How to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama?

The demand for Correctional Officers in Alabama is high – thanks to the rising prison population due to longer prison sentences. The state has the nation’s most crowded prison network, housing 24,000 inmates in prisons meant for 13,318, according to a New York Times report published in 2015. By mid-2018, the Alabama prisons system was operating with about half the number of Correctional Officers actually needed according to the demand. With such serious conditions, it comes as no surprise that the State of Alabama is always on the lookout for new correctional officers and jailers.
If you want to become a part of the law enforcement system in Alabama, the following information on how to become a correctional officer in Alabama would be of great help to you.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama
How to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama

Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama

Aspiring Correctional Officers in Alabama need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma or a GED
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Must not have a felony conviction
  • Should not have a domestic violence conviction
  • Should be honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces (if in the military)
  • Must be drug free

If you intend to work in a federal prison, the requirements would be slightly different. In addition to being a US citizen, you would be required to fulfill the following:
Complete a bachelor’s degree or have three years of experience in any of the following areas:

  • Child care
  • Teaching
  • Counseling
  • Emergency Response
  • Sales
  • Management

The age limit requirement also changes at the federal level, with candidates required to be at least 20 or at maximum 37 years of age. You must also not have any history of poor credit or financial insolvency.

Steps to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama

Once you have fulfilled the above requirements, you may begin the process for applying to become a correctional officer in Alabama.

Step 1: Submit the Application Form

The application would be available on the State of Alabama website. It should be completed and sent to the State of Alabama Personnel Department. Applicants will be notified of the details for the onsite test by the Alabama Department of Corrections Personnel Division.

Step 2: Clear the Written Exam

The testing dates will all fall on a Friday and applicants will be required to come in by 7AM to take part. The scores of this test will be graded and all the applicants will then be placed on a ranking list.

Step 3: Pass the Physical Ability Exam

The physical exam will check your stamina, since the job of a correctional officer is typically quite strenuous. The test would include the following:

  • 1.5 miles run in 17 minutes and 28 seconds
  • 22 sit-ups in one minute
  • 19 push-ups in one minute
Step 4: Clear the Physical Agility Test

You will need to clear the following, as part of the physical agility test:

  • Performing trigger pulls for 30 seconds
  • Dragging a 165 lbs. dummy for a distance of 15 feet
  • Pushing a vehicle for a distance of 15 feet
  • Crawling through a window
  • Running an obstacle course
  • Traversing a balance beam
  • Climbing up and over a wooden wall or a chain link fence
Step 5: Clear the Medical Exam

This exam would check for any medical conditions you might have. Basic tests relating to blood pressure, hearing, urinalysis, vision and weight would be conducted and a complete checkup by an authorized physician might also follow.

Step 6: Clear the Drug Screening

To be employed as a law enforcement officer, you need to prove that you are clean and have no history of drug use/abuse.

Step 7: Complete a Correction Officer I pre-employment packet

This will require information about your background.

Step 8: Complete the Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama

You will need to complete twelve weeks of training and will need to clear all the academic, physical and regulatory requirements. The first week of training will take place at the facility assigned to you by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). The other eleven weeks will take place at the ADOC Training Academy in Selma. Cadets are required to live on the Academy premises from Sunday to Thursdays. Upon the successful completion of this training, you will be certified by the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (APOSTC).
Once you start, you will first complete a six month probationary period. You will also need to complete 32 hours of professional training every year once you are hired as a Correctional Officer in Alabama.
The requirements for correctional officers in federal prisons would be slightly different.

How much does a correctional officer make in Alabama?

According to the 2017 data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Correctional Officers and Jailers made an annual mean wage of $35,370 in Alabama. This is relatively lower than the national average. However, the recent pay hike for Alabama Correctional Officers in the 2018 budget seems to be a positive sign. The state officials now understand the challenges facing the prison sector in the state and are willing to increase salary levels to attract a higher number of applicants.
If you are interested in this field, and think you have what it takes to become a correctional officer in Alabama, now would be a good time to apply.