A federal corrections officer works at a facility run by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP). These facilities provide work and other self-improvement activities to help offenders become law-abiding citizens, explains the FBP official website. Corrections officers working for the FBP have significantly higher salaries than the average for corrections officers in other types of employment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Federal corrections officers guard prisoners and maintain security measures to prevent fights and other disruptive episodes, as well as escapes. They enforce regulations of the facility and act as both supervisors and counselors of inmates, reports the FBP website. Correctional officers who work in receiving and discharge deal with all related paperwork, including legal documents.
Education and Training
According to the FBP, candidates for entry-level positions must have completed a four-year course of study in any field leading to a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, or possess a bachelor's degree, or have the equivalent of at least three years of full-time experience in certain activities. This experience can include providing guidance and direction, counseling, supervising or managing, teaching, responding to emergencies or selling products or services on commission. New federal corrections officers must complete 320 hours of training.
The average salary for all corrections officers as of May 2009 was $20.50 per hour, or $42,600 per year, according to the BLS. Average annual salaries in local government facilities were about $41,400 and in state government $43,700. The bottom 25 percent of all correctional officers earn less than $31,200 per year. Those working for the federal government, in contrast, were earning an average of $25.15 per hour, or $52,300 per year. Open job listings at the FBP show salaries from $43,000 to $64,000, and supervisory positions from $57,000 to $106,000.
Corrections officers receive health insurance, paid vacations and holidays and a company-matched retirement plan. They also receive uniforms or a clothing stipend to purchase uniforms. Federal corrections officers can take full retirement at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of employment with the Bureau, or at any age after they complete 25 years of service.