Study Guide For The Correctional Officer Written Exam

This Correction Officer Examination Study guide was developed to help applicants prepare for the written portion of the Correction Officer Examination.

This manual covers everything you new to know to pass the test.

Usually the correctional officer exam consist of about 80-100 multiple-choice questions, which is designed to measure six abilities that are important to the performance of the correction officer job.

Here are some of the sections on the exam that will attempt to measure your ability to perform the job effectively:

  • Ability to gather information
  • Ability to write concisely and accurately
  • Ability to read, understand, explain, and apply information (laws, rules, etc.)
  • Ability to work accurately with names, numbers, codes and/or symbols
  • Ability to analyze and determine the applicability of quantitative and qualitative data
  • Ability to maintain accurate records

Practice Test Question#1:

1. In this item, please read the underlined sentences.  Then choose the sentence that best combines those sentences into one.

Carl was a correction officer.

Carl was thirty years old.

Carl had been working at the Cedar Junction correction facility for five years.


A.      A thirty-year-old correction officer at the Cedar Junction correction facility, Carl had been working for five years.

B.     Carl was a thirty-year-old correction officer who had been working at the Cedar Junction correction facility for five years.

C.     For five years, Carl was a thirty-year-old worker at the Cedar Junction correction facility as a correction officer.

D.     Working at the Cedar Junction correction facility for five years, Carl was a thirty-year-old correction officer.


Practice Test Question#2:

For Question 2, mark your answer sheet as follows:

A.      If the sentence contains a punctuation error.

B.     If the sentence contains a grammatical error.

C.     If the sentence contains a spelling error.

D.     If the sentence contains no errors.


2. Officer Smith has the ability to work accurately with names numbers and codes.

In conclusion:

That is just 2 practice questions, however if you are looking for a more in-dept look inside the corrections officer test with tons of sample questions and answers, visit the Pass The Correctional Test website.

Practice exam Answer Key

1. B

2. A

Federal And State Correctional Officer Exam

Whether you are scheduled to take the corrections officer exam for a state, federal or local agency this correctional officer study guide will help you pass the test with a top score.

This manual will provide candidates with proven test taking strategies when taking the examination in a multiple-choice format.

You’ll get first hand knowledge of what’s going to be on the actual entrance test.

Corrections Officer Exam Tips

This study guide includes the procedures that you should follow during the actual examination. It also provides you with practice examination questions, which give you an idea of the types of questions to expect.

Answering the practice questions below allows you to assess your own ability and identify those ability areas on which you should focus your study efforts.

In addition, the familiarity with the test process gained in taking the practice examination below could serve to increase your confidence level and reduce anxiety about taking the test.

Some of the anxiety associated with test-taking situations may be related to the novelty of the situation, that is, applicants simply are not used to taking tests or taking a test with thousands of other individuals. Having this first-hand experience with the test-taking situation can help reduce your anxiety level.

Online Practice Test


Allocate no more than 30 minutes to complete the following (15) practice questions.

Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following table.


Admissions of Inmates to Municipal, County & State Penal Institutions

Institution Number Direct Admission from the Courts Admissions by Transfer from other Institutions Total Admissions
Male Female Male Female Male Female
1 3,483 1,024 67,789 0 71,272 1,024
2 100 0 25,371 0 25,471 0
3 1,542 0 9,748 0 11,290 0
4 342 45 5,275 125 5,617 170
5 822 150 642 82 1,464 232
6 483 44 1,743 238 2,226 282
7 675 12 522 65 1,197 77
8 744 98 3,755 174 4,499 272
9 691 26 679 17 1,370 43
10 0 1,214 0 8,432 0 9,646
8,882 2,613 115,524 9,133 124,406 11,746


1. According to the table above, in institutions that received both male and female inmates by transfer, which institution received the largest number?

A.      Institution Number 4

B.     Institution Number 6

C.     Institution Number 8

D.     Institution Number 10


2. According to the table above, the number of female admissions by transfers from other institutions to Institution Number 8 is 10 percent of the number of male admissions by transfers from other institutions to Institution Number X of both male and female inmates.  What is X?

A.      2.

B.     4.

C.     6.

D.     8.


3. According to the table above, which of the institutions had the LARGEST difference between the total admissions of male and female inmates?

A.      Institution Number 8

B.     Institution Number 6

C.     Institution Number 2

D.     Institution Number 1


That is just 3 practice questions to the state, county or federal correctional officer test. If you want a more in-dept look inside the test with tons of sample questions and answers visit Pass The Correctional Officer Exam.

The answers to the Practice Examination are listed below.

1. A

2. C

3. D

Corrections Officer Exam – Mistakes To Avoid

Besides downloading a corrections officer test study guide its probably a good idea to review common mistakes that most candidates make so you won’t repeat the same mistakes.

Read below to learn common mistakes and pitfalls that many applicants make and how to avoid them.

To provide some strategies to offset common test-taking errors:

This article explains errors typically made by examinees when taking a test with multiple choice format questions.

It includes steps to identify the types of errors and strategies to help minimize making the same errors in the future. Please keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • REPETITION and PRACTICE are the key elements to familiarizing yourself with the strategies.
  • Many of the strategies suggested for each of the six ability areas (reading,writing,math,reasoning,memory recall) apply only to questions testing those areas. For example, suggestions that pertain to Memory questions apply only to those types of content questions.
  • Consider using the general test-taking techniques only when you are uncertain or do not know the answer to a question.



Here are some general test-taking strategies that may be helpful:

Understand the test format and requirements

  • Read all of the directions carefully.
  • Understand how to correctly mark the answer sheet. (You will be given specific instructions at the test site.)
  • Ask the test Proctor to re-read the instructions on the marking of your answer sheet if you are not sure if you understand the instructions.
  • Know how many hours and minutes you have to complete the examination. You are responsible for monitoring your use of the allotted time. (Applicants are typically given three hours to complete the 80-question entry-level Correction examination.)

corrections officer, jailer, prison guard civil service exam study guide

Understand the test question

  • Read each question carefully. Try to answer the question before you look at the choices. If you know the answer, compare it to the available choices and pick the choice closest in meaning to your answer.
  • Mark the test questions to make them easier to read as you may write in your test booklet.  Specifically:
  • Use slash marks to break down sentences into small segments. This approach helps to separate ideas in long sentences.
  • Circle key words that identify the subject of a sentence or passage. This makes it easier when you have to look for the answers later.
  • Find and underline clue words such as SOME, ALL, EVERY, SOMETIMES, AND, and OR.
  • Words such as ALL, NEVER, NONE, and EVERY harden a statement and indicate there are no exceptions. As a rule, statements including these words have less of a chance of being correct.
  • Words such as SOMETIMES, MAY, GENERALLY, and POSSIBLY soften a statement and leave more room for the statement to be correct.
  • The word, “AND” means that one element of the statement must be present or true, in addition to another.
  • The word “OR” means there is a choice of situations; only one of the elements of the statement must be true for it to be a correct answer.

Correctional Officer Exam – Mistakes to Avoid On The Test

When taking the corrections officer test it is important to know that there are common mistakes that can totally screw up your overall test score. The difference between pass or fail may depend on your ability to avoid common traps, and pitfalls when taking the test.

In this article I’m going to share some key tips that will prevent common errors and pitfalls on the corrections officer examination.

Proceed through the questions strategically

  • Answer “easy” questions first: Answer test questions where you know the answer first. Skip the “unsure” or “do not know” questions and return to these questions after you have answered all of the questions of which you are sure. This will prevent you from spending too much time on any one question and ensure that you have the time to respond to, and receive credit for, every question that you can answer correctly. Whenever you skip a question, use some type of code to identify it as skipped in your test booklet and do not forget to return to it.
  • Do not get stuck on words or sentences you do not understand: You may still get the main idea of the sentence or paragraph without understanding the individual word or the individual sentence.
  • Use the process of elimination: If you do not know the answer to a question, first eliminate those choices that are clearly incorrect. Then, put a mark next to each remaining choice to indicate what you think about it (e.g., maybe, likely, or probable). This will save you time, particularly if you decide to skip the question and come back to it later, by reducing the number of answers you have to reread and re-evaluate before making your final choice.
  • Guess: There is no penalty for selecting an incorrect answer in this examination, so answer every question. If the examination period is about to end and you are not able to complete all of the questions, reserve some time (e.g., 1 minute; 3 minutes) toward the very end of the examination period to answer these questions, even if you must guess. While your guesses may not be all correct, the alternative is to leave these questions blank and receive no credit at all.

corrections officer, jailer, prison guard civil service exam study guide


Use extra time wisely

  • If you finish the examination before the examination period is over, go back and review your answers. Make any changes that are necessary.
  • Make sure that you have marked your answers on the answer sheet correctly.


Strategies for Analyzing and Avoiding Errors

Each one of us has strengths and weaknesses in our test taking behavior. This section is to provide you with a procedure to help you focus on areas for further study, if desired. The process of comparing your answers with the answer key and identifying patterns, if any, of where errors commonly occur is termed, “error analysis.”

The practice examination questions are very similar to the types of questions that will appear on the actual examination. After answering these questions and checking them against the answer key, complete the Error Analysis Form contained later in this section of the Booklet. Focus on the questions you answered incorrectly. Read through the test taking strategies presented below and apply the strategies to help you avoid making the same errors in the future.

There are several possible reasons for choosing an incorrect answer. Seven common reasons along with suggestions to minimize repeating such errors are presented below.

Reasons for Choosing Incorrect Responses

1.      Answer sheet errors and guessing errors.

  • Since there are a limited number of questions on the examination, errors related to the proper use of the answer sheet may lower your test score. Check yourself as you mark each choice on the answer sheet to ensure you are marking the answer you have chosen. Also, make sure you are filling in the correct circle/space corresponding to the question on which you are working. As an additional check, after you complete the examination, as time permits, review every question again.
  • You may also miss questions because you failed to provide an answer or were forced to quickly mark any answer (that is, guess) before time was called. If either of these situations happened, consider why. Possible reasons and suggestions include:
  • You may have missed a question because you skipped it and failed to return to it later. If this is the case, be sure to use some kind of code to identify skipped questions in your test booklet and remember to go back to them before the end of the examination period.

b.    You may have “lost track of the time” and been unaware that the examination period was about to end before you could mark any remaining unanswered questions. Be sure to check your watch every so often so that you can keep track of how much time you have left. If you do not wear a timepiece, the classroom proctor is instructed to write the remaining examination time on the chalkboard or screen so that all examinees are informed of the remaining minutes left to take the examination. If necessary, be sure to save the last minute or two to mark any unanswered questions.

c.         You may have been forced to make guesses for questions placed toward the end of the examination because you spent too much time working on difficult questions earlier, rather than skipping them and saving them for later. Skipping questions that are difficult for you, may give you more time with questions that you have a better chance of answering correctly.

d.     You may have skipped difficult questions but in returning to them did not save yourself time by reducing the number of answer choices (e.g., maybe, likely, or probable). Be sure to use a coding system for any skipped questions so that when you return to them, you may decide on an answer based on the reduced numbers of choices marked earlier.

More Civil Service Exam Tips And Advice

2.      Misreading a question or answer by overlooking a key word or phrase.

The solution to this type of error is underlining. Underlining makes those key words and phrases stand out when choosing an answer. Once you have underlined the key words and phrases in a question, check the details of the possible answers with the details you underlined, one-by-one. If every detail does not match, consider that answer suspect and try another, always keeping in mind you are looking for the best possible answer.

3.      Not knowing the meaning of one or more key terms.

This is a problem of vocabulary. When you come to an unfamiliar word, reread the sentence to determine its meaning without worrying about the meaning of the unfamiliar word. Try to understand the general message of the sentence or paragraph. The meaning of the unfamiliar word should become clearer once you understand the phrases and ideas that surround it.

4.      Having difficulty telling the difference between the important and unimportant parts of a question because it is complicated or difficult to understand.

First, these are the questions you should skip until the end of the test. These are also the questions on which you will use the slash mark technique mentioned earlier (general test-taking strategies). It’s called divide and conquer. Use slash marks to break up the question into smaller parts; then concentrate on one part at a time. When you return to these difficult questions, first read the possible answers before reading the question. This helps you to direct your concentration while reading the question. Also, focus on the topic sentences that are usually the first and last sentences in a question. Read these difficult questions twice. The first time, read for the general idea. Do not spend time on individual words or phrases you do not understand. The second time, read for more detailed understanding. The first reading will give you the general meaning so that the second reading will be easier. Lastly, visualize what the question is asking.

5.      Not being familiar with comparing combination of information.

This is a problem of re-arranging information in the correct way so that it makes sense. Underline important pieces of information in the question and then compare this information with the possible answers point-by-point. Concentrate on eliminating the wrong answers first.

6.      Choosing an answer simply because it “looks” good.

Several factors may cause you to choose incorrect answers that “look good”:

a.    An incorrect answer may contain an exact phrase from the original question.

b.    An incorrect answer may contain a phrase or sentence from the original question, but present it in a different way. For example, an idea that is rejected in the question may be presented in the answer as an idea that was supported.

c.    An incorrect answer may overstate what the question has stated. For example, if the question says, “Some incidents…,” the incorrect answer may say, “All incidents.…”


Some strategies for avoiding the tendency to select incorrect answers that “look good” include:


a.     Have an answer before you review the answer choices. This will make you less likely to choose an answer that just “looks good.”

b.     Use the method of marking each probable answer to indicate what you think about it (e.g., unlikely, likely, could be) before choosing one.

c.     Beware of choosing answers based on common sense or previous knowledge and experience. Answer only on the basis of the material presented in the test question itself.

d.     Stick strictly to the facts or rules described in the test question itself. Do not be drawn to answers that stretch or exaggerate these facts or rules. This is the time to watch out for words such as “only,” “never,” “always,” “whenever,” “all,” etc.

e.     Beware of answers containing exact words or phrases from the question material. Do not simply assume that such answers are correct.

f.       Prepare a defense for your answer choice. Find something in the test question that will allow you to give a strong defense for your particular answer choice.

7.      You may not know why you missed a question.

Federal Correctional Officer Exam Study Guide

Before I share some sample test questions that you’ll likely see on the federal corrections officer test, Let’s look at the requirements you’ll need before you can take the exam.

If you don’t meet the minimum qualifications below, you won’t be allowed to apply.

Prison Guard Job Responsibility & Duties

Federal prison correction officers monitor prison facilities and inmates. Federal prison guards routinely check prison cells for contraband, enforce discipline and settle disputes among inmates.

In addition to specialized training, educational requirements generally include at least a college degree or three years of general work experience.

Here are the requirements one needs to become a federal correctional officer:

  • four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution
  • You must pass the background check
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony
  • You must not have been convicted of domestic battery
  • You must have good communication skills
  • You must pass the drug test, polygraph test, written entrance test, and physical assessment test

Corrections Officer Test

The corrections officer test usually consist of 6-8 major test categories and they are as followed….

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Mathematics
  • Verbal Communications
  • Report Writing
  • Memory Recognition
  • Judgment and reasoning

Below is some practice questions for you to review. However if you are looking for a more in-dept look inside the federal correctional officer test with a lot more sample test questions and answers visit Pass The Correctional Officer Exam

corrections officer, jailer, prison guard civil service exam study guide

Federal Corrections Sample Exam Questions

1.  A total of 257 inmates are housed in a cell block.  During a formal inmate count at this cell block, 239 inmates are counted.  How many inmates from the cell block were not present at the time of the count?
a.  8    b. 12    c. 17 d. 18 e. 22
2.  Choose which sentence is more clearly wtitten:
a.  Backtracking by the officer should be frequently occurring on security patrols.
b. The officer should backtrack frequently while perfoming security patrols
3. .Which of the following inmates accounts currenlty contains the most cash?
a.  Inmate 10003706 – $517.33
b.  Inmate 10049825 – $101.27
c.  Inmate 10005656 – $89.29
d.  Inmate 10109825 – $527.02
e.  Inmate 11000376 – $126.74
4.  The officer must see inmates in order to counted them. (correct sentence)
a.  counted
b.  has counted
c.  counts
d.  counting
e.  count

Here’s a list of all the federal prisons in the United states:

  1. Federal Correctional Complex, Beaumont—Beaumont, Texas
  2. Federal Correctional Complex, Butner—Butner, North Carolina
  3. Federal Correctional Complex, Coleman—Coleman, Florida
  4. Federal Correctional Complex, Forrest City—Forrest City, Arkansas
  5. Federal Correctional Complex, Petersburg—Petersburg, Virginia
  6. Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute—Terre Haute, Indiana
  7. Federal Correctional Complex, Tucson—Tucson, Arizona
  8. Federal Correctional Complex, Victorville-Victorville, California
  9. Federal Correctional Institution, Allenwood—Montgomery, Pennsylvania
  10. Federal Correctional Institution, Ashland—Ashland, Kentucky
  11. Federal Correctional Institution, Bastrop—Bastrop, Texas
  12. Federal Correctional Institution, Beaumont—Beaumont, Texas
  13. Federal Correctional Institution, Beckley—Beaver, West Virginia
  14. Federal Correctional Institution, Bennettsville—Bennettsville, South Carolina
  15. Federal Correctional Institution, Big Spring—Big Spring, Texas
  16. Federal Correctional Institution, Butner—Butner, North Carolina
  17. Federal Correctional Institution, Coleman—Coleman, Florida
  18. Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland—Cumberland, Maryland
  19. Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury—Danbury, Connecticut
  20. Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin—Dublin, California
  21. Federal Correctional Institution, Edgefield—Edgefield, South Carolina
  22. Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno—El Reno, Oklahoma
  23. Federal Correctional Institution, Elkton—Elkton, Ohio
  24. Federal Correctional Institution, Englewood—Lakewood, Colorado
  25. Federal Correctional Institution, Estill—Estill, South Carolina
  26. Federal Correctional Institution, Fairton—Fairton, New Jersey
  27. Federal Correctional Institution, Florence—Fremont County, Colorado
  28. Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Dix—Fort Dix, New Jersey
  29. Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Worth—Fort Worth, Texas
  30. Federal Correctional Institution, Gilmer—Glenville, West Virginia
  31. Federal Correctional Institution, Greenville—Greenville, Illinois
  32. Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong—Herlong, California
  33. Federal Correctional Institution, Jesup—Jesup, Georgia
  34. Federal Correctional Institution, La Tuna—Anthony, Texas
  35. Federal Correctional Institution, Lompoc—Lompoc, California
  36. Federal Correctional Institution, Loretto—Loretto, Pennsylvania
  37. Federal Correctional Institution, Manchester—Manchester, Kentucky
  38. Federal Correctional Institution, Marianna—Marianna, Florida
  39. Federal Correctional Institution, McDowell—Welch, West Virginia
  40. Federal Correctional Institution, McKean—Bradford, Pennsylvania
  41. Federal Correctional Institution, Memphis—Memphis, Tennessee
  42. Federal Correctional Institution, Mendota—Mendota, California
  43. Federal Correctional Institution, Miami—Miami-Dade County, Florida
  44. Federal Correctional Institution, Milan—Milan, Michigan
  45. Federal Correctional Institution, Morgantown—Morgantown, West Virginia
  46. Federal Correctional Institution, Oakdale—Oakdale, Louisiana
  47. Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville—Otisville, New York
  48. Federal Correctional Institution, Oxford—Oxford, Wisconsin
  49. Federal Correctional Institution, Pekin—Pekin, Illinois
  50. Federal Correctional Institution, Phoenix—Phoenix, Arizona
  51. Federal Correctional Institution, Ray Brook—North Elba, New York
  52. Federal Correctional Institution, Safford—Safford, Arizona
  53. Federal Correctional Institution, Sandstone—Sandstone, Minnesota
  54. Federal Correctional Institution, Schuylkill—Minersville, Pennsylvania
  55. Federal Correctional Institution, Seagoville—Seagoville, Texas
  56. Federal Correctional Institution, Sheridan—Sheridan, Oregon
  57. Federal Correctional Institution, Talladega—Talladega, Alabama
  58. Federal Correctional Institution, Tallahassee—Tallahassee, Florida
  59. Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island—Terminal Island, California
  60. Federal Correctional Institution, Texarkana—Texarkana, Texas
  61. Federal Correctional Institution, Three Rivers—Three Rivers, Texas
  62. Federal Correctional Institution, Tucson—Tucson, Arizona
  63. Federal Correctional Institution I, Victorville—Victorville, California
  64. Federal Correctional Institution II, Victorville-Victorville, California
  65. Federal Correctional Institution, Waseca—Waseca, Minnesota
  66. Federal Correctional Institution, Williamsburg—Salters, South Carolina
  67. Federal Correctional Institution, Yazoo City—Yazoo City, Mississippi
  68. Federal Detention Center, Honolulu—Honolulu, Hawaii
  69. Federal Detention Center, Houston—Houston, Texas
  70. Federal Detention Center, Miami—Miami, Florida
  71. Federal Detention Center, Oakdale—Oakdale, Louisiana
  72. Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  73. Federal Detention Center, SeaTac—SeaTac, Washington
  74. Federal Medical Center, Carswell—Fort Worth, Texas
  75. Federal Medical Center, Devens—Devens, Massachusetts
  76. Federal Medical Center, Fort Worth—Fort Worth, Texas
  77. Federal Medical Center, Lexington—Lexington, Kentucky
  78. Federal Medical Center, Rochester—Rochester, Minnesota
  79. Federal Prison Camp, Alderson—Alderson, West Virginia
  80. Federal Prison Camp, Allenwood—Montgomery, Pennsylvania
  81. Federal Prison Camp, Bryan—Bryan, Texas
  82. Federal Prison Camp, Devens—Devens, Massachusetts
  83. Federal Prison Camp, Duluth—Duluth, Minnesota
  84. Federal Prison Camp, Leavenworth—Leavenworth, Kansas
  85. Federal Prison Camp, Manchester—Manchester, Kentucky
  86. Federal Prison Camp, Montgomery—Montgomery, Alabama
  87. Federal Prison Camp, Pensacola—Pensacola, Florida
  88. Federal Prison Camp, Yankton—Yankton, South Dakota
  89. Federal Secure Low La Tuna—El Paso, Texas
  90. Federal Transfer Center, Oklahoma City—Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  91. Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago—Chicago, Illinois
  92. Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York—New York, New York
  93. Metropolitan Correctional Center, San Diego—San Diego, California
  94. Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn—Brooklyn, New York
  95. Metropolitan Detention Center, Guaynabo—Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
  96. Metropolitan Detention Center, Los Angeles—Los Angeles, California
  97. United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners—Springfield, Missouri
  98. United States Penitentiary, Allenwood—Montgomery, Pennsylvania
  99. United States Penitentiary, Atlanta—Atlanta, Georgia
  100. United States Penitentiary, Atwater—Atwater, California
  101. United States Penitentiary, Beaumont—Beaumont, Texas
  102. United States Penitentiary, Big Sandy—Inez, Kentucky
  103. United States Penitentiary, Canaan—Canaan, Pennsylvania
  104. United States Penitentiary I, Coleman—Coleman, Florida
  105. United States Penitentiary II, Coleman—Coleman, Florida
  106. United States Penitentiary, Florence—Fremont County, Colorado
  107. United States Penitentiary, Hazelton—Hazelton, West Virginia
  108. United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth—Leavenworth, Kansas
  109. United States Penitentiary, Lee—Pennington Gap, Virginia
  110. United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg—Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
  111. United States Penitentiary, Lompoc—Lompoc, California
  112. United States Penitentiary, Marion—Marion, Illinois
  113. United States Penitentiary, McCreary—McCreary County, Kentucky
  114. United States Penitentiary, Pollock—Pollock, Louisiana
  115. United States Penitentiary, Tucson—Tucson, Arizona
  116. United States Penitentiary, Victorville—Victorville, California
  117. United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute—Terre Haute, Indiana

Correctional Officer Interview Questions And Answers

When you get a call from the HR department  inviting you to interview for a corrections officer position, how do you feel? Happy? Elated? Excited? Nervous? Scared stiff?

You don’t need to worry about the interview if you’re a well-prepared, qualified candidate. Preparing for a correctional officer oral board interview is a lot like studying for a test.

You can review commonly asked questions, think about what you’ll say beforehand, and go in to do your best. If you prepare beforehand, the interview questions will seem routine and familiar. You’ll have answers on the tip of your tongue, ready-to-go.

According to the very popular ebook, Ace The Correctional Officer Interview, trying to wing it during your oral interview – just showing up and expecting to think of answers off the top of your head – is no way to prepare for a law enforcement interview.

Below is a list of commonly asked corrections officer interview questions, and how would you answer each question?

Tell us about yourself.

Whether you are interviewing for a  correctional officer position in the state, county or federal level this will be the first question that you’ll probably be asked. Just give a brief background in about three sentences. Tell them what colleges you graduated from, military experience if you have any, what kind of certification you have if any & your working experiences, and why you’d love a career in corrections.

What are your career goals?
Your objectives or goals are very important. You do not want to be a wandering generality; you want to be a meaningful specific.

The raters on the panel will want to know if you have thought about your future, and have a plan to get where you want to go. You should have both short and long range goals. A good short range goal might be to secure a position as a corrections officer, and then join the specialized set team, and later senior supervisor.

Long range goals require you to picture yourself, and where you would like to be, 10 or 20 years from now.

Things to know about the corrections officer interview & Situational Questions:

There will be a lot of questions concerning your character so be prepared to answer some pretty concentrated situational questions. Also there will be questions concerning inmate manipulation tactics so familiarize yourself with that and how you’ll handle it when it happens.

If you want a more in-dept look inside the correctional officer interview with tons of sample questions with best answers visit Ace Your Correctional Interview.

Typical Interview Questions For Corrections Officers

If you’re looking for corrections officer interview questions and answers that will impress the raters on the panel, then you’ll want to read this article.

If sitting in front of a panel  wasn’t nerve racking enough, what with all the preparation that goes into choosing your outfit, tie and shoes, there’s the dreaded interview, where so many candidates fail badly, and their chance of becoming a CO goes up in smoke.

There is so much pressure on this particular phase of the hiring process, which is why I’m going to show you the types of  interview questions in this article, which will give you a taste of what you can expect.

This phase of the selection process is crucial, because this is the only time where you can show off your experience and knowledge of the profession to the panel. You must make a connection with them, and impress them at the same time.

Tell me about yourself

Perhaps this the most famous and common interview question for correctional officer applicants. “Tell me about yourself” is the gateway to just about anything you wish to say. When asked the question, the interviewer doesn’t want to know where you were born or what color your hair is.

This question prompts you to show the interviewer why you are qualified for this job. Your answer may reveal some of your greatest achievements or how your past experience might relate to the job you are applying for.

Why would I hire you?

For this common interview question, you need to realize that the better answer you give, the easier it is for the raters — It’s up to you to give the hiring board a reason to hire you.

This is a great time to tell the interviewer about any past work experience that is relevant to a career in corrections.

What are you strengths?

The first thing you should do is figure out 2-3 things about yourself that you really like about yourself and elaborate. This should put you in good shape to answer this commonly asked interview question.

Always support your strength with a real-life example. We explain how to do this in great detail in the new report, Ace Your Correctional Officer Interview.

Corrections Officer Interview – Tips For State, Federal, County Jailers

Whether you are interested in becoming a CO for the state, county or the federal prison sector – the process isn’t easy. In fact, the hiring process in order to become a corrections officer is a long, and tedious one.

One phase of the hiring process that may be a bit tough in terms of the amount of stress put on you is the oral board interview. This phase of the selections process is without a doubt what’s going to make you or break you.

If you come across as a candidate who has good communication skills, confident, and a will to be great in a profession where sub standards can get you injured – you’ll have the panel foaming to hire you.

However if you don’t do well on the interview, especially during the scenario base questions, the likelihood of you getting the job is slim.

That’s why we recommend looking over sample interview questions for correctional officers at this website beforehand. Brushing up on your interview skill is highly recommended.

Below is tips that may help you prepare for the correctional officer oral board interview.

Sample Interview Question #1:  Body Language

The truth is coming across as a confident person is incredibly important. Your body language will however be an easy way to tell if you are not confident. Try and look people in the eye when you talk to them. Don’t twitch with your hands and move slowly and deliberately. Try and relax as nervousness is a trait of someone who is not very confident.

Sample Interview Question #2:  Talking About Yourself

Its amazing how many candidates tend to sell themselves short. We all have this fear of coming across as arrogant and often we sell ourselves short during a job interview. Its important that you speak confidently about your qualifications, your experience and your skills. The important distinction is to not talk up your personality traits too much as that can come across as being arrogant. Talk up your skills, experience and qualifications as much as you can.

They say that people form impressions of each other within the first 5 seconds when they meet. Needless to say that first impressions count – and they count a lot in a correctional job interview. Make sure you present well and do whatever it takes to make that first five seconds count. It can make or break your interview and maybe even your career opportunity as a correctional officer.

Do you know what are the frequently asked interview questions for a corrections officer? Download our interview Success Guide for some practice questions and best answers.

Preparing For The Correctional Officer Job Interview

Many candidates get anxious when they’re preparing for the correctional officer oral board interview. But there’s nothing to be nervous about if you’re confident in your abilities.

As long as you apply the three key interview techniques below, securing a career in corrections won’t be just a dream anymore.

Interview Tip # 1 – Look Smart and Trustworthy.

First impression counts the most. No matter how smart or efficient you are for the job, you will never get it if you look or dress inappropriately. That’s because the raters on the board will have a negative impression of you right from the start and may reject your application outright.


Job Interview Tip # 2 – Bring All The Important Stuffs.

When you’re preparing for a job interview, make sure you list down all the things you bring to the table. The most important stuffs would include your resume, an extra pen, a notebook, a roadmap in case you’re not familiar with the route, and such other documents that the company may require like your birth certificate and police clearance.

Job Interview Tip # 3 – Prepare Impressive Answers For Any Possible Job Interview Questions They Might Ask.

Aside from the things to bring, get ready to answer any possible job interview questions that may be asked.

The raters on the panel would probably be most concerned about what you can contribute or how you can add value to their agency. So get ready to astound them with your list of accomplishments, attainments and experiences. If possible, bring along any certificates, licenses, or documents to show proof.

Research the agency/department and your job position, so you won’t get dumbfounded when they ask something related to their rehabilitation goals. This also shows your enthusiasm to join their work force. You can do your research online, through brochures or books from the library, and by asking friends who might know anything about the jails. If you’re lucky, your friends may know someone already working in the agency who can give you valuable pointers.

Know your strengths and weaknesses. Think of how your skills or personality can benefit the department, and disclose them when you get the chance. This is one of the keys to success when preparing for a correctional officer job interview.

Steps To Become a Correctional Officer, Prison Guard, Jailer

If you’ve decided that law enforcement is for you, consider becoming a correctional officer for your state, county or the federal government.

The great thing about government jobs is that it’s a lot more secure than private sector jobs. In some instances, especially jobs at the federal level, the pay and benefits are better in all facets.

Becoming a correctional officer, county jailer or prison guard for your state or county takes a lot of mandatory steps before you are sworn in as a certified CO. To be honest with you the entire application process is a long and tedious one.


Before you are even allowed to apply for a position in corrections, you must meet the minimum requirements below:

  • You must be at least 18 years old (some state require that you be 21)
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony
  • You must not have been convicted of domestic battery
  • You must not have a pending criminal case
  • You must pass all pre-employment drug screen
  • You must pass the psychological exam




You must get a satisfactory score on the correctional officer exam. The higher you score on the exam – the better ( we recommend looking over sample questions and answers at this site)


You must pass the polygraph test. The polygraph exam is really tricky. Statistics show that 50% of all people who take the polygraph test – fails it. That’s why we recommend reading How To Pass Your Polygraph beforehand.


You must pass the correctional officer oral board interview. We recommend reviewing situational interview questions at this site. It’s a very good corrections interview prep book.


You must pass the physical fitness test. Some agencies don’t require a fitness test for their applicants. however a great amount of correctional agencies do. We suggest downloading a comprehensive law enforcement specific workout program here.