Employment growth is expected to be as fast as the average for all occupations, and job opportunities are expected to be favorable.
Employment of correctional officers is expected to grow 9 percent between 2008 and 2018, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Increasing demand for correctional officers will stem from population growth and rising rates of incarceration. Mandatory sentencing guidelines calling for longer sentences and reduced parole for inmates are a primary reason for increasing incarceration rates. Some States are reconsidering mandatory sentencing guidelines because of budgetary constraints, court decisions, and doubts about their effectiveness. Some employment opportunities also will arise in the private sector, as public authorities contract with private companies to provide and staff corrections facilities. Both State and Federal corrections agencies are increasingly using private prisons.
Job opportunities for correctional officers are expected to be favorable. The need to replace correctional officers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force, coupled with rising employment demand, will generate job openings. In the past, some local and State corrections agencies have experienced difficulty in attracting and keeping qualified applicants, largely because of low salaries, shift work, and the concentration of jobs in rural locations. This situation is expected to continue.
Correctional officers and jailors held about 454,500 jobs in 2008, while first-line supervisors and managers of correctional officers held about 43,500 jobs. An additional 20,200 workers were employed as bailiffs. The vast majority of correctional officers and jailors and their supervisors were employed by State and local government in correctional institutions such as prisons, prison camps, and youth correctional facilities.
Job Zone 3 - Medium preparation
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have gone through an apprenticeship program or several years of vocational training to perform the job.
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related job experience, or an associate's degree. Some may require a bachelor's degree.
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training, including both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers.
Dental assistants, electricians, fish and game wardens, legal secretaries, personnel recruiters and recreational workers.
These occupations often involve using communication and organization skills to manage and train others.
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Unfortunately, no related occupation data exists for this profession.
Further information about correctional officers is available from:
- American Correctional Association, 206 N. Washington St., Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.aca.org
- American Jail Association, 1135 Professional Ct., Hagerstown, MD 21740. Internet: http://www.corrections.com/aja
- Information on entrance requirements, training, and career opportunities for correctional officers at the Federal level may be obtained from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Internet: http://www.bop.gov
Information on obtaining a position as a correctional officer with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724-1850 or TDD (978) 461-8404. These numbers are not toll free, so charges may result.
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
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