As you probably can already gather, becoming a correctional officer and getting the proper training is not a guaranteed path of employment. There are a number of requirements that must first be met prior to you becoming eligible to be placed into a position as a correctional officer.
There are disqualifying factors throughout the application and hiring process that you must be aware of for any correctional officer job that you may apply for, some are obvious requirements, like an application must be a minimum age of 18 years old, and some requirements and leave room for confusion, such as an applicant must have stable credit.
Does stable credit allow for a person with bad credit that’s on the road to recovery, or is anything other than stellar credit accepted. These are the questions that want answers to, but it isn’t possible to cover every potential location for their particular list of items that would disqualify you from becoming a correctional officer in a single article.
So with that said, we will focus on the main items that you should focus on when applying for a correctional officer job and you think you might have a potentially disqualifying matter.
1. Minimum Requirements
Not meeting any of the stated minimum requirements for a dept. of corrections position or for a particular correctional officer position would be one of the first areas of opportunity for being disqualified for the job you are seeking. The minimum requirements are usually pretty simple, normally including age, education, and level of experience that must be met.
2. Background Check
When it comes to completing a background check for a correction officer job, people have the most questions and concerns about if this act or that act that occurred in their past will disqualify them from consideration. Keep in mind that all departments will have slightly different hiring processes, and with that they will also have different views on what they will consider a disqualifying condition and what is not.
Generally speaking, if you have ever been convicted of a felony you would have a 99.9% chance of being disqualified for the position. Felony convictions are usually automatic disqualifiers unless the offense happened while you were a minor. If you have a misdemeanor conviction on your record, your chances would slightly improve based on the type of misdemeanor.
Misdemeanors convictions involving violence, dishonesty, unlawful sexual conduct, and the manufacture, possession, or selling of a controlled substance may be considered indicators that you may not meet the required moral standard and thus you would be disqualified. In most cases, time truly heals all wounds as some departments will require a minimum of one-year time to have passed to allow you to apply for the position. The amount of time required can be increased depending on the type of misdemeanor.
Having a bad driving record can be an issue. A history of DWI’s, excessive tickets, or violations can become a serious problem if not address properly.
Prior service military veterans that were discharged from any branch or military service with a dishonorable discharge could potentially disqualify you from a correctional officer position. It’s best to first check with your state or local agency to see how they handle military discharges and if it will be held against you. Don’t give up before you even try.
Finally, ensure that if you have a bad credit history that you are taking the necessary steps to pay off your debts and that you have a plan in place prior to apply for a correctional officer job you’re selected.
3. Physical Condition & Medical Considerations
One of the more well-known requirements to becoming a correctional officer is completing some form of the COPAT or Correctional Officer Physical Agility Test. The COPAT measures a potential correction officer’s level of physical fitness through a series of strength and agility tests. Not meeting the stated goal for any particular event would most likely result in a retest of the failed event, but continued inability to perform the prescribed tasks would ultimately result in disqualification from the position.
4. Social Media Usage
We’re all living in the technological age and most if not everyone is engaged in social media in one form or another. The problem may present itself in not that you are using social media, but what you have on your social media. What you post of your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Instagram, and YouTube accounts in the past may present you with a serious problem in the future.
If you know that you have anything on your social media accounts that display you in a negative light, such as excessive drinking, drug use, gang signs, reviling pictures, hate speech or abusive language, you might want to consider hitting the delete button on these types of items.
These days, hiring departments are beginning to seek out this type of information on their potential employees as a potential disqualifying factor for many positions. So do all you can to insure that your “good name” is properly represented is someone were to do a Google search on you.
Again, I want to reiterate that every department is different and that you should visit our correctional officer training page and select the state in which you are interested in applying for, and find more detailed information. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment below.