Federal Correctional Officer Career and Earnings Information

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), there are now 219,204 (as of June 2013) federal offenders held in 119 federal institutions, 81 percent of which are Bureau-operated (176,598). The other federal institutions are either privately managed (29,297) or community-based facilities (13,309). There are about 38,000 BOP employees, the majority of whom are federal correctional officers.

Types of Federal Faculties that Support Federal Correctional Officer Jobs

Federal correctional officers may work at any number of institutions within the BOP, including:

  • Federal Prison Camps (minimum security)
  • Low-Security Federal Correctional Institutions (FCIs)
  • Medium-Security FCIs
  • United States Penitentiaries (high security)
  • Federal Correctional Complexes (FCCs)
  • Administrative Facilities
    • Metropolitan Correctional Centers (MCCs)
    • Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDCs)
    • Federal Detention Centers (FDCs)
    • Federal Medical Centers (FMCs)
    • Federal Transfer Center
    • Medical Center for Federal Prisoners (MCFP)
    • Administrative-Maximum U.S. Penitentiary (ADX)
  • Satellite Prison Camps (SPCs)
  • Federal Satellite Low Security (FSL)
  • Secure Female Facility  (SFF)

Job Duties of Federal Correctional Officers

Federal correctional officers provide supervision and care to federal inmates. The care and supervision they provide must, according to the BOP, “contribute to the health and welfare of the inmates and the promotion of good public relations.”

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Basic duties involved in federal correctional officer jobs include enforcing the institution’s rules and regulations, including facility security and inmate conduct and accountability.

Federal correctional officers must have a key set of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs), which include the ability to supervise others, to communicate verbally, and to react in crisis situations.

Entrance Requirements for Federal Correctional Officers

Candidates pursuing federal correctional officer careers must be a United States citizen and possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. They may also qualify if they have at least three years of full-time general experience performing duties related to providing direction, guidance, or counsel to individuals; responding to emergency situations; selling products or services in a persuasive selling situation; or teaching or instructing individuals.

Candidates may gain the general experience required by working in the following positions:

  • Teacher or instructor
  • Counselor
  • Parole/Probation officer
  • Nurse
  • Clergyman
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Firefighter
  • Juvenile delinquent worker
  • Welfare social worker
  • Children’s daycare worker
  • Air traffic controller
  • Persuasive salesperson
  • Security guard
  • Supervisor or manager

All candidates must also, at the time of appointment, be under the age of 37, unless they have previously held a federal civilian law enforcement position. Further, candidates must undergo a background investigation, a panel interview, a physical abilities test, and a urinalysis (drug screening).

Training Requirements for Federal Corrections Officers

All new federal correctional officers employed by the FOB must complete in-service training within a year of employment.

Orientation training for federal correctional officers includes specialized training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. This training, which is typically completed within 60 days of employment, includes the following, four components:

  • Physical Abilities Test (PAT)
  • Firearms
  • Self-Defense
  • Policies and Procedures (written academic test)
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Federal Correctional Officer Salaries

Federal correctional officers hired at the entry-level (GS-05) position earn an annual salary of $38,619 to $51,193.

Federal Correctional Officer Resources

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