Correctional officers supervise individuals who are arrested or convicted of crimes and sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 5 percent growth in the field from 2010 to 2020. While the job of a correctional officer is sometimes dangerous and stressful, it can be a rewarding experience for those looking for a career in law enforcement. If you are interested in interviewing for a correctional officer job, knowing some things ahead of time can help you ace the interview.
Correctional officers need a high school diploma or GED. Some also require a college education though experience in the military or law enforcement may suffice. Federal prisons require a bachelor's degree and three years experience in a field providing counseling, assistance or supervision to individuals. Check the requirements for the facilities you are interested in to make sure you possess the appropriate skills.
Training is provided by federal, state and some local corrections departments and is based on guidelines established by the American Correctional Association. Some states also have training academies, which cover subjects such as institutional policies, regulations, operations, and custody and security procedures.
Corrections jobs require critical thinking skills, good judgment and strong communication and negotiation skills. The job also requires physical strength and self-discipline.
Research the jail or prison facility where you will interview. You can often find information about a prison facility and the offenders who are supervised there by visiting the state's Department of Corrections website. This not only gives you valuable information about the facility, but the insight can help you to speak confidently and give strong answers to the interviewer's questions.
Memorize the details of the job description. Many interviewers like to ask applicants what they know about the jobs they are applying for and how they think they would make a good fit. Knowing how your experience and qualifications match the job description can help you give strong confident answers to these types of questions.
Dress professionally. Since correctional officers wear uniforms, choose a wardrobe that makes your appearance look both polished and coordinated.
- Prepare a few questions for your interviewer. Since interviewers generally ask applicants if they have any questions at the end of the interview, it can help to have some questions in your mind ahead of time. This keeps you from becoming nervous and asking inappropriate questions, such as how soon you can take a vacation or how long people usually work at the prison facility before they get promoted.
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