of training annually.

The West Virginia Division of Corrections (WVDOC)

Before stepping into their jobs, newly hired corrections officers will complete an extensive WVDOC Training Academy located in Glenville. Here officers will establish their fundamental corrections skills and develop a strong sense of esprit de corps. This is a six-week residential academy where officers will train eight hours each day, covering subject areas such as:

  • Population management
  • Subject restraint and control
  • Use of non-deadly force and self-defense
  • Policies, procedures, and protocol
  • History of corrections

WVDOC corrections officers have the option to work in 13 state adult correctional facilities as well as 18 juvenile detention centers, 10 regional jails, and 21 work-release centers.

Corrections Officer Salary in West Virginia

In 2012, the average West Virginia correctional officer salary was reported by the Department of Labor as $33,290. Corrections officers in the top ten percent did very well with an average salary of $51,550, which was 35% above the state’s overall average.

The West Virginia Division of Personnel identified the following salaries and ranks among correctional officers:

Correctional Officer 1:

  • Minimum: $22,584
  • Maximum: $41,784

Correctional Officer 2:

  • Minimum: $23,724
  • Maximum: $43,896

Correctional Officer 3:

  • Minimum: $24,912
  • Maximum: $46,092

Correctional Officer 4:

  • Minimum: $26,160
  • Maximum: $48,396

Correctional Officer 5:

  • Minimum: $27,732
  • Maximum: $51,312

Correctional Officer 6:

  • Minimum: $29,400
  • Maximum: $54,396

Correctional Officer 7:

  • Minimum: $31,164
  • Maximum: $57,660

Corrections Deputy Warden:

  • Minimum: $39,372
  • Maximum: $72,840

Corrections Warden:

  • Minimum: $41,736
  • Maximum: $77,220

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported the following corrections officer salary data for West Virginia:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Cumberland MD-WV
870
43230
Huntington-Ashland WV-KY-OH
380
36480
Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna WV-OH
150
30270
Steubenville-Weirton OH-WV
110
31850
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division
5000
51030
Wheeling WV-OH
560
36410
Winchester VA-WV
140
43520
Southern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area
1000
35090
North Central West Virginia nonmetropolitan area
900
31810

Beckley, West Virginia Corrections Officer Job Description

The region around Beckley, West Virginia has several federal and state correctional facilities.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates the Federal Correctional Institution at Beckley.  This medium security facility last housed 1,626 male inmates while also support 412 male inmates at an adjacent minimum security prison camp.

Just southwest of Beckley is the Federal Correctional Institution at McDowell.  FCI McDowell is a medium security facility housing 1,590 inmates along with 119 minimum security male inmates at a satellite camp.  To the north is the Federal Prison Camp Alderson, which is a minimum security facility for female inmates.  In the latest population count, FPC Alderson had 1,147 female inmates.

The West Virginia Division of Corrections also operates a major facility in the Beckley area.  The Beckley Correctional Center is a minimum security community correctional institution with Work Release Center that also supports a Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Unit. This facility can support 58 male inmates and 20 female inmates in the Work Release Center, and 59 male inmates in the RSAT. Only inmates with less than 18 months left on their sentence are eligible for assignment to the Work Release Center, and only inmates with less than 24 months remaining can be placed at RSAT.  Inmates on work release must perform at least 80 hours of community service in addition to any paid assignments.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Beckley, West Virginia

Federal Correctional Officer

Male and female applicants interested in becoming correctional officers have a wide variety of employment opportunities in the Beckley region. Federal correctional officer jobs in Beckley require applicants to meet the following minimum requirements before joining the Federal Bureau of Prisons:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen (some facilities with high need may waive this requirement)
  • Must be between 20 and 37 years of age
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree or three years of experience in
    • Counseling
    • Teaching
    • Management
    • Sales
    • Emergency response
  • No serious criminal convictions
  • Ability to complete the Physical Abilities Test:
    • 75 pound dummy drag
    • Climb and grasp
    • Obstacle course
    • Run and cuff
    • Stair climb

To join the BOP at the elevated GS-6 pay grade, applicants must possess at least nine semester hours of graduate school courses in social science, criminal justice or law; or have at least one year of full time experience in corrections, law enforcement or mental health treatment.

All new federal correctional officers must complete 80 hours of training at their assigned facility, in addition to 120 hours of training at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA.

State Correctional Officers

The West Virginia Division of Corrections requires that all new correctional officers meet these minimum requirements:

  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED
  • At least one year of paid employment (The work experience requirement was waived effective September 2015 in an effort to fill vacancies, but may be reinstated at a later date.)
    No felony convictions
  • Ability to pass a Physical Agility Test
  • Pass a drug test
  • Pass a psychological evaluation

Training for state correctional officers is conducted at the Division’s Training Academy.  This is a six week program that will provide rigorous fitness training in addition to classroom instruction.

Glenville, West Virginia Corrections Officer Job Description

Glenville, West Virginia offers several facilities and employers for prospective correctional officers.  One of the biggest employers is the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which operates the Federal Correctional Institution Gilmer. FCI Gilmer is a medium security prison for male inmates along with an attached prison camp for minimum security male inmates.  In 2013, the main facility housed 1,674 inmates, while the prison camp housed 128 prisoners.

Also located in Gilmer County is the Central Regional Jail, which holds up to 200 prisoners from nine regional counties.  Originally opened in 1993, this facility provides housing for inmates up to maximum security.  This jail has a gymnasium, law library, classrooms, and a chapel.  The latest security measures were installed during construction, which includes electronic surveillance for the entire facility controlled through a central command center.  Inmates at the Central Regional Jail may participate in GED classes, substance abuse counseling or Adult Basic Education.

Inmates who are sentenced to serve in the jail are required to participate in one of several work programs.  This jail currently supports a staff of 80 correctional officers, support staff and administrators.  There is also a staff of 19 service contractors as well as a psychologist, physicians and nurses.

Training and Qualifications to Become a Correctional Officer in Glenville,
West Virginia

Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that all those interested in learning how to become correctional officers in Glenville possess the following qualifications:

  • Be between 20 and 37 years of age
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree or have three years of full time experience in
    • Management
    • Sales
    • Teaching
    • Counseling
    • Emergency response
  • Be a U.S. citizen (some facilities with exceptional need may waive this requirement)
  • Be free from any major criminal convictions
  • Have a clean financial history without major defaults or delinquencies
  • Be physically capable of
    • Climb and grasp—climb a ladder and grasp an object within seven seconds
    • Obstacle course—to be completed in 58 seconds
    • Run and cuff—run a quarter of a mile and handcuff a subject within two minutes and 35 seconds
    • Dummy drag—drag a 75 pound dummy 694 feet within three minutes
    • Stair climb—climb 108 steps while holding a 20 pound weight within 45 seconds

Applicants who wish to join the BOP at the elevated pay grade of GS-6 must possess these qualifications:

  • Have at least nine semester hours or post graduate study in criminology, law, social science or related subjects; or
  • Have at least one year of full time experience in corrections, detentions, law enforcement or mental health care

New officers must complete 80 hours of orientation at the assigned facility and attend the basic training program at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA.

West Virginia Division of Corrections

The West Virginia Division of Corrections operates the Central Regional Jail.  The salary for correctional officer jobs in Glenville ranges from $38,280 up to $44,480 per year. Applicants should meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have at least one year of paid employment (The work experience requirement was waived effective September 2015 in an effort to fill vacancies, but may be reinstated at a later date.)
  • No felony convictions

Training for new officers is conducted at the DOC Training Academy.  This six week program will introduce officers to correctional procedures, concepts and principles.

Kanawha County, West Virginia Corrections Officer Job Description

Correctional officers in Kanawha County work to ensure that justice is humanely served for those convicted for crimes. This role is essential for keeping the fabric of society held together. Correctional officers have this opportunity in the Kanawha County area with two state agencies that manage correctional facilities, under the umbrella of the state’s Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety:

  • West Virginia Division of Corrections (DOC):
    • Lakin Correctional Center – located in West Columbia near Point Pleasant, with a capacity for 462 female inmates
    • Huntington Work/Study Release Center – located in Huntington with a capacity for 54 male offenders and 12 female offenders
    • Charleston Work Release Center – located in Charleston, with a capacity to hold 54 male offenders and 12 female offenders
  • West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority (RJA):
    • South Central Regional Jail – located in Charleston, with a holding capacity of 300 inmates
    • Western Regional Jail in Barboursville – located in Barboursville with a capacity of 400 inmates

Although the DOC and RJA are different state agencies, correctional officers need only submit one application and specify the DOC and RJA facilities for which they would like to be considered. The correctional officer training is also the same for these facilities.

The first step to becoming a correctional officer in the Kanawha County area is to examine the state’s hiring standards.

Qualifying to Become a Correctional Officer in Kanawha County

Meeting the Requirements for Employment

Becoming a CO in the Kanawha County area involves submitting an application with the state’s Division of Personnel. Submitted applications are screened to see if the candidate meets the minimum requirements for employment, which include the following:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent at minimum
  • Never been convicted of a felony
  • Ability to carry a firearm or other weapon
  • Ability to pass drug testing
  • Ability to pass a pre-agility exam followed by an agility test
  • Ability to pass a psychological assessment
  • Willingness to work any and all shifts

Applicants can always consider obtaining a degree in any of these subjects to improve their employment and promotional qualifications. In some instances candidates can arrange to be reimbursed for a relevant degree;

  • Criminal Justice
  • Corrections
  • Law Enforcement
  • Police Science

Application Process for Facilities Around Kanawha County

Applications for correctional officer jobs with both the DOC and the RJA are submitted online through the state’s Division of Personnel employment portal. Candidates can always fill out an application for Correctional Officer I positions because these are continuously open for recruitment in order to develop a list of eligible candidates.

Applicants can watch for specific openings at the five facilities in the Kanawha County area on the DOC’s employment website and the RJA’s employment website.

As part of the application process candidates will need to complete a 45-minute Corrections Selection Inventory (CSI) that requires no prior preparations. Applicants can take this at most correctional facilities and WorkForce WV centers.

Correctional Officer Training

Correctional officer training takes place at the West Virginia Corrections Academy in Glenville. This is a live-in academy where new recruits will train eight hours a day and establish a strong sense of community over six weeks. Training covers topics like:

  • Prisoner and cell search
  • Population psychology, management, and avoiding manipulation
  • Use of force and restraint techniques
  • Emergency procedures
  • Report writing and review
  • Corrections case studies

Marshall County, West Virginia Corrections Officer Job Description

Correctional officers in Marshall County have the opportunity to serve their community at three correctional facilities located in or very close to the county limits. Under the leadership of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, two state agencies manage these facilities:

  • West Virginia Division of Corrections (DOC):
    • Northern Correctional Facility (NCF) located in Moundsville with a current inmate population of 253 males
    • Ohio County Correctional Complex in Wheeling, which focuses on holding male technical parole violators
  • West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority (RJA):
    • Northern Regional Jail located in Moundsville, contained within the NCF though in a separate facility with a capacity of 200 inmates

Candidates who would like to become a correctional officer in Marshall County will go through the same hiring and training process no matter which agency they sign on with, the RJA or the DOC.

Education and Experience for Employment

Correctional officers face the same set of minimum hiring qualifications, with no distinctions made between the RJA and the DOC. These are:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent at minimum
  • Never been convicted of a felony
  • Ability to carry a firearm or other weapon
  • Ability to pass drug testing
  • Ability to pass a pre-agility exam followed by an agility test
  • Ability to pass a psychological assessment
  • Willingness to work any and all shifts

Prospective COs can also check with their hiring agency to see if they qualify to be reimbursed for a degree in Criminal Justice. A degree in any of these areas is a great way for candidates to stand out from their competition.

Approved college subjects include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Corrections
  • Police Science

Completing and Submitting an Application for Marshall County Correctional Officer Jobs

Candidates who are ready to apply for correctional officer jobs can do so for both state correctional agencies – the DOC and the RJA – through the West Virginia online jobs page. Candidates can apply simultaneously for DOC and RJA on the same application.

The Correctional Officer I position is open for continuous recruitment so candidates may therefore submit an application at any time to try and get their name on a list of qualified candidates.

Specific correctional officer jobs at any of the three facilities in the Marshall County area are posted on either the DOC employment page or the RJA’s jobs webpage.

As part of the application process, candidates will need to take a behavioral assessment test called the Corrections Selection Inventory (CSI). This usually takes about 45 minutes and does not require prior preparations.

Candidates can sign up for this at most correctional facilities and WorkForce WV locations.

Training for Marshall County Correctional Officer Jobs

Correctional officer training for positions around Marshall County takes place at a six-week Corrections Academy in Glenville. All COs must make it through this residential academy which demands eight hours of close attention from the new recruits each work day. Instruction covers key areas including:

  • Emergency medical and evacuation procedures
  • Inmate management, evaluation, and search
  • Detection of small improvised weapons and drugs
  • Inmate psychology
  • Prison procedures and policies
  • Teamwork and communications

Morgantown, West Virginia Corrections Officer Job Description

The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates a U.S. Penitentiary in Morgantown, West Virginia, which has a high security facility that is supported by a satellite camp with minimum-security inmates.  In the latest population count the high security facility had 1,423 inmates, while the minimum security camp had 127 inmates.  Also found at the Hazelton U.S. Penitentiary is a Secure Female Facility that housed 701 female inmates in the most recent population count.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons also operates the Federal Correctional Institution-Morgantown.  This is a minimum security facility housing male inmates with a capacity of 1,300 beds. In the latest count, the number of inmates housed at FCI Morgantown totaled 1,204.

In nearby Grafton, the West Virginia Division of Corrections operates the Pruntytown Correctional Center.  Originally establishes as and Industrial School for Boys in 1891, it served a juvenile population until its closure in 1983.  In 1985, the Pruntytown Correctional Center was re-opened to house adult males who were charged with repairing and renovating the institution.  In 1988, 32 female adult inmates were moved to this facility, making it the first co-ed penal institution in the state.  In 2007, females were moved out of this facility.  There are currently five housing units with a capacity for 369 medium and minimum security male inmates.

Training and Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Morgantown, West Virginia

Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Bureau of Prisons sponsors many of the correctional officer jobs in Morgantown, West Virginia.  To become a correctional officer in Morgantown with the BOP, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Must be between 20 and 37 years of age
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree or three years of experience in teaching, counseling, management, sales or emergency response
  • Must have a clean criminal history
  • Must have a credit history without any serious delinquencies
  • Must be physically capable of
    • Dragging a 75 pound dummy across 694 feet within three minutes
    • Completing an obstacle course within 58 seconds
    • Climbing a ladder and retrieving an item within seven seconds
    • Climbing 108 steps with a 20 pound weight within 45 seconds
    • Running a quarter mile and handcuffing an individual within 2 minutes and 35 seconds

Federal correctional officers must complete Introduction to Correctional Techniques Phase I, which is an 80-hour orientation training program at their assigned facility.  Introduction to Correctional Techniques Phase II is the 120-hour academic and practicum instruction, which must be completed at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA within six months of hiring.

West Virginia Division of Corrections

The West Virginia Division of Corrections requires the following qualifications for correctional officers:

  • Must have a high school diploma or GED
  • At least one year of professional experience (The work experience requirement was waived effective September 2015 in an effort to fill vacancies, but may be reinstated at a later date.)
  • No felony convictions
  • Ability to pass a physical agility test
  • Must pass a drug test

Training is provided through the Division’s Training Academy.  This six-week program will include fitness training and introduction to correctional principles and procedures.

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