Penal establishments across the US both government and private impose less restrictive requirements for correctional officers. Age requirements are set at 18 to 21 years of age, must be a US citizen, have achieved at least a high school education and should have no record of criminal conviction. Post secondary education is important for those who want to get promoted in the future (US Labor Dept., 2007).
However, the Federal Bureau of Prison's entry-level correctional officers should finish her bachelor's degree and a 3-year experience as a field counselor, or other applicable experience such as supervising and affording assistance to individuals. Officers in correctional facilities must be endowed with good health, as they are required to meet formal standards of physical fitness as well as eye and hearing assessments. Standardized tests are utilized in many jurisdictions in order to verify an individual's suitability to serve in correctional institutions. The Federal, State or county corrections department under the management and guidelines of the American Correctional Association and the American Jail Association provides trainings. Various State and local correctional agencies in the country have regional training centers as well. Training is afforded to all officers in all State and county correctional agencies, which include instructions on legal restrictions, improving interpersonal relationships, firearms proficiency, and self-defense skill training. Training in these areas usually last to about several weeks or month depending on the institution, which gives the training. A training officer usually supervises these. Nevertheless, variations exist with regards entry requirements and training could vary from one agency to another (US Labor Dept., 2007).
Subjects of study include 'institutional policies, regulations and operations as well as custody and security procedures." A 200-hour formal training is required for new Federal correctional officers who must also complete a specialized program under the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Furthermore, correctional officers also receive instructions on responding to riots, other threatening disturbances, hostage situations and dangerous confrontations. (US Labor Dept., 2007)
Many of those with good educational background, long experience and effective training are given a chance to take the position of correctional sergeant who manages correctional officers, scheduling and supervising activities of the other correctional officers. Advancement and promotion is easy in a career like this as many officers can become supervisors and administrators and even become a warden. Other officers switch to other jobs related to their experiences or their interests (BOP 2007).
Income and earnings of correctional officers vary. The median earning is set at about $28,000 in 1998 but increased to $33,600 in 2004. The upper half of the correctional officer earned between $26,560 and $44,200 while the lowest 10 percent of those who serve in these facilities incurred earnings of about $22,630. About 10 percent of correctional officers earned $54,820. Federal correctional officers receive a starting salary of about $26,747 a year in 2005. This is in fact slightly higher than the earnings receive by State and county