How to Become a Correctional Officer Trainer

Maybe you enjoy teaching and have a hunger to for justice, you may have a promising future as a correctional officer trainer. In this role you would provide occupational and continued-education training to correctional officers, usually in a classroom with occasional hands-on training. Correctional officer trainers help set the tone for professionalism in incarceration institutions.

Job Requirements
High School or GED
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, correctional officers are required to have, at minimum, a high school diploma, General Education Development certificate or equivalent. However, many facilities require some college coursework, as well as on-the-job training arranged through a police academy. Examples of this training include:

  • POST (Police Officer Safety and Training) courses
  • Weapons training
  • Techniques for controlling a suspect
  • Legal training on inmate’s rights, arrest procedures and evidence handling
  • Hand-to-hand techniques to maintain security of the facility
  • Cell searches and prison patrols
  • Transportation of inmates for medical care, legal hearings and funerals
  • Working alongside prison gangs
  • Working with crime victims, including psychological first aid

The facility may have additional requirements for their applicants, depending on the security level and inmate population. These requirements are usually fairly basic, and may include some of the following:

  • The applicant must have reached the age of 18 to 21, depending on the government agency regulating the facility.
  • Applicants may not have a felony on record. Some systems will extend this to certain misdemeanors as well.
  • Many facilities require new applicants take a drug test, or may require regular testing while in their employment.
  • A medical exam by a licensed professional.
  • Having a valid driver’s license with the appropriate endorsements, if needed, for inmate transfers.
  • Filing applicant fingerprints with the regulating agency.
  • Provide references who can verify the applicant is of good, moral character.

Education Requirements

To become a correctional officer trainer, in addition to the above, you may need:

  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Criminal Justice.
  • Experience within the system is considered vital as an instructor, as it gives you opportunities to pass real-world information to your students. Two to three years is considered minimum.
  • Clear communication skills are essential, both in writing and public speaking.
  • The ability to teach in different fashions to convey the information to individuals with different learning styles.
  • Continuing education allows you to keep up with the newest technologies, legal precedents and handling procedures in the classroom.

Education is a vital part of your career as a correctional officer trainer. Some amount of military experience can be transferred into some certificate or degree programs, but it is essential to choose the right program.

Criminal Justice programs can include areas of emphasis including security, administration, institutional health care and other specialties. A Bachelor’s degree will usually include training in the history and ideals of the criminal justice system in the United States, the agencies that make up that system and institutional procedures to maintain a high level of security.

Your educational experience will also cover the problems and difficulties faced in the institutional model, the types and degrees of criminal offenses, the ideas of criminal culpability and how criminal law has developed over the years.

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