How to Become a Correctional Officer in Maine: Essential Steps and Training Guide

If you’re passionate about making a difference in your community and upholding justice, a career as a correctional officer in Maine might be the perfect fit for you. Becoming a correctional officer is a rewarding and challenging profession that requires dedication, teamwork, and a strong sense of ethics. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps and training on how to become a correctional officer in Maine, the diverse career opportunities available, and tips on how to excel in this field. Let’s embark on this journey together.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Applicants for correctional officer jobs in Maine must meet essential requirements, such as being 18 years or older and having a valid driver’s license.

  • The application process involves submitting an application form, undergoing background checks and taking the Physical Aptitude Test.

  • Training includes 240 hours of classroom instruction covering topics like communication skills & facility specific knowledge plus on-the job training with experienced professionals to develop necessary skillsets.

Essential Requirements for Maine Correctional Officer Jobs

Starting your career as a correctional officer in Maine involves meeting a set of mandatory requirements. The minimum age requirement is 18 years old. A high school diploma or its equivalent (such as a HiSET or GED) is necessary for eligibility. Additionally, you must possess a valid driver’s license.

As a Maine correctional officer, expectations include:

  • Upholding department values

  • Demonstrating teamwork

  • Effectively identifying and resolving problems

  • Sound judgment

  • Communication skills

These are vital qualifications for this role.

Navigating the Application Process

Applying for a correctional officer position in Maine is a straightforward process. Here are the steps:

  1. Complete and submit a printable application, as outlined in the job posting.

  2. Undergo a comprehensive background check, including extensive motor vehicle records.

  3. Note that candidates with criminal or juvenile convictions may not be eligible for a correctional officer position in Maine.

Another key part of the application process is the Physical Aptitude Test. This test evaluates your physical capabilities to ensure you can carry out the responsibilities of a correctional officer, such as helping to equip justice-involved residents with necessary skills.

Enrolling in the Basic Corrections Training Program

After successfully completing the application process, enrollment in Maine’s 6-week Basic Corrections Training Program (BCTP) is the next step. This program encompasses 240 hours of classroom and on-the-job training. The classroom instruction takes place at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro, and it is designed to prepare trainees for various correctional facilities, including the Downeast Correctional Facility, the Maine Correctional Center, and the Maine State Prison.

A Maine driver’s license is also a requirement, in addition to the BCTP.

Classroom Instruction

The classroom instruction phase of the BCTP encompasses a variety of topics, including Introduction to Corrections, Contraband Control, Inmate Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention in Jails, and Correctional Officer Mental Health. The primary policies and procedures taught include correctional procedures, inmate management, security protocols, emergency response, and legal and ethical standards.

Effective communication skills are emphasized in the classroom instruction, as they are critical for success in the corrections field. The classroom instruction phase typically lasts for five weeks, comprising 200 hours of training.

On-the-Job Training

The on-the-job training segment of the BCTP is an invaluable opportunity to gain hands-on experience and learn from seasoned professionals. This training period lasts for a minimum of three weeks. During this time, you will:

  • Acquire knowledge of facility-specific procedures and protocols

  • Be guided by a Field Training Officer (FTO)

  • Receive job coaching on investigative matters

You will also be responsible for:

  • Supervising the daily activities of inmates

  • Carrying out inmate counts

  • Monitoring individuals

  • Inspecting equipment for safety and proper functioning

Trainee officers are supervised by Facility Training Officers who act as Field Training Program Supervisors, ensuring proper supervision, custody, treatment, and training.

Pursuing Career Advancement Opportunities

A multitude of career advancement opportunities are available to you as a Maine correctional officer. Some examples include:

  • Skilled trades and vocational roles within the correctional system

  • Promotion to higher ranks such as Correctional Captain

  • The opportunity to work as a Correctional Care & Treatment Worker

  • The opportunity to work as a Correctional Industries Manager

These are just a few examples of the diverse career paths available.

To advance your rank and secure higher leadership positions, you may consider earning a degree and seeking promotion within the department. Managerial roles such as Correctional Industries Manager, Correctional Captain, and Unit Manager involve planning, coordination, direction, oversight, and evaluation of security and operations within the correctional facility.

Understanding the Role of a Correctional Officer in Different Facilities

The responsibilities of a correctional officer differ based on the facility they are assigned to. In this section, we will explore the differences in responsibilities and expectations for correctional officers working in adult and juvenile facilities in Maine.

Adult Facilities

In adult correctional facilities, correctional officers are responsible for:

  • Providing security and guidance to adult residents

  • Facilitating their treatment and rehabilitation

  • Maintaining order and discipline within the facility

  • Generating reports and logs detailing inmate behavior

  • Ensuring the safety of the facility

Correctional officers in adult prisons have a vital and demanding role. Their daily routine includes:

  • Maintaining security and order within the facility

  • Conducting regular patrols

  • Monitoring inmate activities

  • Enforcing rules and regulations

  • Searching for contraband

  • Responding to any incidents or emergencies that may arise

  • Writing reports and filling out daily logs, documenting inmate behavior and noteworthy incidents.

Juvenile Facilities

In juvenile facilities, the role of a correctional officer is distinct from adult facilities in terms of the population they work with and the focus of their responsibilities. Correctional officers in juvenile facilities are responsible for the care, security, treatment, and rehabilitation of juveniles who have been committed to the facility, often having specialized duties that involve acting as life coaches and guiding young inmates emotionally and mentally.

Interpersonal communication skills, physical stamina, the ability to manage stressful situations, and a comprehensive knowledge of law are all crucial skills for correctional officers working in juvenile facilities in Maine.

Educational programs offered in juvenile facilities aim to facilitate restorative justice practices and include comprehensive year-round educational and vocational programs, special educational programs for adjudicated youth, and customized and accredited academics, all of which are designed to support restorative justice practices.

Salary Expectations and Benefits for Maine Correctional Officers

In 2012, Maine correctional officers earned a higher than average salary. It was at $33,700. The starting pay for a corrections officer in Cumberland County Jail ranges from $25.44/hr to $28.12/hr, depending on experience. The highest-earning 10% of correctional officers in Maine earned an average of $39,090 per year.

Cumberland County offers beneficial packages to its corrections officers. These include health insurance with no deductible, an educational assistance program, and Maine State Retirement with social security contributions. Such privileges are significant for a corrections officer’s career advancement. With a competitive salary and benefits package, a career as a correctional officer in Maine can be financially rewarding.

Preparing for a Successful Career in Corrections

For a successful career as a Maine correctional officer, maintaining a positive outlook, completing all required training, staying focused, and seizing opportunities for growth and development is important. One way to gain valuable experience and insight into the field is by participating in the Paid Job Shadow Program, which offers:

  • Transition assistance

  • Educational opportunities

  • Networking

  • Skill enhancement

  • Practical expectations

  • Personal development

Staying informed about industry trends and changes is crucial for success in this field. Aspiring correctional officers can consult the official website of the Maine Department of Corrections, as well as industry publications and websites such as the National Institute of Justice and the American Correctional Association.


In conclusion, a career as a correctional officer in Maine is both challenging and rewarding. From meeting essential requirements and navigating the application process to enrolling in the Basic Corrections Training Program and pursuing career advancement opportunities, this comprehensive guide has provided you with the information necessary to embark on a successful career in corrections. With dedication, perseverance, and a strong sense of ethics, you can make a positive impact on your community and contribute to the rehabilitation and support of individuals in correctional facilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What disqualifies you from being a Correctional Officer in Maine?

Having a criminal or juvenile conviction, failing to pass the Physical Aptitude Test and not having a medical authorization from a physician all disqualify candidates from becoming corrections officers in Maine.

What is the basic corrections training program in Maine?

In Maine, all new corrections officers must attend a Basic Corrections Training Program consisting of 200 hours of training over five weeks, held at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro. This includes classes in Introduction to Corrections and on-the-job training.

What is the oldest age to be a Correctional Officer?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons only hires Correctional Officer candidates between 20 and 37 years of age, which makes the oldest acceptable age for a Correctional Officer 37.

What is the minimum age requirement to become a correctional officer in Maine?

To become a correctional officer in Maine, applicants must be 18 years or older.

What type of background check is necessary for a correctional officer role in Maine?

To be eligible for a correctional officer role in Maine, applicants must successfully complete a criminal background check, a drug screening test, and possess a valid driver’s license.

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