What You Can Expect from Correctional Officer Basic Training

Both federal and state correctional officers must complete a comprehensive and often rigorous course of training upon being hired. In fact, both pre-service and in-service training is a significant part of being a correctional officer and is necessary for ensuring that order, control and safety are maintained at all times.

Where does training take place?

Typically training for state correctional officers takes place in training facilities maintained and operated by the state’s department of corrections. Many times these training academies provide lodging and meals for officers engaged in training.

What is taught during basic correctional officer training?

Because the state’s department of corrections needs to ensure that all correctional officers employed in the state have the same set of skills and knowledge, pre-service training is comprehensive and the programs are broad. It is common for pre-service training to last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, with new correctional officers receiving training in everything from basic first aid to defensive tactics and the standards for use of force.

What are the physical requirements of basic correctional officer training?

Because correctional officers must be in peak physical condition as to properly perform their jobs, it can be expected that physical training is a major component of basic officer training. Before being employed with a state correctional agency, candidates will likely perform a basic physical agility test, which assesses their physical abilities and their ability to complete the training required during basic academy training. Many state correctional institutions provide new recruits with a training schedule to prepare for basic academy training.

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What are the requirements for passing academy training?

New correctional officer recruits can expect to take a number of physical assessments and written exams throughout academy training, all of which must be passed to continue with academy training.  Passing scores on academic exams and physical fitness assessments vary according to the institution.

What are some of the common programs/topics studied in academy training?

New correctional officer recruits can expect to complete coursework in the following:

  • Firearms training
  • Chemical agents
  • Arrest and control techniques
  • Laws of arrest
  • Report writing
  • Inmates rights
  • Inmate transportation
  • Disciplinary process
  • Restraint devices
  • The use of force

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