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Jailer Careers

What Does a Jailer Do

Correctional officers are responsible for overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. Bailiffs, also known as marshals or court officers, are law enforcement officers who maintain safety and order in courtrooms. Their duties, which vary by location, include enforcing courtroom rules, assisting judges, guarding juries, delivering court documents, and providing general security for courthouses.

Duties

Correctional officers typically do the following:

  • Enforce rules and keep order within jails or prisons
  • Supervise activities of inmates
  • Aid in rehabilitation and counseling of prisoners
  • Inspect facilities to ensure that they meet security and safety standards
  • Search inmates for contraband items
  • Report on inmate conduct 

Inside the prison or jail, correctional officers enforce rules and regulations. They maintain security by preventing disturbances, assaults, and escapes. They must also ensure the whereabouts of all inmates at all times.

On any given day, officers search inmates for contraband, such as weapons and drugs, settle disputes between inmates, and enforce discipline. Officers enforce regulations through effective communication and the use of progressive sanctions, which involve punishments such as loss of privileges. Sanctions are progressive in that they start out small for a lesser offense but become more severe for more serious offenses. In addition, officers may aid inmates in their rehabilitation by scheduling work assignments, counseling, and educational opportunities.

Correctional officers inspect facilities periodically. They check cells and other areas for unsanitary conditions, contraband, signs of a security breach (such as tampering with window bars and doors), and any other evidence of violations of the rules. Officers also inspect mail and visitors for prohibited items. They write reports and fill out daily logs detailing inmate behavior and anything else of note that occurred during their shift.

Correctional officers may have to restrain inmates in handcuffs and leg irons to escort them safely to and from cells and to see authorized visitors. Officers also escort prisoners between the institution where they are held and courtrooms, medical facilities, and other destinations.

Correctional officers must report any inmate who violates the rules. If a crime is committed within their institution or an inmate escapes, they help law enforcement authorities investigate and search for the escapee.

Because prisoners typically stay longer in state and federal prisons than in county jails, correctional officers in prisons get to know the people in their charge.

Correctional officers have no law enforcement responsibilities outside their place of work.

How To Become a Jailer

Correctional officers go through a training academy and then are assigned to a facility for on-the-job training. Although qualifications vary by state and agency, all agencies require a high school diploma. Bailiff positions also require a high school diploma. Federal agencies may also require some college education or previous work experience.

Correctional officers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and must have no felony convictions. Many agencies establish a minimum age for correctional officers, which is typically between 18 and 21 years of age. New applicants for federal corrections positions must be appointed before they are 37 years old.

Education

Correctional officers must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some state and local corrections agencies require some college credits. Law enforcement or military experience may be substituted for this requirement.

For employment in federal prisons, the Federal Bureau of Prisons requires entry-level correctional officers to have at least a bachelor's degree; 3 years of full-time experience in a field providing counseling, assistance, or supervision to individuals; or a combination of the two.

Training

Federal, state, and some local departments of corrections, as well as some private corrections companies, provide training for correctional officers based on guidelines established by the American Correctional Association (ACA). Some states have regional training academies that are available to local agencies. Academy trainees receive instruction in a number of subjects, including self-defense, institutional policies, regulations, operations, and custody and security procedures. Although most correctional officers do not carry firearms when on duty, they may receive training in the use of firearms.

After formal academy instruction, state and local correctional agencies provide on-the-job training, including training on legal restrictions and interpersonal relations. Trainees typically receive several weeks or months of training under the supervision of an experienced officer. However, on-the-job training varies widely from agency to agency.

New federal correctional officers must undergo 200 hours of formal training within the first year of employment, including 120 hours of specialized training at the Federal Bureau of Prisons residential training center. Experienced officers receive annual inservice training to keep up to date on new developments and procedures.

Correctional officers who are members of prison tactical response teams are trained to respond to disturbances, riots, hostage situations, and other dangerous circumstances. Team members practice disarming prisoners, wielding weapons, and using other tactics to maintain the safety of inmates and officers alike.

Bailiffs must undergo training in court procedures and the proper way to place someone under arrest, and they may also learn how to use a firearm.

Other Experience

Military experience is viewed as excellent preparation for becoming a correctional officer.

Advancement

Qualified officers may advance to the position of correctional sergeant. Sergeants are responsible for maintaining security and directing the activities of other officers. Qualified officers may also be promoted to supervisory or administrative positions, including warden. Officers sometimes transfer to related jobs, such as probation officers and correctional treatment specialists.

Important Qualities

Good judgment. Correctional officers and bailiffs must use both their training and common sense to quickly determine the best course of action and to take the necessary steps to achieve a desired outcome.

Interpersonal skills. Correctional officers and bailiffs must be able to interact and communicate effectively with inmates and others to maintain order in correctional facilities and courtrooms.

Negotiating skills. Correctional officers must be able to assist others in resolving differences in order to avoid conflict.

Physical strength. Correctional officers and bailiffs must have the strength to physically subdue inmates or others.

Self-discipline. Correctional officers must control their emotions when confronted with hostile situations.

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Average Salary
$34,525
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-7%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,276
Job Openings

Jailer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Jailer

Cashier
15.9 %

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Jailer Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Jailer

Jailers in America make an average salary of $34,525 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $45,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Salary
$34,525
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Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Jailer
Jailer
Trempealeau County
Trempealeau County
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$44,05703/31/2021
$44,057
Civilian Jailers (3)
Civilian Jailers (3)
Woodbury County
Woodbury County
03/09/2021
03/09/2021
$42,70003/09/2021
$42,700
Jailer
Jailer
Trempealeau County
Trempealeau County
12/31/2020
12/31/2020
$44,05712/31/2020
$44,057
Jailer
Jailer
City of Killeen
City of Killeen
05/20/2020
05/20/2020
$34,43605/20/2020
$34,436
Civilian Jailer
Civilian Jailer
Woodbury County Courthouse
Woodbury County Courthouse
03/31/2020
03/31/2020
$41,44803/31/2020
$41,448

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Jailer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Jailer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Jailer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Jailer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Jailer Demographics

Gender

male

54.7 %

female

42.9 %

unknown

2.5 %

Ethnicity

White

60.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

18.7 %

Black or African American

15.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

85.4 %

German

7.3 %

Cherokee

4.9 %
See More Demographics

Jailer Education

Majors

Degrees

Certificate

30.8 %

High School Diploma

29.2 %

Associate

16.9 %
See More Education Info

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Top Skills For a Jailer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 36.8% of jailers listed inmate population on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and interpersonal skills are important as well.

  • Inmate Population, 36.8%
  • Safety Rules, 17.6%
  • CPR, 4.8%
  • County Jail, 3.9%
  • Emergency, 3.7%
  • Other Skills, 33.2%
  • See All Jailer Skills

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Top Jailer Employers

1. Midland County News
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$38,766
Jailers Hired: 
13+
2. Harrison Central High School
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$27,288
Jailers Hired: 
12+
3. Polk County Sheriff's Office
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$74,505
Jailers Hired: 
11+
4. Jackson County
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$39,649
Jailers Hired: 
10+
5. McLennan County Sheriff's Office
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$44,225
Jailers Hired: 
9+
6. Smith County
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$38,493
Jailers Hired: 
9+

Jailer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020