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Working as a Prison Officer

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a prison officer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $23.23 an hour? That's $48,320 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -7% and produce -31,500 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Prison Officer Do

There are certain skills that many prison officers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed physical strength, interpersonal skills and detail oriented.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a prison officer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 52.0% of prison officers included prisoner identification, while 15.0% of resumes included correctional facility, and 8.0% of resumes included security checks. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the prison officer job title. But what industry to start with? Most prison officers actually find jobs in the government and finance industries.

How To Become a Prison Officer

If you're interested in becoming a prison officer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 5.9% of prison officers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.8% of prison officers have master's degrees. Even though some prison officers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a prison officer. When we researched the most common majors for a prison officer, we found that they most commonly earn diploma degrees or high school diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on prison officer resumes include master's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a prison officer. In fact, many prison officer jobs require experience in a role such as correction officer. Meanwhile, many prison officers also have previous career experience in roles such as security officer or officer.

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Average Salary$48,320
Job Growth Rate-7%

Prison Officer Jobs

Prison Officer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Prison Officer

7.0 %

Top Careers After Prison Officer

8.1 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Prison Officer Demographics



77.9 %


18.2 %


3.9 %



65.9 %

Black or African American

16.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

12.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


50.0 %


50.0 %
See More Demographics

Prison Officer Education


11.8 %
11.8 %



26.5 %

High School Diploma

23.5 %


20.6 %

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Prison Officer

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Top Prison Officer Employers

1. Federal Bureau of Prisons
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2. G4S Secure Solutions
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3. North Atlantic
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4. United States Marine
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5. Dynamic Enterprises
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6. Geo Group
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Recently Added Prison Officer Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020