How to Become a Correctional Officer in Indiana?
Correctional Officers are responsible for the supervision of inmates and offenders in a controlled and safe correctional environment. They advise and instruct prisoners about their behaviors and work towards having a positive effect on their lives.
Becoming a correctional officer requires extensive training and education, due to the tough nature of the job. If you want to become a correctional officer in Indiana, the following information would be of use to you. This guide details the minimum requirements to apply for the position of a correctional officer in Indiana, the application and hiring process, training requirements and career outlook.
Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Indiana
Prior to beginning the application process for this job, it is advisable that you ensure that you meet the following basic requirements:
- Candidate must be at least 18 years old
- Candidate must be a US citizen
- Candidate must have a high school diploma or GED at least, which needs to be attached along with the application
- Candidate must hold a valid driver’s license, to be submitted along with the application
- All applicants need to pass a background check
- Candidate must not have any felony or domestic violence convictions
- Candidate must be in a good physical and mental health
Steps to Become a Correctional Officer in Indiana
To be able to apply for this position, you may need at least an associate degree in corrections, criminology, criminal justice or any relevant field. Three years of accredited college credits can also be used. If not a degree, you need to have a minimum of 3 years of full-time work experience. While college level education is not mandatory, it will brighten your employment prospects.
This step is very important and requires effort and time. You will need to fill out an extensive application form and submit your resume along with it. These documents will be used to determine whether you have the required skills to successfully perform the duties associated with the position of a corrections officer.
If you are able to clear the first two steps, you may be called for an interview. The time between the submission of your application and getting a call for the interview will depend on the number of applicants, and the extensiveness of your application. This could be a few weeks or even months. The interview will further assess your skills such as communication and interpersonal skills. It will also determine your moral and ethical standards and your ability to have a positive impact on the lives of people around you.
If you pass the interview stage, the next stage would have an extensive background check. This check would not only analyze all the documents you have submitted, but will also cross-check your credentials by contacting past employers and co-workers. The idea is to determine your behavior in a work environment and how you have performed in various work-related situations before. The background check will also go through your criminal, driving and financial records to check your credibility in all these matters. Since this is a very extensive check, you are advised to fill out the application forms with complete honesty. Any discrepancy may result in a disqualification from the hiring process.
To help you get an insight about how things work at correctional facilities in Indiana, you will be asked to take part in a job shadow. This on-the-job learning will help you familiarize yourself with the activities that take place at the facility and how they are handled by the staff. This step will help you gain valuable insight in decision making and will assist you in building confidence. You can also start building a rapport with other employees. You will be permitted only one job shadow in one year, so use it wisely to gain maximum benefit. The Job Shadowing Coach will be assigned by the Facility or Division Head and the training itself can last between 7.5 hours to 37.5 hours.
Upon the completion of job shadowing, and all the steps prior to it, you will be given your final offer letter.
Training for Correctional Officers in Indiana
The training phases for correctional officers is divided into two sections – 40 hours of training, beginning with 16 training modules that need to be completed; two days of classroom training at the assigned facility. You will be given knowledge about various administrative topics, facility related topics and human resource topics. Both phases will be tested upon completion.
Following this, new recruits will take part in 18 days of training at one of the Correctional Pre-service Academies.
How Much Does a Correctional Officer Make in Indiana?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for Correctional Officers in Indiana as of May 2017 was $34,060. Even though the employment levels are expected to go down by 8% in the upcoming years till 2026, new job opportunities continue to be created as older officers retire. The competition for the remaining positions will be stiff.