How to Become a Correctional Officer in Ohio?

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is in-charge of supervising the entire corrections and state prisons that operate within the state. With more than 50,000 inmates in 28 correctional institutions in the state, the need for correctional officers is not expected to decrease any time soon. More than 12,000 personnel are already working in the prisons in Ohio, with many more needed. So if you are planning to become a correctional officer in Ohio, now would be a great time to consider applying.

The following guide defines the minimum requirements, steps and training needs to become a correctional officer in Ohio, along with salary and career information.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Ohio
How to Become a Correctional Officer in Ohio

Minimum Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Ohio

Before you begin the actual application process, it is important that you fulfill the minimum requirements set by the state. This eligibility criterion is a general overview, and is subject to variation from county to county. So make sure you check your local requirements as well.

  • Candidate must be a US Citizen
  • Candidate should be at least 21 years of age
  • Candidate should be of a sound moral and ethical character
  • Candidate should possess at least a high school diploma or GED
  • Candidate needs to have a valid driver’s license
  • Candidate should be a resident of the state of Ohio

Steps to Become a Correctional Officer in Ohio

Once you have ensured that you satisfy the basic criteria for eligibility set by the State of Ohio, you may move on with the hiring process.

Pass a Physical Exam:

Since the job of a correctional officer can be quite rigorous and demanding, it is important that the applicant is in a good physical shape before applying. To prepare for this test, you may begin with some basic exercises at home, including push-ups, sit-ups and running. The physical exam would test your stamina and the ability to perform under pressure.

Clear a Psychological Test:

This test would determine your mental capabilities and stability, especially in accordance with a job as tough as that of a Correctional Officer. You will be asked questions and your responses will be judged by a licensed psychologist.

Clear a Drug Screening Test:

You must clear this test according to the required standards. If you fail to do so, it might result in a disqualification from the entire hiring process.

Pass the Background Check:

All applicants will be required to go through a thorough background test. For this, the applicant will have to fill out a personal history form and will have to submit relevant documents such as driver’s license, birth certificate, proof of residence, Social Security details, past employment details, financial records and any criminal charges. All of these documents will be checked and the department might even get in touch with some of your provided references.

Correctional Officer Training in Ohio

The Corrections Training Academy is responsible for training new recruits according to the standards set by the state. The curriculum for this training is compiled with help from the Training Advisory Council and the National Institute of Corrections, among others. A well-trained team of professionals carry out the training sessions aiming to provide individuals with the best professional development options.

The New Employee Orientation (NEO) Training helps introduce the new correctional employees to the rest of the staff and the field of corrections. New recruits are introduced to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and how it operates at various levels. NEO provides the standard centralized training to new employees before they can begin performing their duties independently. The core curriculum is made up of 120 hours of training, which kicks off with two days of orientation at the work site. The remaining 104 hours are completed at the Corrections Training Academy.

As a new hire, you will first receive your unarmed self-defense certification before graduating from NEO. Corrections Officers are required to complete 160 hours of training, in addition to obtaining a firearms certification, an eight hour long transportation and restraint training session and a CPR certification.

All employees must also complete a 40-hour orientation before they begin NEO. On-the-job training must also be completed by all employees once the NEO training has been successfully completed.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Corrections Officer in Ohio?

The amount of time taken can depend on the number of applicants, the level of job you are applying for (federal or state) and the availability of vacancies in the department. For positions in federal prisons, you might be required to get a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related subject, so that might take longer. For state level positions, you are required to complete a high school diploma, followed by the hiring process. The hiring process itself can take anywhere between a few weeks and a couple of months. So be prepared for a considerable time investment.

How Much Does a Correctional Officer Make in Ohio?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Correctional Officers in Ohio made an annual mean wage of $43,000 as of May 2017. The number of people working as Correctional Officers in the state amounted up to 13,170 in 2016. Even though the growth in this field in Ohio seems to be slower than some other states, the career continues to be a highly popular choice for those who want to get into law enforcement.