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How Much Does a Correctional Officer Make


jailcell 300x187 How Much Does a Correctional Officer MakeHave you always heard that correctional officers don’t get paid enough? Or get paid too little for what they have to deal with.  Are you a little unsure on what to believe in terms of what a correctional officer really makes per year?

If you answered is yes to the above questions, then you’ll benefit from reading this article on how much corrections officers (also known as jailers, prison guards, detention officers)  typically make per year.

Job Description & Duties of a correctional officer

Before discussing the average salary of a correctional officer, let’s dig into the job description of a correctional officers? By an large the job of  a correctional officer, and what they do for our community goes unnoticed, and somewhat under appreciated. I guess the reason might be that a corrections officer, in many instances are not seen often by the general public like a firemen or a police officer.

Normally jailers or prison guards work in high security conscious facilities, where the only people that see them on a daily basis are inmates. Although detention officers don’t get the credit that they deserve from the general public, they play an important role in keeping our community safe.

What Do Correctional Officers Do?

A correctional officer have many responsibilities and they include but not limited to the following…

  • Monitor inmate activities from varies housing units
  • Maintain order among inmates
  • Conduct cell extractions regarding punitive reasons
  • Perform surprise cell searches for contraband
  • Conduct pat-down of suspicious inmates
  • Review incoming mail for contraband
  • Write incident reports involving inmate behavior or lack there of
  • Keeping count of inmates at all time
  • Monitor surveillance camera 24/7
  • maintain a periodic patrol either inside or outside the institution to ensure the security and integrity of the institution
  • supervise and screen inmate visitor traffic
  • Observe for signs of disorder or tension and report such observations to a higher authority
  • Maintain proper security of inmates being transported

 Average Salary & Pay Scale of a Corrections Officer

According to the Bureau of labor statistics Median annual wages of correctional officers and jailers were $38,380 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,660 and $51,000. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $64,110.

Median annual wages of first-line supervisors/managers of correctional officers were $57,380 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,740 and $73,630. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $86,970. Median annual wages were $57,050 in State government and $57,300 in local government.

In March 2009, the average salary for Federal correctional officers was $53,459. Federal salaries were slightly higher in areas where prevailing local pay levels were higher.

Pay Range of a Federal Correctional Officer Compared to a State Prison Guard

the average salary for a correctional officer working for the federal government is a lot higher than that of a jailer or a state prison guard. Usually federal level jobs pay more than private sector jobs. That’s not just limited to law enforcement, it’s the same across the board for every government jobs.

Correctional officers working for the state or county are usually paid less than that of federal CO’s. That doesn’t mean that being a corrections officer for the state or county in which you live don’t pay well. You see, many CO’s have access to overtime pay that can stretch their yearly earnings by an extra 10-15k.

It’s not uncommon to see an entry level correctional officer making in the range of 60k-70k per year (20% of which is overtime pay). With the hire turnover rate among correctional officers, plus the over crowding issues that plague many jails and prisons across the nation overtime is readily available to CO’s on a daily basis.

Requirements & Qualifications One Needs to Become a Correctional Officer:

The steps to become a correctional officer is not any different from any other law enforcement job. The hiring process is a long and tedious one. Usually taking up to 3 to 6 months before you are hired.

The requirements to become a CO is as followed…

  • You must be 18 years or older (some states mandate that you be at least 21)
  • You must pass a background check
  • You must pass the drug screen test
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony
  • You must pass the civil service test
  • Must pass the oral board interview
  • Must not have been convicted of domestic violence
  • Must have a valid driver’s license
  • Must have a high school diploma (federal correctional officers are required to have a 4 year college degree)
  • Must be someone of good moral character and reputation

Here’s a list by rank of the toughest places to be a correctional officer:

  New York New York  
  Los Angeles California  
  Chicago Illinois  
  Houston Texas  
  Philadelphia Pennsylvania  
  Phoenix Arizona  
  San Diego California  
  Dallas Texas  
  San Antonio Texas  
  Detroit Michigan  
  San Jose California  
  Indianapolis Indiana  
  San Francisco California  
  Jacksonville Florida  
  Columbus Ohio  
  Austin Texas  
  Memphis Tennessee  
  Baltimore Maryland  
  Milwaukee Wisconsin  
  Boston Massachusetts  
  Charlotte North Carolina  
  El Paso Texas  
  Washington District of Columbia  
  Nashville-Davidson Tennessee  
  Seattle Washington  
  Fort Worth Texas  
  Denver Colorado  
  Portland Oregon  
  Oklahoma Oklahoma  
  Las Vegas Nevada  
  Tucson Arizona  
  New Orleans Louisiana  
  Long Beach California  
  Cleveland Ohio  
  Albuquerque New Mexico  
  Fresno California  
  Kansas Missouri  
  Sacramento California  
  Virginia Beach Virginia  
  Mesa Arizona  
  Atlanta Georgia  
  Oakland California  
  Omaha Nebraska  
  Tulsa Oklahoma  
  Honolulu CDP Hawaii  
  Minneapolis Minnesota  
  Miami Florida  
  Colorado Springs Colorado  
  Wichita Kansas  
  Arlington Texas  
  Santa Ana California  
  St. Louis Missouri  
  Anaheim California  
  Pittsburgh Pennsylvania  
  Cincinnati Ohio  
  Tampa Florida  
  Toledo Ohio  
  Raleigh North Carolina  
  Buffalo New York  
  Aurora Colorado  
  St. Paul Minnesota  
  Corpus Christi Texas  
  Newark New Jersey  
  Riverside California  
  Anchorage Alaska  
  Lexington-Fayette Kentucky  
  Stockton California  
  Bakersfield California  
  Louisville Kentucky  
  St. Petersburg Florida  
  Jersey New Jersey  
  Birmingham Alabama  
  Norfolk Virginia  
  Plano Texas  
  Lincoln Nebraska  
  Glendale Arizona  
  Greensboro North Carolina  
  Hialeah Florida  
  Baton Rouge Louisiana  
  Garland Texas  
  Rochester New York  
  Scottsdale Arizona  
  Madison Wisconsin  
  Akron Ohio  
  Fort Wayne Indiana  
  Fremont California  
  Chesapeake Virginia  
  Henderson Nevada  
  Lubbock Texas  
  Modesto California  
  Chandler Arizona  
  Montgomery Alabama  
  Glendale California  
  Shreveport Louisiana  
  Des Moines Iowa  
  Augusta-Richmond Georgia  
  Tacoma Washington  
  Richmond Virginia  
  Yonkers New York  
  Grand Rapids Michigan  
  Spokane Washington  
  Irving Texas  
  Durham North Carolina  
  Mobile Alabama  
  Chula Vista California  
  Huntington Beach California  
  Orlando Florida  
  San Bernardino California  
  Laredo Texas  
  Reno Nevada  
  Arlington CDP Virginia  
  Boise Idaho  
  Winston-Salem North Carolina  
  Columbus Georgia  
  Little Rock Arkansas  
  Salt Lake Utah  
  Jackson Mississippi  
  Newport News Virginia  
  Oxnard California  
  Amarillo Texas  
  Providence Rhode Island  
  Worcester Massachusetts  
  Knoxville Tennessee  
  Garden Grove California  
  Oceanside California  
  Ontario California  
  Dayton Ohio  
  Huntsville Alabama  
  Irvine California  
  Santa Clarita California  
  Tempe Arizona  
  Overland Park Kansas  
  Fort Lauderdale Florida  
  Aurora Illinois  
  Chattanooga Tennessee  
  Tallahassee Florida  
  Pomona California  
  Santa Rosa California  
  Springfield Massachusetts  
  Rockford Illinois  
  Springfield Missouri  
  Moreno Valley California  
  Paterson New Jersey  
  Brownsville Texas  
  Vancouver Washington  
  Salinas California  
  Kansas Kansas  
  Pembroke Pines Florida  
  Hampton Virginia  
  Syracuse New York  
  Pasadena Texas  
  Lakewood Colorado  
  Rancho Cucamonga California  
  Fontana California  
  Hollywood Florida  
  Hayward California  
  Torrance California  
  Salem Oregon  
  Eugene Oregon  
  Bridgeport Connecticut  
  Pasadena California  
  Corona California  
  Warren Michigan  
  Escondido California  
  North Las Vegas Nevada  
  Naperville Illinois  
  Grand Prairie Texas  
  Gilbert town Arizona  
  Orange California  
  Alexandria Virginia  
  Sioux Falls South Dakota  
  Sunnyvale California  
  Fullerton California  
  Mesquite Texas  
  Savannah Georgia  
  Sterling Heights Michigan  
  Coral Springs Florida  
  Concord California  
  Fort Collins Colorado  
  Lancaster California  
  Hartford Connecticut  
  Palmdale California  
  Fayetteville North Carolina  
  New Haven Connecticut  
  Elizabeth New Jersey  
  Peoria Arizona  
  Thousand Oaks California  
  Cedar Rapids Iowa  
  Topeka Kansas  
  Flint Michigan  
  El Monte California  
  Stamford Connecticut  
  Vallejo California  
  Evansville Indiana  
  Lansing Michigan  
  Joliet Illinois  
  Columbia South Carolina  
  Simi Valley California  
  Waco Texas  
  Abilene Texas  
  Ann Arbor Michigan  
  Carrollton Texas  
  Inglewood California  
  McAllen Texas  
  Independence Missouri  
  Cape Coral Florida  
  Bellevue Washington  
  Beaumont Texas  
  Peoria Illinois  
  Springfield Illinois  
  Lafayette Louisiana  
  West Valley Utah  
  Costa Mesa California  
  Downey California  
  Manchester New Hampshire  
  Clearwater Florida  
  Waterbury Connecticut  
  West Covina California  
  South Bend Indiana  
  Allentown Pennsylvania  
  Norwalk California  
  Clarksville Tennessee  
  Provo Utah  
  Lowell Massachusetts  
  Athens-Clarke County Georgia  
  Berkeley California  
  Ventura California  
  Westminster Colorado  
  Pueblo Colorado  
  Wichita Falls Texas  
  Burbank California  
  Richmond California  
  Arvada Colorado  
  Erie Pennsylvania  
  Fairfield California  
  Daly California  
  Santa Clara California  
  Cambridge Massachusetts  
  Green Bay Wisconsin  
  Olathe Kansas  
  Gary Indiana  
  Livonia Michigan  
  Antioch California  
  Portsmouth Virginia  
  Centennial Colorado  
  Charleston South Carolina  
  South Gate California  
  Port St. Lucie Florida  
  Cary town North Carolina  
  Dearborn Michigan  
  Norman Oklahoma  
  Davenport Iowa  
  Everett Washington  
  Richardson Texas  
  Visalia California  
  Rialto California  
  Elgin Illinois  
  Mission Viejo California  
  Macon Georgia  
  Midland Texas  
  Compton California  
  El Cajon California  
  Brockton Massachusetts  
  Gainesville Florida  
  Gresham Oregon  
  Boulder Colorado  
  New Bedford Massachusetts  
  Roanoke Virginia  
  Albany New York  
  Thornton Colorado  
  Vacaville California  
  Carson California  
  Killeen Texas  
  Fall River Massachusetts  
  Kenosha Wisconsin  
  Billings Montana  
  San Mateo California  
  Roseville California  
  Vista California  
  Lawton Oklahoma  
  Waukegan Illinois  
  Fargo North Dakota  
  Odessa Texas  
  Wilmington North Carolina  
  High Point North Carolina  
  Rochester Minnesota  
  Miramar Florida  
  Denton Texas  
  Lynn Massachusetts  
  Miami Beach Florida  
  Westminster California  
  Santa Barbara California  
  Sandy Utah  
  Quincy Massachusetts  
  Citrus Heights California  
  Sunrise Florida  
  Nashua New Hampshire  
  Alhambra California  
  San Angelo Texas  
  Pompano Beach Florida
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