Government & Defence

Correctional or Prison Officer

Correctional or prison officers are in charge of and supervise prisoners. They also maintain the welfare and rehabilitation of inmates.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Correctional or Prison Officer do?

Correctional or prison officers are in charge of and supervise prisoners. They also maintain the welfare and rehabilitation of inmates.


Work activities

As a correctional officer, you would:

  • monitor prisoners' behaviour
  • keep track of inmates at all times
  • patrol your assigned areas and report any issues to superiors
  • inspect all security systems in cells or common areas to make sure they are secure
  • keep strict records of altercations, injuries or disturbances with prisoners
  • escort and security detail when inmates are travelling to court, hospital or internally
  • maintain order with appropriate methods
  • do risk assessments of vulnerable or at-risk prisoners
  • be a positive role model for prisoners
  • work within your role to aid the rehabilitation of inmates.

Key skills and interests

To become a correctional officer, you would need:

  • confidence and assertiveness
  • resilience
  • good people skills
  • a respectful and calm manner
  • good problem solving and negotiating skills
  • cultural sensitivity
  • good communication skills
  • Australian citizenship or permanent residency.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As a correctional officer you would work on a shift system that covers 24 hours a day. You would work nights, weekends and holidays.


Working in a prison environment can be highly stressful and poses some potential personal risk.


How to become an Correctional or Prison Officer?

Entry Level Education

No formal qualifications are required for correctional officers, but usually a junior secondary school certificate or equivalent is required.

There are several stages to the interview process including literacy, numeracy and psychological tests, followed by a medical test and a National Police Check.

If successful, you will then complete a training course covering all aspects of the role.

Applicants need to hold a valid drivers’ licence and a Provide First Aid Certificate.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Overall employment of correctional officers is expected to grow moderately. Employment of correctional officers is dependent on the overall prison population, government funding, and the number of correctional centres.

Opportunities may exist to work in the rehabilitation area with a greater emphasis on programs designed to rehabilitate offenders and limit their risk of repeated offenses. Because this is a high turnover occupation, there will continue to be prospects for employment.


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