Correctional Officers and Jailers
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Overview
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Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institutions in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, prison, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.
Titles for this career often contain these words
OfficerCorrectionsGuardCorrectionalDetentionDeputyJailerJailServicesCottageGateCommunityLieutenantSergeantImmigrationMatronPoliceAttendantPrisonBookingCertifiedCivilianConvictCorrectionCaptainMonitorCorporalCOSpecialistMasterParentSupervisorCustodialCustodyAssistantGangPusherWatchWatchmanTrainingJailkeeperJailorJuvenilePatrolConductorPenalProtectiveReformatorySecurityStationTurnkeyYouth
Education
Only 17% of correctional officers and jailers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by correctional officers and jailers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer correctional officers and jailers have bachelor's degrees than 62% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Correctional officers and jailers, with 434,300 workers, form a larger workforce than 90% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for correctional officers and jailers are expected to shrink by 7%, and should have about 33,800 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of automation for correctional officers and jailers is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for correctional officers and jailers compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most correctional officers and jailers earn.
$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Gender
Women account for 27% of correctional officers and jailers -- that's a smaller percentage than 59% of other jobs.
Gender of 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 correctional officers and jailers, the median men's salary was 20% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 30% of correctional officers and jailers are minority, and 6% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of 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. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Context: workers are union members
Worker concerns
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:
Salary and diversity
What do correctional officers and jailers earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for correctional officers and jailers (BLS Salary Data)
$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for correctional officers and jailers (ACS Salary Data)
$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $46KAll jobs' median $45K$48K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire correctional officers and jailers.
Employers of Correctional Officers and Jailers (ACS)
Private for-profit (0.4%)
Private not-for-profit (0.0%)
Local government (38.7%)
State government (52.8%)
Federal government (8.0%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.0%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.0%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of 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.
$45K$44K$37K$51K$44K$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.
$45K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for correctional officers and jailers

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$53K$45K$48K$54K$31K$52K$38K$49K$47K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
020K40K60K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Correctional officers and jailers and gender

With 27% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 59% of careers.

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

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for correctional officers and jailers tops that, with the median salary for men 20% higher than the median salary for women.

$40K$48K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

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 all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Correctional officers and jailers have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 60% of other jobs.

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

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of correctional officers and jailers

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a higher percentage of minority 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 correctional officers and jailers
White (67% )
Black (24% )
Other (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
Asian (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
30%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
6%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for 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.

$41K$42K$46K$48K$48K$49K$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KBlackAmerican IndianWhiteHispanicMultiracialOtherAsian
Distribution: Salaries for correctional officers and jailers by nativity
$44K$52K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Correctional officers and jailers and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 3% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 89% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
3%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time correctional officers and jailers is shown following.

$15K$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
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 correctional officers and jailers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

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.

Education attained by correctional officers and jailers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for correctional officers and jailers? Below we see the distribution of correctional officers and jailers salaries based on the education attained.

$37K$41K$45K$48K$50K$52K$57K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KNone (1%)High School (32%)Some College (36%)Associate's/Cert. (14%)Bachelor's Degree (15%)Master's Degree (2%)Professional Degree (0%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

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.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Bachelor's
Graduate
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for correctional officers and jailers

What jobs will most 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 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 OfficersSchool bus monitors and protective service workersMiscellaneous community and social service specialists
Lateral job transitions for 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 5 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as correctional officers and jailers as well as 1% of respondents after working as 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.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for correctional officers and jailers: full listings

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

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Variation by state
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.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Correctional Officers and Jailers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.01.02.03.04.05.0
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 correctional officers and jailers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for 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.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Correctional Officers and Jailers (BLS)
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
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$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

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
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
Jobs that are similar by Interests with
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