Oregon Corrections Officer Job Description

The Oregon Department of Corrections is responsible for correctional operations in the state. Overall, Oregon has 14 separate correctional facilities, which house more than 13,000 inmates. In Oregon, the only inmates that are placed into state-run correctional facilities are those that have been convicted of crimes that have resulted in a sentence of at least 12 months, usually due to felony convictions and other serious crimes of that nature.

Correctional officer jobs are rewarding in Oregon, as the state offers a promotion system that most other states do not. This allows correctional officers to move up the ladder quickly when compared with other states. On average, an entry-level corrections officer in Oregon makes $3,136 to $4,302 a month, depending on their experience level, the location of the correctional facility they are working in and other factors.

The Nature of the Job

Working at one of the 14 correctional facilities in the state is a demanding and stressful job, which is why proper training and experience is such a big factor. The largest responsibility for corrections officers is the supervision of inmate activity and ensuring the safety of the inmates and employees inside the building, as well as the public that resides outside of the facility. The most important task of correctional officers is to conduct surveillance and enforce rules in order to ensure inmates obey all regulations and serve out their sentences in a peaceful manner.

Requirements and Qualifications

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Students and professionals seeking a job with the Federal Bureau of Prisons must first meet these minimum standards:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 21 years old and no older than 36
  • Have a criminal history free from felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
  • Good credit history
  • Be able to perform these tasks
    • Carry or drag a 75 pound dummy 694 in under three minutes
    • Run an obstacle course in under 59 seconds
    • Climb a ladder and clasp an item within seven seconds
    • Ascend 108 stairs in 45 seconds while holding a 20 pound weight belt
    • Run one quarter of a mile and handcuff a target in 2 minutes and 35 seconds
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GS-5 correctional officers receive between $31,315 and $40,706 in annual salary and must possess these qualifications:

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

GS-6 correctional officers are eligible for salaries between $34,907 and $45,376 and must meet these standards:

  • Have nine semesters of graduate courses in
    • Law
    • Criminal justice
    • Social science
  • Have a year of experience in
    • Corrections
    • Law enforcement
    • Mental health facility work

Oregon Department of Corrections

Before applying for correctional officer jobs with the Oregon Department of Corrections, a potential applicant should first review the basic qualifications and requirements for the position. These include the following:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must have the ability to obtain a Class B drivers license that can transport up to 26,000 pounds or 16 people.
  • Must have a high school diploma, GED or an equivalent level of education
  • Must be legally able to carry a firearm
  • Must be in good physical condition and of high moral character
  • Must have a criminal history with no felonies or serious misdemeanors
  • Must be able to pass a drug screen
  • Must be a citizen of the United States, and preferably a resident of the state of Oregon
  • Must have 20/30 corrected vision in each eye


Federal correctional officers are required to complete 200 hours of training prior to active service.  An 80 hour orientation at the assigned facility is followed by a 120 hour training program held at the Staff Training Academy.  After the first year, federal correctional officers must obtain at least 16 hours of training each year.

If an applicant is deemed qualified for a correctional officer job in Oregon, they must then complete training at the Department of Public Safety and Standards Training academy.

New hires are required to complete 200 hours of training during their first year of employment, and are then required to complete 40 hours of training every year thereafter throughout their career.

Corrections Officer Salary in Oregon

The Department of Labor reported in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, that the average Oregon correctional officer salary in 2012 was $51,950, which was equal to an average of $24.97 per hour. Correctional officers in the top ten percent earned, on average, 24% more at $68,410.

The State of Oregon has identified the salaries among correctional occupations as follows:

Correctional Officer:

  • Rate 1: $38,748
  • Rate 2: $40,560
  • Rate 3: $42,300
  • Rate 4: $44,304
  • Rate 5: $46,296
  • Rate 9 (Maximum): $55,476

Correctional Corporal:

  • Rate 1: $40,560
  • Rate 2: $42,300
  • Rate 3: $44,304
  • Rate 4: $46,296
  • Rate 5: $48,444
  • Rate 9 (Maximum): $57,864

Correctional Sergeant:

  • Rate 1: $44,304
  • Rate 2: $46,296
  • Rate 3: $48,444
  • Rate 4: $50,736
  • Rate 5: $53,160
  • Rate 9 (Maximum): $62,940

Correctional Lieutenant:

  • Rate 1: $52,368
  • Rate 2: $54,960
  • Rate 3: $57,708
  • Rate 4: $60,624
  • Rate 5: $63,648
  • Rate 8 (Maximum): $73,608

Correctional Captain:

  • Rate 1: $63,648
  • Rate 2: $66,804
  • Rate 3: $70,068
  • Rate 4: $73,608
  • Rate 5: $77,220
  • Rate 8 (Maximum): $89,256

The salary figures given here include corrections officers in Oregon as detailed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Area name
Annual mean wage
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro OR-WA
Salem OR
Coastal Oregon nonmetropolitan area
North Central Oregon nonmetropolitan area
Eastern Oregon nonmetropolitan area

Deschutes County, Oregon Corrections Officer Job Description

Correctional officers working in Deschutes County have several choices to select from when it comes to employment in the region. In addition to nearby county jails, there is also an Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) facility:

  • The Oregon DOC currently manages one important prison near Deschutes County, while discussions continue on whether to build a new prison in a nearby county:
    • Deer Ridge Correctional Institute – located in Madras, this is a male facility capable of holding 1,867 minimum and medium security inmates
    • Junction City Prison – this is a proposed prison which would house minimum security inmates, with some plans also calling for another additional adjacent prison in Junction City
  • Deschutes and its neighboring counties also maintain correctional facilities in commuting distance, each of which is managed by its own county sheriff’s office:
    • Deschutes County Jail located in Bend
    • Jefferson County Jail located in Madras
    • Crook County Jail located in Prineville
    • Harney County Jail located in Burns
    • Klamath County Jail located in Klamath Falls
    • Lake County Jail located in Lakeview
    • Lane County Jail located in Eugene
    • Linn County Jail located in Albany

Becoming a Correctional Officer with the Oregon Department Of Corrections

To become a correctional officer at the Deer Ridge Correctional Institute candidates will need to start by meeting some initial requirements:

  • Be a US citizen at least 21 years old
  • Have no significant criminal record
  • Be able to write reports
  • Have a high school diploma, its equivalent, or a four-year bachelor degree

Candidates who have an eye towards future possibilities can consider studying for an associate or bachelor’s degree. Being promoted through the ranks to one of the top correctional officer positions, a Correctional Hearings Officer, requires one of the following:

  • Law degree – LL.B. or J.D.
  • Bachelor degree in:
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Corrections
    • Behavioral Sciences

Applicants can get started with their correctional officer application through a formal job announcement. The DOC also offers some helpful application information.

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Correctional officer training with the Origen DOC involves a program that will prepare new hires for the major challenges they will face in a correctional institution. This will include:

  • Emergency procedures
  • Hostage situations
  • Lock downs
  • Inmate search and restraint
  • Self-defense and use of force
  • Report writing
  • Prisoner psychology

New correctional officers will be trained to meet the standards of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST).

Becoming a Deschutes County Correctional Officer

The hiring standards for correctional officers who work in county jails are determined by each individual county. However all positions require applicants to:

  • Be at least 18-21 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Have no felony or domestic violence convictions

Correctional officers at the county level work as part of the local sheriff’s office and go by several different names, including correctional deputy, sheriff’s deputy, or corrections officer. Vacancies for these positions in Deschutes County are posted are posted on the Deschutes County jobs page.

Training to become a correctional officer at the county level covers similar topics as the state DOC, and will also involve meeting Department of Public Safety Standards and Training requirements.

Portland, Oregon Corrections Officer Job Description

As of April 2013, the number of inmates in Oregon reached 14,300, although it is anticipated that the inmate population in the state will swell to 15,700 – a 13.5 percent increase – by the end of the decade.

As of March 2013, there were 2,431 correctional officers overseeing the state’s 14 correctional institutions. Oregon is also home to the federal correctional facility of FCI Sheridan, which is located just 90 minutes south of Portland and houses about 1,300 inmates.

Correctional Officer Job Requirements in Portland

Federal Requirements

Individuals interested in pursuing federal correctional officer jobs in the Portland area through the FCI Sheridan must meet specific education or experience requirements as to attain entry-level (GS-05) correctional officer positions:

  • Must be under the age of 37 (unless previously employed by the federal government in a civil service position); AND
  • Must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; OR
  • Must possess at least 3 years of experience serving individuals in one or more of the following areas:
    • Guidance/counseling
    • Persuasive selling
    • Teaching/instructing
    • Supervising/managing
    • Responding to emergency situations

Individuals interested in pursuing correctional officer jobs at the GS-06 level must, in addition to the above requirements, show proof of the completion of at least 9 semester hours of graduate work in the social sciences, criminology, criminal justice, or a related field. Individuals may also qualify at the GS-06 level if they have specialized experience working in a correctional facility or a mental health facility or have experience dealing with individuals who break the law or who are involved in domestic dispute situations.

Oregon State Requirements

Individuals interested in learning how to become a correctional officer in Portland, through one of the State’s 14 institutions, must meet the minimum employment and training requirements set forth by the Oregon Department of Corrections.

State correctional officers must:

  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Meet specific medical and psychical requirements as set forth by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST)
  • Possess or be able to possess a valid driver’s license
  • Be able to pass an eye examination, hearing test, drug screening, and medical examination

Portland, Oregon, Judicial District Corrections

Oregon is divided into 27 judicial districts, many of which contain only one county. As such, District 18 encompasses Clatstop County and Portland, which include:

  • Columbia River Correctional Institution, Portland
    • Current inmate population: 564
    • Number of correctional officers (as of May 2012): 54

Another nearby correctional institution includes:

  • South Fork Forest Camp, Tillamook, OR:
    • Current inmate population: 197
    • Number of correctional officers (as of May 2012): 14

Salem, Oregon Corrections Officer Job Description

The inmate population of Oregon’s 14 correctional institutions is expected to increase significantly, from 14,300 in April 2013 to more than 16,000 in 2023:

  • 2014: 14,637
  • 2015: 14,783
  • 2016: 14,970
  • 2017: 15,113
  • 2018: 15,293
  • 2019: 15,479
  • 2020: 15,661
  • 2021: 15,857
  • 2022: 16,011
  • 2023: 16,167

As of March 2013, there were 2,431 correctional officers working in state correctional facilities in Oregon, although this number will likely need to increase to meet the demands of an expanding inmate population in the years to come.

Minimum Requirements for Employment

Federal Correctional Facility Requirements

Corrections officers in Salem, Oregon, may also work as a federal corrections officer through the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sheridan, a medium-security institution, which also includes a prison camp and detention center.

Federal requirements for correctional officers differ from state correctional officers, as candidates must:

  • Be under the age of 37 (unless they have previously worked for the federal government in a civil service position)

Candidates for federal correctional officer jobs in Salem, OR, must also possess one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; OR
  • At least 3 years of full-time experience performing one or more of the following duties:
    • Guidance/counseling
    • Persuasive selling
    • Responding to emergency situations
    • Supervising/managing
    • Teaching/instructing

State Correctional Facility Requirements

Candidates for OR correctional officer jobs in Salem must meet the requirements set forth by the Oregon Department of Corrections, which include:

  • Candidates must possess (or be able to possess) a valid driver’s license
  • Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Candidates must be at least 21 years old
  • Candidates must be a United States citizen

Candidates must also be able to pass the Department’s medical examination, eye examination, drug screening test, and hearing screening.

Individuals who want to learn how to become a correctional officer in Salem must be able to successfully pass a training program developed and conducted by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST).

Regional Correctional Facilities

Regional correctional facilities in Salem include the following (inmate population as of 2013, correctional officer count as of 2012):

  • Mill Creek Correctional Facility, Salem, OR
    • Inmate population: 289
    • Correctional officers: 32
  • Oregon State Correctional Institution, Salem, OR
    • Inmate population: 864
    • Correctional officers: 101
  • Oregon State Prison, Salem, OR
    • Inmate population: 2,104
    • Correctional officers: 257
  • Santiam Correctional Institution, Salem, OR
    • Inmate population: 434
    • Correctional officers: 47
  • FCI Sheridan
    • Inmate population: 1,311

Umatilla, Oregon Corrections Officer Job Description

Umatilla County is home to one of the highest concentration of correctional officers in the state. This is because of the two important Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities located in the area:

  • Two Rivers Correctional Institution – located in Umatilla, this is a medium and minimum security facility with a capacity for 1,632 inmates
  • Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution – located in  Pendleton, this is a medium security facility with a capacity for 1,493 inmates

Only the top qualifying applicants are selected to become correctional officers in Umatilla County in a process that involves stringent initial screening and an extensive training program.

Oregon Department of Corrections Job Requirements

To ensure it employs only the best correctional officers, the Oregon DOC chooses the best-qualified applicants for hire among those who meet the basic standards. The minimum requirements for employment are:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or bachelor degree
  • Have good reading, writing, and retention abilities
  • Be an upstanding US citizen in good health
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Advanced correctional positions beyond entry-level CO jobs require qualifications that include college-level education in the form of a bachelor’s or master’s degrees in subjects such as:

  • Law
  • Criminal Justice
  • Behavioral Sciences such as Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Corrections

Umatilla County Correctional Officer Application Process

Applications for correctional officer jobs in Umatilla County are accepted on a continual basis. These can be completed online according to the instructions contained within the job announcement. Applicants will need to include:

Once an application is reviewed and the candidate is determined to be eligible, his or her name will be placed on a list for a period of one year. When positions at either of the DOC facilities in Umatilla County become vacant, candidates who are on the eligibility list will be notified.

Correctional Officer Training in Umatilla County

Correctional officer training is designed in accordance with the standards set by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). As part of this, new COs will receive instruction in areas including:

  • Self-defense and use of force
  • Facility operations and evacuation procedures
  • Psychology and countering prisoner manipulation
  • Inmate search and restraint
  • Detection of small weapons and contraband
  • Emergency medical situations

CO Impact in Umatilla County DOC Facilities

It is in the best interests of the State of Oregon and offenders themselves to become rehabilitated, self-sufficient members of society. Correctional officers working in state DOC facilities in Umatilla County provide a secure and controlled environment which allows inmates to do just this. Some of the prisoner programs supported by COs include:

  • Garment factory clothes production
  • Laundry services for local organizations such as a school, fire department, and flour mill
  • Wood working projects
  • Cast iron projects
  • GED and high school diploma courses
  • Landscaping projects

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