How to Become a Correctional Officer in Oklahoma (Steps and State Requirements)

Did you know that correctional officers play an indispensable role in maintaining safety and security within our prisons? If you are considering a career as a correctional officer in Oklahoma, you are about to embark on a rewarding and challenging journey. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps and requirements on how to become a correctional officer in Oklahoma, from meeting basic qualifications to advancing in your career. Let’s begin!

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Oklahoma correctional officers must meet age, citizenship and legal requirements, possess physical fitness and satisfactory health, attend the DOC Training Academy & complete on-the-job training/mentorship.

  • Certification & continuing education is required to access benefits, while salary ranges are affected by experience level etc. Comprehensive insurance policies, retirement plans & paid time off provided.

  • Career advancement opportunities include promotions, specialized units higher education or transitioning to related fields such as police officer or forensic science technician

Oklahoma Correctional Officer Requirements

Understanding the fundamental requirements for the job is a crucial first step before embarking on a career as a correctional officer in Oklahoma. Aspiring correctional officers must meet specific criteria in terms of:

  • Age

  • Citizenship

  • Education

  • Experience

  • Legal background

  • Criminal history

  • Physical fitness

  • Health

Each of these requirements will be detailed in the following subsections.

Minimum Age and Citizenship

Applicants seeking to become a correctional officer in Oklahoma must be at least 21 years of age and hold U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, with no exceptions to these rules.

Being a citizen allows you to serve your community and country with pride, ensuring the safety and security of the inmates you’ll be supervising.

Education and Experience

Those interested in correctional officer positions in Oklahoma must hold a high school diploma or GED and have earned a minimum of 12 college credit hours. Candidates interested in correctional officer jobs must satisfy the educational requirement of having finished college courses. They can select any subject for study to meet this requirement..

Prior experience in correctional or security work is advantageous. In addition, having a background in criminal justice or related fields can be beneficial, as it demonstrates a strong foundation in the principles and practices of the profession.

Aspiring correctional officers must not have any felony convictions and must successfully pass a background check. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and those with military experience are given special consideration during the hiring process.

By maintaining a clean criminal history, you demonstrate your commitment to upholding the law and ensuring the safety of the community.

Physical Fitness and Health

In order to become a correctional officer in Oklahoma, applicants must pass a physical fitness evaluation and be in satisfactory physical health. Oklahoma prison facilities offer a variety of incarceration options, including secured space for long-term and violent offenders, minimum-security units for inmates, and community work centers.

As a correctional officer, you will need to be physically fit to manage the demands of the job and ensure the safety of both staff and inmates, including working alongside corrections officers.

Training and Certification Process

Upon meeting the basic requirements to become a correctional officer in Oklahoma, you will then need to undertake the required training and certification process. This process includes:

  • Attending the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Training Academy

  • Undergoing on-the-job training

  • Partaking in mentorship

  • Obtaining certification along with continuing education.

Each of these stages will be explored in greater detail in the following subsections.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Training Academy

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections Training Academy offers a four-week course to aspiring correctional officers. This comprehensive course covers 80 hours of training, which must be completed during the first year of employment. The training academy addresses a wide range of topics, such as:

  • Introduction into Policing and Corrections/Detention

  • Oklahoma Jail Standards

  • Security and Safety Procedures

  • Use of Force and Defensive Tactics

  • Inmate Management and Supervision

  • Crisis Intervention and De-escalation Techniques

  • Report Writing and Documentation

  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Corrections

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response

  • Cultural Diversity and Sensitivity Training

Completion of this training equips you well to handle the challenges and responsibilities inherent in the role of a correctional officer in Oklahoma.

On-the-Job Training and Mentorship

After completing the training academy, correctional officers in Oklahoma undergo on-the-job training, which includes 40 hours of orientation, 120 hours of correctional officer basic training, and 40 hours of supervised training on-the-job. Additionally, mentorship plays a crucial role in the development of new correctional officers.

Experienced correctional officers, supervisors, and volunteer programs such as the Mentors and Tutors program in Oklahoma Corrections provide guidance, support, and knowledge transfer to help new officers develop the essential skills and tackle the challenges of their position.

Certification and Continuing Education

In order to become certified as a correctional officer in Oklahoma, one must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be at least 20 years of age

  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent

  • Hold a valid driver’s license

  • Be a United States citizen

Certification is essential as it qualifies you for employment, opens up opportunities for career progression, and provides access to benefits such as dental and health insurance.

Correctional officers in Oklahoma are also required to complete continuing education as part of their certification. Staying up-to-date with the latest knowledge and best practices in the field is crucial for maintaining professional competence and ensuring success in your career.

Job Opportunities and Locations

With an understanding of the necessary requirements, training, and certification process for becoming a correctional officer in Oklahoma, we can now examine the various job opportunities and locations where your skills can be put into practice.

The subsequent subsections will cover:

  • The differences between state and federal correctional officer roles

  • Prominent correctional facilities in Oklahoma

  • City-specific job descriptions and requirements

State vs. Federal Correctional Officer Positions

One important distinction to consider when pursuing a career as a correctional officer in Oklahoma is the difference between state and federal correctional officer positions. State correctional officers work in state-run correctional facilities and are responsible for supervising inmates who have been convicted of state crimes, while federal correctional officers work in federal prisons and supervise inmates convicted of federal crimes.

Federal prisons often have a lower population of violent and dangerous inmates compared to state prisons, including those with domestic violence convictions. It is essential to weigh the differences between these positions when deciding on your preferred career path.

Prominent Correctional Facilities in Oklahoma

There are several prominent correctional facilities in Oklahoma where you can serve as a correctional officer. Some notable facilities include:

  • Charles E. Johnson Correctional Center

  • Dick Conner Correctional Center

  • James Crabtree Correctional Center

  • Joseph Harp Correctional Center

  • Allen Gamble Correctional Center

  • Federal Correctional Institution (FCI El Reno)

  • Cimarron Correctional Facility

Each facility has specific security levels and houses different types of inmates.

It is essential to choose a facility that aligns with your skills, interests, and career goals.

City-Specific Job Descriptions and Requirements

While the overall job descriptions and requirements for correctional officers in Oklahoma are quite similar, there may be some city-specific variations. For example, the duties of correctional officers in Oklahoma City involve providing security and supervision to inmates in various situations and activities, enforcing rules, and maintaining the security of assigned areas or posts.

It is crucial to research the specific job descriptions and requirements for the city in which you wish to work, as this information can help you tailor your application and prepare for interviews.

Salary and Benefits

Working as a correctional officer in Oklahoma, you’ll receive a competitive salary and benefits package. In this section, we will discuss:

  • The salary ranges for correctional officers in Oklahoma

  • Factors affecting pay

  • Various insurance plans, retirement plans, and paid time off benefits available to you.

Salary Ranges and Factors Affecting Pay

The average salary for a correctional officer in Oklahoma is $46,051 per year. Factors that influence the pay of a correctional officer in Oklahoma include duration of employment, employer, and level of experience. Additionally, overtime, work environment, and stress levels may also impact salary.

Increasing your earning potential as a correctional officer is possible through gaining experience and pursuing further education.

Health, Dental, and Life Insurance

Correctional officers in Oklahoma are provided with comprehensive health insurance policies, dental insurance plans, and a $20,000 life insurance policy. Health insurance options typically include coverage for medical services, prescription drugs, and preventive care, while dental insurance plans offer a choice between a Low Plan Option and a High Plan Option.

These benefits contribute to the overall wellbeing and financial security of correctional officers and their families.

Retirement Plans and Paid Time Off

Correctional officers in Oklahoma are eligible to participate in the retirement plans administered by the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS). OPERS offers several different retirement plans for state and local government employees, including correctional officers.

In terms of paid time off, the average allowance for a correctional officer in Oklahoma is 15 days per annum, with no accumulation limit. These retirement and paid time off benefits provide valuable support in maintaining a healthy work-life balance throughout your career.

Advancement Opportunities and Career Growth

Working as a correctional officer in Oklahoma presents numerous opportunities for career advancement and growth. In this section, we will explore:

  • Promotion opportunities

  • Specialized units

  • Pursuing higher education

  • Transitioning to related fields within the correctional system.

Promotions and Specialized Units

Correctional officers in Oklahoma have the potential to be promoted within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, with positions such as parole officers, probation training officers, district supervisors, and administrative roles open for promotion. Moreover, there may be chances for advancement in the fields of criminal justice, law enforcement, police science, and psychology.

Correctional officers in Oklahoma may also apply for specialized units such as Special Medical Units/Beds and Special Operations Response Teams (SORTs), which require specific training and skills to address medical crises and respond to prison disturbances.

Pursuing Higher Education and Degrees

Obtaining a higher degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, psychology, sociology, counseling, or another area of behavioral studies, can be advantageous for a correctional officer’s career in Oklahoma. Higher education can provide additional knowledge and skills that are conducive to career advancement in this field. Some of the highest quality education for correctional officers can be found at institutions such as:

  • Northeastern State University

  • Oklahoma City University

  • University of Oklahoma

  • University of Central Oklahoma

  • Bacone College

  • Cameron University

  • Redlands Community College

  • East Central University

In addition to advancement within the correctional system, correctional officers in Oklahoma may also transition to related fields such as:

  • Probation officer

  • Police officer

  • Forensic science technician

  • Private security

  • Border patrol

  • Customs

  • TSA security

The skills and experiences gained as a correctional officer can be highly transferable and valuable in correctional industries and related fields, opening up new possibilities for career growth and diversification, including corrections officer jobs.

Application and Hiring Process

The application and hiring process for correctional officers in Oklahoma is a multi-step procedure that includes:

  1. Application submission

  2. Provision of necessary documentation

  3. Participation in an interview

  4. Background check

Each of these steps will be outlined in more detail in the following subsections, giving you a clear understanding of what to expect when applying for a correctional officer position in Oklahoma.

Submitting an Application

To submit an application for a correctional officer position in Oklahoma, you can apply through various online platforms such as JoinODoc, ZipRecruiter, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, USA Jobs, Bureau of Prisons, and Government Jobs. Applications for correctional officer positions typically require information regarding your age, citizenship, education, experience, and any required certifications or licenses. Ensure that you have all the necessary documentation and meet the minimum requirements before submitting your application.

Required Documentation

When applying for a correctional officer position in Oklahoma, you will need to provide the following documentation:

  • Valid driver’s license

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship

  • High school diploma or GED

  • Any certifications/licenses specified by the position

Additionally, you must provide accurate contact information and complete a background check as part of the application process.

Interviews and Background Checks

The interview process for correctional officer positions in Oklahoma typically consists of:

  • A discussion with a sergeant or lieutenant

  • A background check covering work history, driving record, and criminal background

  • Answering job-related questions

The process can take up to approximately 30 minutes and may require a day or two to be completed.

It is important to prepare for the interview by researching the specific job requirements and responsibilities, and by practicing your responses to potential interview questions.

Tips for Success as a Correctional Officer

Success as a correctional officer in Oklahoma hinges on dedication, hard work, and adaptability to job challenges. In this final section, we will provide you with some tips and advice on how to:

  • Develop essential communication and interpersonal skills

  • Manage stress and maintain mental health

  • Maintain safety and security awareness in the workplace

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Effective communication and interpersonal skills are crucial for success as a correctional officer. By developing strong listening and speaking abilities, you can better understand the needs and concerns of inmates and colleagues, and foster a positive working environment. Additionally, honing your persuasive and influential communication skills can help you navigate challenging situations and maintain order within the correctional facility.

Participating in a training program that focuses on interpersonal communication in a correctional setting can also be beneficial for further skill development.

Stress Management and Mental Health

Managing stress and maintaining sound mental health are essential for success as a correctional officer. Some strategies for managing job-related stress include:

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate rest

  • Practicing deep relaxation techniques

  • Seeking professional counseling or peer support

  • Fostering staff wellness through supportive policies and training programs.

By prioritizing self-care and stress management, you can ensure that you are better equipped to handle the challenges of the job and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Safety and Security Awareness

As a correctional officer in Oklahoma, maintaining safety and security awareness is of utmost importance. This includes:

  • Being knowledgeable about potential risks

  • Familiarizing yourself with the regulations and protocols in place to protect staff and inmates

  • Being able to identify and respond to any security breaches.

Additionally, becoming proficient in the use of safety tools and the appropriate application of force when necessary is crucial for maintaining safety and security within the correctional facility.


In conclusion, becoming a successful correctional officer in Oklahoma requires meeting specific requirements, undergoing rigorous training and certification, and being adaptable to the unique demands of the job. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you are well on your way to embarking on a rewarding and challenging career as a correctional officer in Oklahoma. Remember to prioritize your mental health, develop strong communication and interpersonal skills, and maintain safety and security awareness at all times. Best of luck in your journey to becoming a correctional officer in Oklahoma!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a co make in Oklahoma?

Correctional Officers in Oklahoma are paid an average salary of $44,915 per year or $21.59 per hour. This is 34% above the national average and equivalent to $863/week or $3,742/month.

What is the physical fitness test for Oklahoma Department of Corrections?

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections physical fitness test includes a basic physical assessment which includes a 1.5 mile run/walk, one (1) minute of push-ups and one (1) minute of sit-ups.

What are the basic requirements to become a correctional officer in Oklahoma?

To become a correctional officer in Oklahoma, applicants must be at least 21 years of age, possess U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, have a high school diploma or GED, and have no felony convictions.

What kind of training do correctional officers receive in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma correctional officers receive comprehensive training from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Training Academy, which includes on-the-job training and mentorship.

What benefits are available to correctional officers in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma correctional officers enjoy comprehensive benefits including health, dental, and life insurance as well as retirement plans and paid time off.

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