The Pros and Cons of Being a Correctional Officer


1. Payment and Benefits

For a job that can potentially lead to a high-paying career that only requires a high school diploma or GED, the starting salary and benefits a newly hired correctional officer receives are pretty good.

With a starting salary of approximately $35k, with medical, dental, vacation, paid training and more, it’s a hard career to pass up.

Chances are you’re employed by a federal, state, or local organization, so you’ll also have the added incentive of a government retirement plan that typically allows retirement after 20 years of service.

2. Job security

Crime is a part of life and the unfortunate reality is that in most parts of the world it is on the rise. Take that combined with the fact that the United States currently holds the largest number of inmates in the entire world; It’s easy to see why many feel there is great job security in being a corrections officer.

Additionally, with the increased construction of detention centers and prisons across the country, the need to staff those new facilities with qualified and trained personnel to ensure that the need for correctional officers continues to be in high demand for years to come.

3. Breakthrough Potential

Since the entry-level educational requirements for a corrections officer are only a high school diploma or GED, the requirements needed to advance to a higher position can be simple.

Complete the basic training academy that most would have already completed. They are currently employed as a CO, are completing a two- or four-year degree program, and have 1-3 years of direct experience as a corrections officer depending on the position you are applying for.


1. Hours and programming

As a new employee at any entry-level correctional facility, you most likely won’t have much say in the hours or days you must work. This can be a huge disadvantage for single parents or people who need more control over their work schedules. Most officers find that as they complete their probation and increase their time on the job, this is a situation that slowly corrects itself in a matter of time.

2. High stress environment

By the very nature of the job, there is an almost unavoidable level of stress that you will encounter on a daily basis. How you deal with that stress will determine how long you last as a correctional officer. Some people are not able to cope with stress, but many more can cope and be successful in the job.


Working as a correctional officer obviously requires you to work near and around prisoners and inmates who have committed various levels of crimes. Not only must you be on guard for your own personal safety while on duty, but you must also protect the lives of inmates when the need arises, such as in the case of breaking up prison fights, riots, or otherwise. type of disturbances.

With all things, proper job training and knowledge of the environment you will be working in is essential to your success. The cons listed above can be daunting, but they are manageable and can be dealt with as you get more involved and seek more information.

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