Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
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Correctional Officers and Jailers
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Overview
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 are law enforcement officers who maintain safety and order in courtrooms.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for correctional officers and jailers are expected to shrink by 8%, and should have about 31,300 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of autmoation for ${title} is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Workforce size
Correctional officers and jailers, with 450,000 workers, form a larger workforce than 90% of careers.
Education
Only 17% of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
This is near the middle of all careeers' percentages of bachelor's holders.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 56% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for correctional officers and jailers. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most correctional officers and jailers.
This job's median $44KAll jobs' median $39K$43K$38K20142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 27% of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers -- that's a smaller percentage than 56% of other jobs.
Gender of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers, the median men's salary was 20% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 29% of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers are minority, and 6% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (6%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Correctional Officers and Jailers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 78% of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers, and 84% have company-sponsored health insurance (11% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of correctional officers and jailers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (99%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (87%)
  • Deal With Physically Aggressive People (83%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (77%)
  • Consequence of Error (76%)
  • Time Pressure (75%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (64%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (44%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers, which combines the data for 2 careers, including correctional officers and jailers. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data is classified by SOC specialty, and excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for correctional officers and jailers, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for correctional officers and jailers compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for correctional officers and jailers (BLS Salary Data)
$44K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$44K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. Additionally, we only have ACS survey data for the larger career category and not for the specialty level. We first show the full salary distribution for all bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers (ACS Salary Data)
$44K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$44K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where correctional officers and jailers work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers (ACS)
Private for-profit (0.4%)
Private not-for-profit (0.0%)
Local government (39.1%)
State government (52.5%)
Federal government (8.1%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.0%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.0%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers, which combines the 2 specialties for this career.
$44K$51K$43K$43K$36K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of correctional officers and jailers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty correctional officers and jailers, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$44K$58K$45K$39K$44K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$37K$51K$53K$52K$48K$30K$47K$45K$43K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
020K40K60KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers and gender

With 27% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 56% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
27%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
Men (73%)
Women (27%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%, and the difference for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers tops that, with the median salary for men 20% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$39K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 60% of other jobs.

20%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers than for 86% of other careers. While this career employs many minorities, it employs a relatively small number of foreign-born people.

Race/origin of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
White (68% )
Black (23% )
Other (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
Asian (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
29%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
6%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$40K$40K$45K$46K$46K$49K$53K$58K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KAmerican IndianBlackWhiteOtherMultiracialHispanicAsianPacific Islander
Distribution: Salaries for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers by nativity
$43K$50K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by correctional officers and jailers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), correctional officers and jailers typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers.

Education attained by bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for correctional officers and jailers

Correctional officers and bailiffs must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

For employment in federal prisons, the Federal Bureau of Prisons requires entry-level correctional officers to have at least a bachelor’s degree or 1 to 3 years of full-time experience in a field providing counseling, assistance, or supervision to individuals.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers? Below we see the distribution of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$38K$40K$44K$47K$48K$49K$55K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KNone (1%)High School (31%)Some College (37%)Associate's Degree (14%)Bachelor's Degree (15%)Master's Degree (2%)Professional Deg/Doct (0%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Corrections
4,671
Specialized Study in Corrections and Criminal Justice
3,485
Juvenile Corrections
143
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers

What jobs will most bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailersPolice officersFirst-Line Supervisors of Correctional OfficersSecurity Guards and Gaming Surveillance OfficersManagers (specialized areas)Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 4 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers as well as 1% of respondents after working as bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
159,200
$0$200K$29K
Police officers
49,900
$0$200K$62K
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
8,300
$0$200K$48K
First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers
2,500
$0$200K$54K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
159,200
$0$200K$29K
2.9%
Police officers
49,900
$0$200K$62K
5.4%
Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
32,700
$0$200K$44K
59.0%
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
8,300
$0$200K$48K
2.3%
First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers
2,500
$0$200K$54K
3.2%
No occupation
6.9%
Read about correctional officers and jailers
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Correctional officers typically do the following:

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

Bailiffs typically do the following:

  • Ensure the security of the courtroom
  • Enforce courtroom rules
  • Follow court procedures
  • Escort judges, jurors, witnesses, and prisoners
  • Handle evidence and court documents

Inside the prison or jail, correctional officers enforce rules and regulations. They maintain security by preventing disturbances, assaults, and escapes, and by inspecting facilities. They check cells and other areas for unsanitary conditions, contraband, signs of a security breach (such as tampering with window bars and doors), and other rule violations. 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 to courtrooms, medical facilities, and other destinations.

Bailiffs’ specific duties vary by court, but their primary duty is to maintain order and security in courts of law. They enforce courtroom procedures that protect the integrity of the legal process. For example, they ensure that attorneys and witnesses do not influence juries outside of the courtroom, and they also may isolate juries from the public in some circumstances. As a neutral party, they may handle evidence during court hearings to ensure that only permitted evidence is displayed.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of correctional officers and jailers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Decisionmaking skills
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.
Detail oriented
Correctional officers and bailiffs follow and enforce strict procedures in correctional facilities and courts to ensure everyone’s safety.
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.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for correctional officers and jailers
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 56% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for correctional officers and jailers. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $44KAll jobs' median $39K$44K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for correctional officers and jailers are anticipated to shrink by 8%. over the next decade; 90% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for correctional officers and jailers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300200,000400,000600,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most correctional officers and jailers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as correctional officers and jailers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Correctional Officers and Jailers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.02.04.06.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where correctional officers and jailers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Median salary ratio: Correctional Officers and Jailers to all workers (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which correctional officers and jailers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
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Knowledge
Physical Abilities
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