How to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama (State Requirements)

Have you ever considered a career that offers job stability, a sense of purpose, and the opportunity to make a positive impact on your community? If so, learning how to become a correctional officer in Alabama might be the right choice for you. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of becoming a correctional officer in Alabama, exploring the role, eligibility criteria, application process, training, career advancement opportunities, benefits, challenges, and salary expectations.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Becoming a correctional officer in Alabama involves meeting eligibility criteria, passing tests and completing training.

  • Working as a correctional officer offers job stability, financial security and the opportunity to make a positive contribution. It also comes with its own challenges.

  • Salaries vary across cities depending on factors such as cost of living and available funding.

Understanding the Role of a Correctional Officer in Alabama

As a correctional officer in Alabama, your primary responsibility is to:

  • Maintain security and enforce rules in state and federal prisons

  • Supervise inmates during their daily activities, such as meals, recreation, and work, ensuring their safety and well-being

  • Document violations and take appropriate disciplinary actions

With the average salary for a correctional officer in Alabama being $39,490 annually, this career offers a stable income.

The demand for correctional officers in Alabama is considerable, with opportunities available for both experienced officers and trainees just starting their careers. Despite a court order to increase staffing, the number of officers in Alabama state prisons has decreased, leading the Alabama Department of Corrections to initiate recruitment campaigns and events throughout the state. The department aims to address staffing difficulties by offering pay raises for correctional officers.

Eligibility Criteria for Becoming a Correctional Officer in Alabama

Meeting certain eligibility criteria is a prerequisite to becoming a correctional officer in Alabama. These criteria include:

  • Age: Applicants must be under the age of 37.

  • Citizenship: Applicants must possess U.S. citizenship.

  • Education: A high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for Alabama correctional officers.

  • Financial history: No specific information provided.

These criteria are similar to neighboring states like Florida.

To get promoted to higher grade correctional officer, you must meet either one of the two criteria. The first being nine graduate hours of study, and the other is to have one year of experience in law enforcement, mental health treatment, or corrections. Financial history requirements may vary between state and federal facilities.

State Prisons vs. Federal Facilities

It is pivotal to acknowledge the varying eligibility criteria between state prisons and federal facilities if you’re contemplating a career as a correctional officer. State prisons require a high school diploma or GED. In contrast, federal facilities typically require a bachelor’s degree or relevant experience. For example, federal correctional officers in Huntsville need a bachelor’s degree or three years of work experience in related fields, such as teaching, sales, counseling, or corrections.

These differences in eligibility requirements reflect the varying levels of responsibility and complexity between state and federal facilities. When setting your sights on a career as a correctional officer in Alabama, it’s imperative to evaluate which type of facility best matches your education and experience.

The Application Process: Getting Started

The procedure for becoming a correctional officer in Alabama necessitates meeting the basic requirements. These include:

  • Being a minimum of 18 years old

  • Possessing a high school diploma or GED

  • Having a valid driver’s license

  • Being a U.S. citizen

Additionally, you must pass a drug screen and background check.

Once you meet these requirements, you’ll need to:

  1. Complete the Correctional Employee Application

  2. Undergo training, which includes a written examination and a physical test

  3. Successfully complete the selection process

Written Exam

The written examination for becoming a correctional officer in Alabama tests your knowledge and aptitude through a multiple-choice assessment. This exam covers:

  • Basic mathematics

  • Reading comprehension

  • Memory skills

  • Professional standards

It’s vital to prepare for the written exam, as it assesses your capability to manage the duties of a correctional officer.

Make sure to review the material provided in the Correction Officer I pre-employment packet, which includes information pertaining to your background.

Physical Ability Test

As a correctional officer, you’ll need to maintain a certain level of physical fitness to perform your duties effectively. The physical ability test for becoming a correctional officer in Alabama assesses your strength, endurance, and agility. The test requires you to complete 25 sit-ups in 60 seconds, perform 22 push-ups in 60 seconds, and run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes and 28 seconds.

Clearing this test is necessary to exhibit your physical competence for the role.

Training and Certification for Alabama Correctional Officers

Upon passing the written exam and physical ability test, aspiring correctional officers in Alabama must complete a 12-week training and certification program. This comprehensive training covers physical, academic, and regulatory requirements necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of both officers and inmates. After completing the training, certified correctional officers are subject to a six-month probationary period to further evaluate their performance and suitability for the role.

For federal correctional officers in Huntsville and Birmingham, additional training requirements apply. After their first year of employment, they have to put in at least 40 hours of continuing education training every year. This is mandatory for all employees. New federal correctional officers in Birmingham receive training for three weeks. This training is split between their work site and the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA.

Career Advancement Opportunities for Correctional Officers in Alabama

A wealth of career advancement opportunities awaits you as a correctional officer in Alabama. You may pursue promotions to supervisory and management positions or specialize in roles such as K-9 handlers or tactical response team members. K-9 handlers train and handle police dogs, while tactical response team members respond to emergency situations. If you have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you may also qualify for positions as probation officers, police officers, or forensic professionals. These career pathways offer a chance to grow professionally and make an even greater impact on your community.

Working as a correctional officer in Alabama provides:

  • Job stability

  • Competitive salaries

  • Benefits

  • Opportunities for professional growth and support

By pursuing various career advancement options in different companies, you can enhance your skills, expand your knowledge, and increase your earning potential.

Benefits and Challenges of Working as a Correctional Officer in Alabama

Job stability stands out as a key perk of working as a correctional officer in Alabama, a critical aspect in the face of today’s fluctuating economy. The Department of Corrections offers competitive remuneration, insurance, and benefits, along with paid vacation, sick, comp, and holiday time, providing financial security for you and your family. Furthermore, working as a correctional officer allows you to have a positive impact on your community, as you play a vital role in maintaining safety and assisting in the rehabilitation of inmates.

Despite the benefits, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges that come with working as a correctional officer in Alabama. Confronting difficult inmates, operating in a high-pressure environment, and the potential for danger are all realities of the job. It’s important to maintain a professional demeanor, continually update your skills, and focus on self-care to navigate these challenges successfully.

Tips for Success in Your Correctional Officer Career

Maintaining a professional demeanor is fundamental for success as a correctional officer in Alabama. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Demonstrate respect to inmates, colleagues, and supervisors.

  2. Adhere to all rules and regulations.

  3. In challenging situations with inmates, remain composed and follow all regulations.

  4. Seek help from a supervisor if needed.

Physical fitness is another essential component of success in this career. Engage in regular physical activity, consume a nutritionally balanced diet, and ensure adequate rest. Incorporate a combination of aerobic and strength training exercises into your routine for optimal results. Additionally, seek out training opportunities, participate in seminars and workshops, and stay updated on the latest advancements in the field to consistently advance your knowledge and capabilities.

Focus on training that specifically targets correctional officer duties for a correctional officer trainee, such as self-defense, communication, and crisis management.

Correctional Officer Salaries in Alabama: What to Expect

The average correctional officer salary in Alabama is around $39,490 annually, which translates to an hourly wage of $17.06. Factors that can influence this salary include:

  • Skills

  • Experience

  • Employer

  • Bonuses

Various factors can impact your salary as a correctional officer, including the role of corrections officers within the facility, such as working on death row.

The most recent pay hike for Alabama correctional officers in the 2018 budget is a positive sign, indicating that the state recognizes the importance of properly compensating these professionals.

Comparing Salaries Across the Region

Salaries for correctional officers can vary depending on the city and type of facility. Some cities in Alabama that offer the highest salaries for correctional officers include:

  • Montgomery

  • Elmore

  • Huntsville

  • Dothan

  • Florala

  • Foley

  • Decatur

  • Saint Clair

  • Anniston

When contemplating a career as a correctional officer in Alabama, researching salary expectations across various locations is key to making an informed decision about where to seek employment.

Keep in mind that salary disparities between correctional officers in various cities in Alabama may also be influenced by factors such as the cost of living, demand for officers, and available funding for the department of corrections. As you pursue your career as a correctional officer in Alabama, consider the potential for salary growth and advancement opportunities in different locations.


Becoming a correctional officer in Alabama offers a stable career with attractive salaries and benefits, opportunities for growth and advancement, and the chance to make a positive impact on your community. By understanding the role, meeting eligibility criteria, navigating the application process, and completing the required training and certification, you can pave the way to a fulfilling career in corrections. While challenges may arise, maintaining a professional demeanor, staying physically fit, and continually updating your knowledge and skills will equip you for success in this vital profession.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is correctional officer training in Alabama?

Becoming a certified correctional officer in Alabama requires twelve weeks of training and passing all physical, academic, and regulatory requirements.

How much does a basic correctional officer make in Alabama?

The average Correctional Officer salary in Alabama is $45,653 per year, ranging from $24,720 to $58,120 depending on skills, experience, employer and other factors.

What is the average salary for a correctional officer in Alabama?

On average, correctional officers in Alabama make $17.06 per hour, or $39,490 a year.

What are the minimum educational requirements for becoming a correctional officer in Alabama?

In order to become a correctional officer in Alabama, you must possess at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.

What career advancement opportunities are available for correctional officers in Alabama?

In Alabama, correctional officers have the opportunity to move up the ranks with promotions to supervisory and management positions or take on specialized roles like K-9 handlers or tactical response team members.

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