The majority of correctional officer jobs in the State of Florida require that individuals must first become certified officers within the state prior to being allowed to serve as correctional officers, thus becoming certified correctional officers.
Becoming a “certified correctional officer” should not be confused with the completion of a correctional officer certificate program. In the state of Florida, the (FDLE), or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or establishes the requirements and administers the certification of officers within the state.
Below is the first of 4 steps that must be completed in order to become a certified corrections officer, meeting the minimum requirements.
- Must Be 19 Years Old
- Must Be a United States Citizen
- Must Have a High School Diploma or Educational Equivalent (GED)
- Must Not Have any felony of misdemeanor that involve false statements or perjury
- Must Not Have received a dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard
- Must Be able to Pass of Physical Examination
- Must Submit to and Pass a Background Examination; Also Have Fingerprints processed, documented, and on file with the employing agency.
Basic Ability Training
The next step for new officers is the completion of BAT. No, this doesn’t involve a trip to Gotham City and locating the Batcave, BAT stands for Basic Abilities Training.
This is a “job task analysis” test based on subjects related to Corrections, can be offered as a computer-based test or by pencil and paper depending on which test you choose, but the test of only administered in Florida and your test score is valid for 4 years.
A little bit about the content of the test; it has approximately 100 questions evaluating your written comprehension & expression, deductive & inductive reasoning skills, problem sensitivity, information ordering, visualization & memorization. The time limit for the test is approximately 2 hours and the test fee ranges from $25-$30 depending on where you take the COBAT exam.
State Officer Certification Exam
The next step for those seeking to become certified officers in the state of Florida is that you successfully pass the State Officer Certification Exam, the (SOCE), within 3 attempts.
Before you are permitted to take the SOCE, prospective correctional officers will first need to complete a basic recruit-training program at a training school that has been certified by the commission. Exemptions from this requirement are available if you were previously certified in the State of Florida, or an “out-of-state”, Federal, or Military police officer.
The Final Step
One of the last tasks that you must complete in order to become a certified correctional officer after completing your Basic Recruit Training and successfully pass the SOCE is to gain employment as a correctional officer in the state of Florida within 4 years of the start date of your Basic Recruit Training.
To get started you can seek out any of the many correctional officer training academies within the state that offer training packages that will prepare you for the required exams as well as your career as a correctional officer. Training programs provided by Gulf Coast Community College, Lake Technical Center, and Southwest Florida Public Service Academy are great examples of the training institutions available in the state of Florida providing training to prospective corrections officers.