How to Become a Correctional Officer in Mississippi: Requirements and Training Guide

Correctional officers play a vital role in maintaining public safety and ensuring that incarcerated individuals serve their sentences in a secure and orderly environment. Pursuing a career as a correctional officer in Mississippi can be both rewarding and challenging. This comprehensive guide on how to become a correctional officer in Mississippi will walk you through the necessary steps to achieve this goal, detailing the educational and experience requirements, application process, training programs, work environments, and more. Are you ready to start this fulfilling career path?

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Mississippi correctional officers must meet educational, age and experience requirements, as well as valid certifications.

  • The application process includes submitting an application, passing background checks & interviews and completing a physical agility test.

  • Successful applicants receive competitive salaries & benefits. They should also demonstrate strong work ethic and effective communication skills.

Educational and Experience Requirements for Mississippi Correctional Officers

Specific educational and experience prerequisites are set for individuals aspiring to become a correctional officer in Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Corrections mandates that correctional officers possess at least a high school diploma or GED and have relevant experience or certifications. In addition, aspiring correctional officers must be at least 18 years of age.

High School Diploma or Equivalency

Aspiring correctional officers in Mississippi must at least have a high school diploma or GED, an indication of fundamental education and understanding. This requirement is essential as it indicates that candidates can adhere to instructions, communicate effectively, and manage the responsibilities of the position, such as a jail officer.

The state allows the use of a GED as an alternative to a high school diploma for those applying to become correctional officers in Mississippi, in line with the jail officer standards.

Relevant Experience and Certifications

Beyond educational requirements, the hiring process for correctional officers in Mississippi also places significant importance on relevant experience and certifications. To be considered for the position, applicants must possess a valid driver’s license from Mississippi or a contiguous state. Moreover, applicants must be at least 21 years of age to attend the Mississippi Department of Corrections Correctional Officer Training Academy.

Specific training is also required to become a correctional officer in Mississippi, including learning how to maintain discipline and order within the correctional facility. For non-peace officer status posts in Mississippi correctional facilities, the minimum age requirement is under 21 years old, and these positions may involve tasks that maintain custody of inmates but do not require full correctional officer training.

The Application Process: Steps to Becoming a Correctional Officer in Mississippi

The journey to becoming a correctional officer in Mississippi encompasses several stages: application submission, background checks and interviews, and a physical agility test. Meeting these requirements ensures that candidates possess the necessary skills and qualifications to effectively perform their duties as correctional officers in the state.

Submitting an Application

To submit an application for a correctional officer position in Mississippi, applicants must complete the following steps:

  1. Verify testing dates and requirements.

  2. Complete the training program at the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

  3. Pass a written examination and physical test.

  4. Participate in a board interview.

  5. Submit the application through the appropriate channels.

The online application for the Mississippi State Personnel Board can be located here.

It’s vital for applicants to prevent inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and unethical behavior when submitting an application. Meticulously reviewing the application for any mistakes or omissions before submitting it is highly recommended.

Background Checks and Interviews

The background check process for Mississippi correctional officers typically entails a criminal record search through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the Mississippi Criminal Information Center, as well as employment and education verification. The interview process serves as an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their experience, skills, and overall suitability for the role of a correctional officer. Questions may focus on your experience in a correctional setting, your ability to approach potentially hazardous situations, and your communication skills.

Thorough preparation for the interview requires being well-informed about the job and the Mississippi Department of Corrections, and readiness to answer questions about the role, your background, and your communication skills.

Physical Agility Test

As part of the screening process, applicants for correctional officer positions in Mississippi must complete a physical agility test. This test evaluates the candidate’s physical capacities and may include tasks such as 22 push-ups in 60 seconds and 25 sit-ups in 60 seconds.

Aspiring correctional officers must give due importance to preparing for the physical agility test. It is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle and engage in regular physical activity to ensure that you meet the required standards. The MDOC recommends that applicants dress in athletic clothing and wear tennis shoes during the test.

Training Programs for Mississippi Correctional Officers

Mississippi correctional officers undergo training programs specifically designed to arm them with the skills and knowledge needed for their roles. These programs include the MDOC Training Academy and additional training programs specific to the facility or level of employment.

Completion of these programs ensures that correctional officers are well-prepared to handle the challenges and responsibilities of their positions.

MDOC Training Academy

The Mississippi Department of Corrections Training Academy serves as a significant factor in readying aspiring correctional officers for their careers. The academy provides eight weeks of training for successful applicants, covering a range of topics such as the history of the Department of Corrections, orientation, and instruction.

The curriculum of the MDOC Training Academy consists of a 6-week Basic Corrections Training Program, followed by 8 weeks of on-the-job training. This comprehensive training program ensures that correctional officers in Mississippi are equipped with the necessary skills to effectively perform their duties.

Additional Training Programs

Beyond the MDOC Training Academy, Mississippi correctional officers have the opportunity to build on their skills and knowledge through other training programs. These programs include:

  • Completion of an approved CPR/First Aid course

  • Board-approved 96-hour Standardized Detention Officer Course

  • Annual completion of 16 hours of general in-service training

  • Annual completion of 40 hours of specific inmate contact training

These training requirements ensure that correctional officers in Mississippi are adequately equipped to perform their duties effectively and safely.

For further information on training opportunities, please refer to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety website.

Working in Mississippi’s Correctional Facilities

Correctional officers in Mississippi can work in federal or state prisons, each with its own set of requirements and responsibilities. Federal prisons in Mississippi are operated and funded by the federal government, while state prisons are operated and funded by the state government. Understanding the differences between these types of facilities can help aspiring correctional officers make informed decisions about their career paths.

Federal Prisons

Correctional officers, who are also law enforcement officers, working in federal prisons in Mississippi are responsible for:

  • Enforcing regulations

  • Upholding discipline

  • Supervising offenders

  • Documenting reports

  • Ensuring inmate accountability

  • Providing oversight and care to inmates

Federal prisons in Mississippi include FCI Yazoo City Medium and FCC Yazoo City.

The working environment for correctional officers in federal prisons is generally supportive, safe, and secure, with opportunities for career growth and advancement, as well as competitive salaries and benefits.

State Prisons

In Mississippi state prisons, correctional officers are tasked with maintaining security and safety, supervising inmates, and enforcing rules and regulations. Primary state prisons in Mississippi include the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, the Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), and the South Mississippi Correctional Institution. Working in state prisons presents unique challenges, such as inadequate staffing and supervision, high turnover rates, low pay, and a lack of mental health treatment and suicide prevention measures.

Despite these challenges, state prisons provide valuable opportunities for both correctional officers and jail officers serving to make a difference in the lives of incarcerated individuals and contribute to public safety.

Correctional Officer Salaries and Benefits in Mississippi

Salaries and benefits for correctional officers in Mississippi vary depending on the level of experience and the specific facility. Here are some key points to note:

  • The average salary for a correctional officer in Mississippi is approximately $45,807 annually.

  • This is slightly higher than the national average salary of roughly $44,417 yearly.

  • Factors such as the duration of employment, job position, and economic factors affecting the larger workforce are taken into consideration when determining the salary of correctional officers in Mississippi.

In addition to competitive salaries, correctional officers in Mississippi enjoy a comprehensive set of benefits, including:

  • Basic health coverage

  • Vision and dental insurance

  • Paid time off

  • Life insurance

  • Retirement plans

For further details on the specific benefits offered to correctional officers in Mississippi, please visit the Mississippi Department of Corrections website.

Tips for Success as a Correctional Officer in Mississippi

Maintaining a strong work ethic, staying current with training, and developing effective communication skills are key to succeeding as a correctional officer who maintains custody and maintains discipline in Mississippi.

To succeed in this role, it is important to:

  • Uphold a strong work ethic by remaining vigilant and dedicated to your duties

  • Stay current with training on ethical matters and best practices in corrections

  • Exercise self-control and professionalism in all situations

  • Effectively convey and record data to ensure accurate and thorough documentation.

By focusing on these areas, you can excel as a correctional officer in Mississippi.

To develop effective communication skills, correctional officers should:

  • Participate in training courses or workshops

  • Hone active listening and speaking abilities

  • Study de-escalation techniques

  • Solicit feedback

  • Stay informed of current best practices

By cultivating these skills and adhering to high ethical standards, correctional officers in Mississippi can thrive in their careers and contribute to a safer and more secure society.

The competence and integrity of Mississippi correctional officers, including county jail officers, are guaranteed through adherence to legal requirements and certifications set by the sheriff or police department. Among these requirements are selective service registration and the demonstration of good moral character.

Selective Service Registration

Selective Service Registration is a legal obligation for all male U.S. citizens and male immigrants residing in the country between the ages of 18 and 26. This registration provides the government with a list of potential candidates for military service in the event of a national emergency or draft. Failing to register may result in penalties, including ineligibility for federal student aid, government employment, and certain job opportunities.

To complete the Selective Service Registration in Mississippi, male individuals between the ages of 18 and 26 must register online through the Selective Service System website.

Good Moral Character

Aspiring correctional officers in Mississippi must exhibit good moral character. This entails:

  • Possessing a robust ethical code

  • Integrity and honesty

  • Having an unblemished criminal record

  • Exhibiting responsible behavior

  • Abiding by high moral standards

To assess an applicant’s moral character, factors such as honesty, financial responsibility, stable employment history, a clean police record, and adherence to ethical standards may be taken into consideration. Such a person would demonstrate a strong moral foundation.

By satisfying these legal requirements and becoming a jail officer certified, aspiring correctional officers in Mississippi can embark on a rewarding and meaningful career in the field of corrections.


In conclusion, becoming a correctional officer in Mississippi requires a combination of education, experience, and adherence to legal requirements and certifications. By successfully navigating the application process, completing the necessary training programs, and maintaining a strong work ethic, communication skills, and good moral character, individuals can thrive in this challenging and rewarding career. As a correctional officer in Mississippi, you will play a vital role in maintaining public safety and ensuring the secure and orderly operation of correctional facilities, making a lasting impact on the lives of incarcerated individuals and society as a whole.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a correctional officer in MS?

To become a correctional officer in MS, you must be eighteen (18) years of age, possess a valid MS driver’s license or a valid drivers license from a contiguous state, and successfully complete the Mississippi Department of Corrections Training Academy.

What is the training program at the Mississippi Department of Corrections?

The Mississippi Department of Corrections provides an eight-week training program which covers topics such as the history of corrections in Mississippi and security procedures related to inmate care, control, and custody.

What’s the most a correctional officer can make?

The most a Correctional Officer or Jailer can make is around $103,000 per year. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii pays correction officers the most at an average salary of $59,248 per year. The best paying states for Correction Officers are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Nevada with salaries ranging from $32,830 to $81,940.

What is the oldest age to be a correctional officer?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires Correctional Officers to be between 20 and 37 years of age, making the oldest accepted age for this job 37.

What is the minimum age requirement for becoming a correctional officer in Mississippi?

You must be at least 18 years old to become a correctional officer in Mississippi.

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