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Federal Bureau of Prisons

Correctional Officer

Job Series Number: 0007


At the Federal Bureau of Prisons, being a Correctional Officer goes beyond the uniform and law-enforcement benefits. You're building a rewarding career helping inmates on the inside succeed when they get back on the outside. Join our team.

Immediate openings in the North Central and Western regions:

  • Pay Levels GS-05, GS-06
  • Full and comprehensive benefits
  • Regular opportunities for advancement

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Basic Correctional Officer requirements:

  • Oral communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Writing
  • Organizational awareness
  • Managing human resources
  • Stress tolerance

For consideration at the GS-05 level:

To be considered at the GS-05 level, requires successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in any field leading to a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.


You must have at least 3 years of full-time general experience, one of which is equivalent to the GS-04 grade level, or one year of specialized experience. This experience must demonstrate the aptitude for acquiring knowledge and skills required for correctional work. It also must demonstrate the possession of personal attributes important to the effectiveness of correctional officers:

  • Ability to meet and deal with people of differing backgrounds and behavioral patterns
  • Ability to be persuasive in selling and influencing ideas
  • Ability to lead, supervise, and instruct others
  • Sympathetic attitude towards the welfare of others
  • Ability to reason and think out practical solutions to problems
  • Ability to make decisions and act quickly—even under stress
  • Poise and self-confidence, and ability to remain calm during emergencies

This general experience may have been gained in work such as:

  • Social case work in a welfare agency or counseling in other types of organizations
  • Classroom teaching or instructing
  • Responsible rehabilitation work, e.g., in an alcoholic rehabilitation program
  • Supervising planned recreational activities or active participation in community action programs
  • Management or supervisory work in a business or other organization that included directing the work flow and/or direct supervision of others
  • Persuasive sales work or commissioned sales work, other than taking and filing orders as in over the-counter sales

For consideration at the GS-06 level:

9 semester hours or 14 quarter hours of graduate study, from an accredited school, in:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminology
  • Social Science
  • Another field of study related to the position such as law


You need 1 year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty to the next-lower grade level in Federal service. This experience must have equipped you with the particular knowledge and skills to perform the duties of the position:

  • Ensuring individuals confined in a correctional or mental health facility adhere to rules
  • Responding to domestic disturbances
  • Apprehending and arresting individuals violating the law

Examples of occupations where specialized experience may have been gained:

  • Correctional Officer
  • Detention Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • State Trooper
  • Sheriff
  • Park Ranger
  • Deputy Sheriff supervising inmates in a jail
  • Mental Health Residential Facility Worker

Some examples of this qualifying experience are:

  • Providing supervision, care and security of inmates plus guidance to lower-graded Correctional Officers
  • Supervising inmates in living quarters and instructing them in housekeeping and sanitation
  • Working as a Police Officer responding to domestic disturbances and issuing citations
  • Experience in investigating crime scenes as a State Trooper
  • Experience as a Mental Health Worker in a mental health lockdown facility.
  • Enforcing rules and regulations governing facility security, inmate accountability and inmate conduct to ensure judicial sanctions are carried out and inmates remain in custody

Age Requirement

At time of appointment, applicants must not have reached their 37th birthday unless they previously served in a Federal civilian law enforcement position covered by special civil service retirement provisions, including early or mandatory retirement. Qualified Preference Eligible Veterans may be exempt from meeting the maximum entry age of 37.

Apply for Correctional Officer positions now at


Correctional Officers are vital at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. To fill these high-priority positions, we look for qualified individuals year-round and nationwide. We have immediate openings at facilities in multiple locations. To begin your career at the BOP, follow these steps:�

  1. Apply now for a Correctional Officer position at
  2. Select two locations from facilities with immediate openings:
    • FCI Victorville, CA
    • MDC Los Angeles, CA
    • USP Atwater, CA
    • FCI Mendota, CA
    • FCI Lompoc, CA
    • USP Florence Admax, CO
    • FCI Englewood, CO
    • USP Thomson, IL
    • FCI Terre Haute, IN
    • FCI Oxford, WI
  3. If your application is accepted, you will be added to a qualified candidates register.
  4. When a position is available at one of your selected facilities, you will be considered for it. If selected, we will contact you.

Hints and tips.
How do you best complete your application? Check out the application process for helpful tips.

Apply for Correctional Officer positions now at


The Federal Bureau of Prisons is a unique agency in the United States Department of Justice. As a Correctional Officer here, your performance makes a real difference every day. And in our transparent promotion structure, that performance gets noticed. There are definitely benefits to working in prison:

  • Supportive, safe, and secure working environment
  • Opportunity for career growth and advancement
  • Competitive federal government salary and benefits
  • Comprehensive healthcare and law-enforcement retirement
  • Potential for recruitment incentives
  • Flexible work options and facility locations to choose from

See what's motivated more than 37,000 people to join us

This position has non-standard application procedures.

You can find out how to apply to a specific opportunity by reviewing the "Qualifications" tab.


Federal Bureau of Prisons


Want to create change? Do it from the inside out. Work at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Here you'll make a real difference. As a Federal Bureau of Prisons Nurse, Correctional Officer, or Teacher, you will be a mentor and inspiration, too. You'll change the hearts, minds, and lives of inmates in our care. All while you build a rewarding career as part of our team. Join us here on the inside.

For more information please call our BOP Career Connection Hotline 1-866-307-1045.

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Correctional Officer (Senior Officer Specialist)



Why work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons?

You can have a meaningful career with an agency that truly values a diverse workforce. You will find a diverse workforce employed from entry level jobs to senior management positions. We protect public safety by ensuring federal offenders serve their sentences of imprisonment in facilities that are safe, humane, and provide reentry programming. Employees at correctional facilities perform correctional work regardless of their specific occupation.

Learn more about this agency


Senior Officer Specialist provides supervision, care and correctional treatment of inmates and guidance to lower-graded Correctional Officers. Senior Officer Specialist is concerned with maintenance of institution security contributing to the health and welfare of the inmates and the promotion of good public relations. Enforces rules and regulations governing facility security, inmate accountability and inmate conduct to ensure judicial sanctions are carried out and inmates remain in custody. From time to time, may be authorized to carry firearms and to use physical force, including deadly force, to maintain control of inmates.

During institution emergencies or other periods of heavy workload or limited staff, may be required to work long and irregular hours, unusual shifts, Sundays, holidays and unexpected overtime. Senior Officer Specialist must be flexible and have a broad knowledge base to use own initiative in the resolution of problem situations.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Travel may be required for training and/or work related issues.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • U.S. Citizenship is Required.
  • See Special Conditions of Employment Section.

The Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP)provides eligible surplus and displaced competitive service employees in the Department of Justice with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. If your Department of Justice component has notified you in writing that you are a surplus or displaced employee eligible for CTAP eligibility, you may receive selection priority if: 1) this vacancy is within your CTAP eligibility; 2) you apply under the instructions in this announcement; and 3) you are found well qualified for this vacancy. To be well qualified, you must satisfy all qualification requirements for the vacant position and score 85 or better on established ranking criteria. You must provide a copy of your written notification of CTAP eligibility with your application. Additional information about CTAP eligibility is at: Click Here


To be considered for the position, you must meet the following qualification requirements:


There is no substitution of education for specialized experience for this position.


You must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and complexity to the next lower grade in the normal line of progression. This experience must have equipped the applicant with the particular qualifications to successfully perform the duties of the position. Experience must have been gained in a correctional facility with responsibilities in correctional treatment, care, custody, and control of inmates.

Some examples of this qualifying experience are:
  • Experience with assignments made to those areas requiring the maximum skill and expertise in dealing with inmates, the public, and the security of the institution.
  • Experience in supervising and instructing inmates regarding proper sanitation, personal hygiene and work habits.
  • Experience in maintaining the control and discipline of inmates in such areas as the auditorium, housing units, segregation, recreation areas, dining rooms, etc.
  • Experience in having responsibility for the custody and control of inmates who require special handling.

Medical Requirement:

The Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons has established the following medical requirements for Correctional Officer positions:

The duties of these positions involve unusual mental and nervous pressure, and require arduous physical exertion involving prolonged walking and standing, restraining of prisoners in emergencies, and participating in escape hunts. Applicants must be physically capable of performing efficiently the duties of these positions, and be free from such defects or disease as may constitute employment hazards to themselves or others. The duties of a Correctional Officer are arduous; and sound health as well as physical fitness is required.

If applicable, credit will be given for paid and unpaid experience. To receive proper credit, you must show the actual time (such as the number of hours worked per week) spent in activities.

**Your eligibility for consideration will be based on your responses to the questions in the application.**


See Qualifications Section for education requirements, if applicable.

ONLYif education is a requirement/substitution for specialized experience, applicant MUST upload legible transcripts as verification of educational requirement. Transcripts MUST be uploaded and electronically linked from USAJOBS at the time you apply and MUST include identifying information to include School Name, Student Name, Degree and Date Awarded (if applicable). All academic degrees and coursework must be completed at a college or university that has obtained accreditation or pre-accreditation status from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools that meet this criteria, Click Here .

Foreign Education: For information regarding foreign education requirements, please see Foreign Diploma and Credit Recognition at the U.S. Department of Education website: Recognition of Foreign Qualifications .

If you are selected for this position and qualified based on education (i.e. basic education requirement and/or substitution of education), you will be required to provide an OFFICIAL transcript prior to your first day on duty.

Additional information

This position IS included in the bargaining unit.

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 3307, a maximum entry age of 36 has been established for initial appointment to a position in a Bureau of Prisons institution.

The representative rate for this position is $56,442 per annum ($27.04 per hour).

Special Conditions of Employment Section:

Appointment is subject to satisfactory completion of a urinalysis, physical, and background investigation. All applicants are subject to National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and credit checks.

All applicants not currently working in an institution will be required to complete a qualification inquiry regarding convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence in order to be authorized to carry a firearm.

The Core Value Assessment (CVA) is an in-person assessment that must be facilitated at a Bureau of Prisons Human Resource Servicing office. On the day of the scheduled interview, a CVA will be administered. The applicant assessment must be completed within a 70 minute time period and a passing score must be obtained. Further employment consideration will not be extended if the applicant fails to complete the examination or fails to achieve a passing score. Note: The Core Value Assessment will not be administered to current BOP employees.

Successful completion of the "Introduction to Correctional Techniques," three-week training course at Glynco, Georgia is required.

The addresses listed on the USAJOBS account/resume must be the primary residence at the time of application. You may be required to provide proof of residence.

Additional selections may be made if vacancies occur within the life of the certificate.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

If your composite score exceeds the average score for this job, your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your online assessment questionnaire responses and utilized to determine whether you meet the job qualifications listed in this announcement. If you rate yourself higher than what is supported by your application materials, your responses may be adjusted and/or you may be excluded from consideration for this job. If you are found to be among the top candidates, you will be referred to the selecting official for employment consideration.

There are several parts of the application process that affect the overall evaluation of your application:
  • Your resume, which is part of your USAJOBS profile;
  • Your responses to the eligibility questions;
  • Your responses to the online assessment questionnaire;
  • Your supporting documentation, if required.

Time-in-Grade: Federal employees must meet time-in-grade requirements for consideration. You must meet all qualification requirements upon the closing date of this announcement.

What Competencies/Knowledge, Skills and Abilities are Required for this Position?

The following Competencies/Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA's) are required:
  • Ability to react, remain calm, and make sound decisions in emergency situations.
  • Ability to communicate in writing.
  • Ability to perform duties of all correctional posts.
  • Ability to communicate orally.
  • Ability to observe and pay attention to detail in order to recognize signs of discord, abnormal behavior, etc.
  • Ability to motivate others.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

  • Resume showing relevant experience (cover letter optional).
  • In order to receive credit for experience contained in a resume, your employment history must be documented in month/year format (MM/YYYY), reflecting starting date and ending date and include the number of hours worked per week. Failure to follow this format may result in disqualification.
  • Current or former Federal employees NOT employed by the Bureau of Prisons MUST submit a copy of their SF-50 Form which shows competitive service appointment, tenure group, and salary. If you have promotion potential in your current position, please provide proof. If you are applying for a higher grade, and your experience was gained at a Federal agency other than the Bureau of Prisons, you MUST provide the SF-50 Form which verifies the length of time you have been in your highest grade and supports your claim for time in grade.
  • Employees applying with an interchange agreement must provide proof of their permanent appointment.
  • Current federal employees NOT employed by the BOP and former federal employees MUST submit a copy of their latest yearly performance appraisal/evaluation.
  • CTAP, Click Here , if applicable.

Failure to provide these documents could possibly result in removal from consideration for this vacancy. If uploading documentation, do not identify/save your documents utilizing a special character such as %, #, @, etc. Documentation should be identified/saved as VA Letter, DD214, or Transcripts.

We cannot be held responsible for incompatible software, delays in mail service, applicant application errors, etc.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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Federal Bureau of Prisons Employee Reviews for Correctional Officer

Stepping Stone

Correctional Officer (Current Employee) - Atlanta, GA - August 24, 2021

This is a good entry level job if you're trying to move into another Federal Law Enforcement agency. Coming from the military, leadership is lacking. The BOP's mission consistently remains a mystery being bogged down by poor leadership, cuts to security, no use of rank/chain of command, and a performance evaluation system that's laughable. Moral and comradery are low because at the end of the day the BOP doesn't care for you and a lot of employees gossip, back stab, and brown nose leadership in an effort to get a position they aren't qualified for. Within the Department of Justice the BOP remains to be the lowest paid and less recognized having to compete for a GL8 when other agencies pass right by. Training is also lacking that begins with the 3 week training at FLETC in Glynco. Lastly I would like to say I have worked with some great employees but as a whole that's not enough to change the climate and course the BOP continues to head.


poor leadership, poor performance evaluation system, poor training, pay compared to other agencies


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