How to Become a Correctional Officer in Texas?

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice supervises more than 100 prisons throughout the State and has nearly 25,000 Correctional Officers employed. If you want to become a Correctional Officer in Texas and enjoy the benefits, promotion opportunities and stability that come with this job, you need to continue reading the following guide. With so many prisons and correctional facilities all over the state, you might even have a good chance of working in the area of your choosing.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons also operates several facilities in the state, creating a perfect employment opportunity for those who want to work at the federal level.

Before you can apply for Correctional Officer positions in Texas however, you will need to meet a series of requirements and clear a number of tests and background checks. Let’s take a look at the whole process.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Texas
How to Become a Correctional Officer in Texas

Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Texas

The first thing you will need to do is to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for becoming a correctional officer in the State.

  • You must be a US citizen, or an alien who is authorized to work in the US
  • You ought to be at least 18 years of age
  • You should not be on active duty in the military, unless you are on terminal leave
  • You should have a High School Diploma from an accredited institution or a GED
  • You should not have been discharged from the military in dishonorable conditions
  • You should not have been convicted of a felony, a drug-related offense or any offense involving domestic abuse
  • You should not have a Class A misdemeanor conviction in the past 10 years or a Class B misdemeanor in the past 5 years
  • You must not be on probation for any crime and should not have any pending charges or warrants
  • You must have the ability to perform the integral functions of a Correctional Officer – details for this are available on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website

Steps to Become a Correctional Officer in Texas

Once you are sure you meet all the minimum qualification requirements set forth by the State of Texas, you can begin your application procedure. You will be required to submit an application, along with an employment application supplement and a statement of availability. All the relevant forms for these are available on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website.

After you have filled out the forms, you need to schedule a screening appointment at any of Texas 45 listed locations for the purpose. This will be followed by the actual hiring process.

Note: Make sure you bring printouts of the complete application package with you for the appointment.

Step 1: Clear the Pre-Employment Test:

This test would consist of a 100 questions which will test the memory and observational skills of the candidates, along with their ability in terms of situational and deductive reasoning, basic math and reading comprehension. The test will take a total of 20 minutes to complete and passing this is mandatory if you want to proceed with the remaining hiring process. You can view sample tests on the TDCJ website. Military veterans and college graduates from a university or college in Texas are exempt from appearing for this test.

Step 2: Clear the Drug Test:

All candidates are required to pass the drug screening test by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Step 3: Pass the Physical Agility Test:

Since being a Correctional Officer requires candidates to be in good physical shape, they need to pass the TDCJ Physical Agility Test before final selection. The test would consist of the following components:

Exercise Standard Points
Push-Ups As many as possible in 1 minute 1 point per push-up
45-lb Weight Carry 30 yards in 1 minute 2 points for every step:

Picking up the weight.

Carrying it for 15 yards.

Placing the weight on the floor.

Picking it up again.

Carrying it for another 15 yards.

Sit-ups As many as possible in 1 minute 1 point per sit-up
Deep Squats As many as possible in 1 minute 1 point per squat
Ladder Climbing Up and Down for 5 minutes 4 points for each up and down cycle
Quarter-mile run/walk Complete within 5.5 minutes 3:00 minutes or less: 25 points

3:01 to 4:00 minutes: 20 points

4:01 to 4:30 minutes: 15 points

4:31 to 5:00 minutes: 10 points

5:01 to 5:30 minutes: 5 points

To pass this test, you must get at least 75 points. If you are unable to perform a particular task, you can still gain points by performing additional push-ups, deep squats or sit-ups.

Training for Correctional Officers in Texas

Once you have been recruited as a Correctional Officer by the State of Texas, you will undergo a training session. Bear in mind, that at this point, you will be an employee of the state and will be paid accordingly. The training requirements would be as follows:

Federal Bureau of Prisons

If you plan on working in a federal correctional facility, you will need to complete 200 hours of training prior to your employment. The first 80 hours are the orientation and the remaining 120 hours would be the instruction in self-defense, firearms and policies. Federal officers are required to get 16-40 hours of training every year.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

New recruits are required to complete 40 hours of training before their service at one of the six Correctional Training Academies in Texas.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Correctional Officer in Texas?

The length of time is hard to predict. It depends on the needs of the agency in the area where you intend to work, the number of applicants trying to apply for that area, the status of the application filed, how quickly references respond to calls for background checks and so on.

How Much does a Correctional Officer Make in Texas?

According to data by O*NET OnLine, the median income of Correctional Officers in Texas was $41,200 for the year 2017. According to data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the State of Texas has the highest employment of Correctional Officers, with 48,600 officers currently in the work force.