Working as a Correctional Officer in the US

correction officer

Individuals in the position of a correctional officer are working for the United States Department of Justice, under the Justice, Bureau of Prison and Federal Prison System agency. As a correctional officer, you will be an employee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), pursuing a career in justice for the United States of America.


The primary requirements for a correctional officer applicant include holding a US citizenship and the maximum entry ages of 36. There are two series/grades of correctional officers: GL-05 and GL-06. For GL-05, individual must complete 4 years of fulltime education, holding a bachelors degree from an accredited university or college. Individual must have at least 3 years of experience in correctional work. For GL-06, graduate study of nine semester hours or fourteen quarter hours in Criminal Justice, Criminology, Social Science and other related field of study.  Applicant must have at least one year of specialized experience in field.

Salary and Benefits

The salary range for correctional officers of GL 05/06 in the US is between $38,619 and $51,193. The hiring agency for this position is the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Individuals employed by the federal government include the following:

  • Health insurance
  • Dental and vision
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement program

Career Progression

As a correctional officer you are responsible for caring, supervising, controlling and physically restraining individuals in a correctional institution or facility. You start your employment as a Correctional Officer, moving on to Correction Officer Sergeant and moving on to Correctional Officer Lieutenant. The highest rank for this position is that of Warden.