Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Correctional Service Officer


There are many types of criminals, from multiple murderers to arsonists to people who cheat on their taxes. Regardless of the severity of the crime, however, anyone in prison is entitled to the protective services offered by correctional service officers.

These officers, also known as prison guards, work in prisons and other correctional facilities, monitoring people who've been convicted of a criminal offense. They maintain order throughout the prison, and are on duty day and night, holidays and weekends. They watch inmates at work and at play, keep an eye on them during meal times and escort them to trials or on temporary leaves. They also patrol areas, checking doors, windows and locks. They also do occasional checks of inmates' cells. They keep detailed reports about everything that goes on in the prison, in case they need to defend themselves, a fellow officer or an inmate in court.

The drawback to this position is the possibility of riot, fire, fights or escape attempts. Correctional service officers must therefore always be on guard, and prepared for any emergency. They should be ready to intervene in a dangerous situation - they should be calm, strong individuals who can command respect and obedience from all types on inmates, from mild-mannered first offenders to those trapped by a life of crime.

The positive side can often outweigh the negative, however. Many correctional service officers get to know inmates, and can assist them in learning new, appropriate behaviors through role modeling. They can make recommendations about offenders to the parole board and have a direct impact on the release of improved inmates, or the continued seclusion of those they consider dangerous. They also work with young offenders, and do what they can to ensure those troubled youths don't grow up to become adult offenders.
View Schools for this Career: 
         Related Careers
arrow Addictions Counselor
arrow Air Weapons Control Officer
arrow Ambassador
arrow [ view all related careers ]

Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Grand Canyon University
Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
Programs Offered:
  • B.S. in Justice Studies
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
  • B.S. in Public Safety and Emergency Management



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Correctional service officers are mature, reliable people. They have a clean record, are patient, as well as motivated. They have excellent communication skills, and listen and write as well as they talk. They enjoy rising to a challenge, and are physically fit with a lot of stamina. They are leaders, who are non-judgmental and are open to many types of people from many backgrounds. They work well in a team, have good levels of concentration, and are confident in themselves and their abilities.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Monitor prisoners in a variety of locations (recreation facilities, dining halls, cell blocks)
  • Observe the conduct and behavior of inmates to prevent disturbances and escapes
  • Prepare discipline reports and case reports
  • Conduct searches of inmates, cells, vehicles and buildings
  • Accompany inmates to courtrooms, hospitals and worksites
  • Advise parole board on different offenders' behavior
  • The typical day for a correctional service officer involves a lot of watching, listening and waiting for an action that requires a reaction from them. They may have to subdue an inmate or transport them from cell to cell, to a courthouse, or to locations within the prison. They write reports about daily actions of inmates and officers. They don't get to travel, unless accompanying a prisoner to trial.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Correctional service officers work in tough situations. The prisons and correctional institutions where they work can be dangerous. Violent behavior, drug abuse and alcohol consumption can elicit the worst behavior from the inmates, who may be verbally and physically abusive. However, dangerous situations are rare, and most of the time they work in dining halls, outdoor recreation centers and monitoring cell blocks.
  • They are employed by either the federal or state correctional services. They work in shifts, often at night or on weekends and holidays. They work in a team of other officers and supervisors.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Correctional services officers can go on to become supervisors, customs officers, police officers, and security guards in the private sector. With additional education and training they can become lawyers, human rights activists, counselors and social workers.

  Educational Paths  
The path to becoming a correctional service officer requires a high school diploma, some experience working with people in crisis and usually some level of postsecondary studies. Those individuals with a college diploma in correctional services, law and security, or a university degree in law, criminology, psychology or sociology may have a better chance at securing employment in this field.

Individuals also need to pass a medical examination, a physical assessment test, have a valid CPR and first aid certificate and a valid driver's license. Training will be offered to successful applicants.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Grand Canyon University
Why earn your degree at Grand Canyon University? GCU is a regionally accredited university offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more. Apply today!
Programs Offered:
  • B.S. in Justice Studies
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
  • B.S. in Public Safety and Emergency Management

Anna Maria College

Anna Maria College is a private, not-for-profit, Catholic liberal arts institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Founded by the Sisters of Saint Anne in 1946, AMC's programs integrate liberal education and professional preparation that reflect the respect for liberal arts and sciences education grounded in the traditions of the Sisters of Saint Anne—educational innovation, service to others, and access to a quality education for all.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Public Administration - Criminal Justice

UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice (11-Month Diploma Program)

Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology

Ohio Christian University
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.
Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Regis University - CPS

Regis is a regionally accredited, 130-year-old Jesuit university in Denver, Colorado. Inspired by the vision of St. Ignatius Loyola, we are dedicated to the pursuit of learning and truth in an effort to make positive change in our communities as well as ourselves.

Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology
  • Master of Science in Criminology
  • Master of Science in Criminology - Human Behavior Focus

Argosy University

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice (BS) (Online)

Utica College

Utica College, founded in 1946, is a comprehensive private institution located in upstate central New York.  The College offers regionally accredited online certificates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in healthcare, cybersecurity, financial crime, nursing, physical therapy, business, criminal justice, and data science.  All courses are taught by credentialed, highly experienced faculty with significant and ongoing accomplishments in their respective fields.

Programs Offered:
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Cyber Criminology and Policy

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School is a not-for-profit, regionally accredited institution with more than 4285 students at campuses across the country and online.

Programs Offered:
  • M.A. Forensic Psychology
  • Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology

New England College

Discover the Difference a Community of Support Makes in Your Educational Journey. From Application to Graduation, the Support You Need to Achieve Your Goals. 100% Online.

Programs Offered:
  • BA in Psychology/Forensic Psychology
  • BA in Criminal Justice/Institutional and Community-Based Corrections
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Ottawa
York University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Policy Statement | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2018 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.