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

Are you considering a career as a correctional officer in Oregon? You’re on the right path! Correctional officers play a vital role in maintaining public safety, supervising inmates, and managing correctional facilities. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to become a correctional officer in Oregon, the training and certification process, eligibility criteria, and the many career advancement opportunities available to you. Get ready to embark on a rewarding and fulfilling career in corrections.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Understand the role of a correctional officer in Oregon: ensuring public safety, supervising inmates and managing facilities.

  • Meet eligibility criteria including age, citizenship requirements, educational background & clean criminal record.

  • Enjoy competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits while navigating stress management & work/life balance for job satisfaction.

Understanding the Role of a Correctional Officer in Oregon

A correctional officer in Oregon shoulders a significant responsibility, as they are entrusted with safeguarding public safety, overseeing inmates, and managing correctional facilities. The primary duty of a correctional officer is to supervise inmate activity and guarantee the safety of inmates, staff, and the public inside and around the facility. They also work to prevent future criminal behavior among inmates.

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) emphasizes employee health and well-being by normalizing the correctional environment, thus improving outcomes for incarcerated individuals, also known as the “Oregon Way”. DOC upholds standard practices which ensure the protection of personnel, AICs, contractors, volunteers and members of the public. These standards guarantee safety and security and are synonymous with the corrections profession. They also establish partnerships with victims, community members, public agencies, and private agencies to fulfill their mission, vision, and values, which include maintaining correctional security and safety.

Public Safety

Correctional officers are responsible for:

  • Safeguarding prisons

  • Mediating disputes

  • Enforcing regulations

  • Monitoring prisoner welfare

  • Holding offenders accountable

  • Protecting the public by securely containing offenders in Oregon to ensure public safety

To guarantee public safety and adhere to Oregon law, correctional officers in Oregon are required to attend the Correctional Services Training Academy for a minimum of eight weeks.

The Oregon Department of Corrections plays an integral role in public safety, as it operates prisons and ensures the care and custody of adults sentenced to incarceration. They are responsible for managing the state’s prison system, including supervising inmate work crews and ensuring the security and well-being of inmates.

Over the years, Oregon has seen a progression in public safety measures in correctional facilities. This includes:

  • The establishment of the first Oregon Territory Jail in 1842

  • The construction of additional facilities

  • The implementation of institutional programming to reduce recidivism and enhance safety in prisons

Inmate Supervision

The role of a correctional officer in inmate supervision in Oregon entails:

  • Controlling, directing, and monitoring inmates within a correctional institution or satellite facility

  • Overseeing their daily activities and ensuring compliance with the rules

  • Providing continuous observation and person-to-person interaction with adults in custody.

In order to effectively supervise inmates, correctional officers in Oregon utilize a variety of strategies, such as:

  • Individualized case plans

  • Community supervision and programs

  • Assessing supervision levels based on interventions and available services

  • Implementing supervision strategies for improved correctional outcomes

  • Possessing practical problem-solving techniques

  • Implementing dynamic security

Entry-level correctional officers receive training and support to develop these skills.

In Oregon, maximum security prisons have a more stringent inmate supervision process than other facility types, housing inmates who have committed violent crimes and received long sentences, with the highest security measures and custody practices.

Facility Management

Correctional officers in Oregon play a pivotal role in facility management by:

  • Enforcing regulations and upholding order within the prison

  • Observing inmate activities

  • Guaranteeing inmate safety

  • Supervising inmate labor

  • Verifying compliance with agency guidelines and standards

They are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage the day-to-day operations of the facility, ensuring a safe and secure environment for staff, inmates, and the public.

Eligibility Criteria for Becoming a Correctional Officer in Oregon

To become a correctional officer in Oregon, candidates must meet specific age, citizenship, education, and background check requirements.

The next few sections will provide more detail on these requirements and the steps necessary to become a correctional officer in Oregon.

Age and Citizenship Requirements

The minimum age requirement to become a correctional officer in Oregon is 21 years of age. US citizenship is also a mandatory requirement for becoming a correctional officer in Oregon.

Fulfilling these age and citizenship requirements brings you a step closer to a rewarding career in corrections.

Educational Background

In order to become a correctional officer in Oregon, applicants must be at least 21 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and possess a high school diploma or GED certificate. Although there are no specific courses or fields of study required for aspiring correctional officers, having a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, criminology, corrections, psychology, sociology, or counseling may be advantageous.

A solid educational background equips you with the necessary foundation and knowledge for a successful career as a correctional officer.

Background Checks and Valid Driver’s License

To become a correctional officer in Oregon, one must possess the following qualifications:

  • No felonies or serious misdemeanors in their criminal history

  • Ability to pass a drug screen

  • 20/30 corrected vision in each eye

  • Valid Oregon driver’s license for transportation needs and proper identification and documentation for carrying out duties efficiently.

Training Programs and Certifications

After fulfilling the eligibility criteria, you must complete the required training programs and certifications. In Oregon, correctional officer training includes programs provided by the Oregon Department of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. These programs offer broad training, equipping you with the necessary skills and knowledge for the role.

Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) Training

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) Training for correctional officers comprises a year-long program that encompasses:

  • Classroom training

  • Online courses

  • Health and fitness classes

  • Force skills training

  • Comprehensive field training

New hires are required to finish 200 hours of training by the end of their first year. They have to take 40 hours of training each year from then onwards.

The Oregon DOC training program takes place at several facilities and institutions managed by the Oregon Department of Corrections. Upon completing this program, you will be adequately prepared to manage the duties and challenges associated with being a correctional officer in Oregon.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Training

In addition to the Oregon DOC training, the Federal Bureau of Prisons offers a comprehensive training program for correctional officers, covering topics such as inmate supervision, facility management, and public safety.

This program also provides a solid understanding of the federal regulations and procedures overseeing the operation of correctional facilities, including the management of a single correctional facility.

Application Process for Correctional Officer Jobs in Oregon

Now that you’re aware of the eligibility criteria and training programs, let’s discuss the application process for correctional officer jobs in Oregon. This involves an online application, testing requirements, and interviews.

In the next sections, we’ll walk you through each step of the application process.

Online Application

To apply for correctional officer positions in Oregon, you’ll need to submit an online application through the official website. When submitting your application, you may need to include documents such as college transcripts, military DD214 forms, and any licenses required for the particular job.

Testing Requirements

As part of the application process, you’ll be required to take the National Testing Network (NTN) REACT test and the Oregon Physical Abilities Test (ORPAT). These tests assess your general knowledge, basic skills, career-specific aptitude, and ability to observe and recall facts and information.

The structure and format of the correctional officer tests in Oregon can differ based on the agency or organization administering them. For more information on the structure and format of these tests, refer to the official website of the Oregon Department of Corrections or contact the relevant agency.

Interviews and Hiring Process

The interview process for correctional officer jobs in Oregon typically involves the following stages:

  1. Initial review

  2. Written assessment

  3. Phone screen

  4. Performance exam

  5. Oral exam

These stages help verify the information submitted in your application and address any information discovered during the background investigation.

Once you successfully complete the application process and interviews, you will be on your way to launching your career as a correctional officer in Oregon.

Career Advancement Opportunities for Correctional Officers in Oregon

As a correctional officer in Oregon, you’ll have various career advancement opportunities at your disposal. These include promotional opportunities, specialized positions, and leadership roles.

The upcoming sections will outline the various career advancement paths in corrections.

Promotional Opportunities

The Oregon Department of Corrections offers promotional opportunities for correctional officers. These advancements allow you to progress in your career and take on new responsibilities. Ranks available for promotional opportunities include:

  • Corporal

  • Sergeant

  • Lieutenant

  • Correctional Hearings Officer

Pursuing these promotional opportunities enables professional growth and a more significant impact within the corrections system.

Specialized Positions

In addition to promotional opportunities, there are specialized positions available for correctional officers in Oregon. These positions may include assignments in:

  • Towers

  • Gate control

  • Housing units

  • Segregation

  • Recreation

  • Mobile patrol

  • Special details

  • The mail room

Taking on specialized positions allows for skill set expansion and unique contributions to the safety and security of the facility, including the implementation of additional four security classifications.

Leadership Roles

Correctional officers in Oregon can also advance to leadership roles, such as Corporal, Sergeant, and Lieutenant. These positions require excellent leadership skills and the ability to oversee and direct the work of other correctional officers, ensuring the security, discipline, and well-being of inmates, as well as competently managing and leading their team.

As your career progresses, leadership roles provide the chance to create substantial impacts within the corrections system.

Benefits and Compensation for Correctional Officers in Oregon

In addition to the rewarding nature of the job, correctional officers in Oregon enjoy competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits. These benefits include medical and retirement benefits, as well as paid leave and vacation days.

The upcoming sections will detail the various benefits and compensation you can anticipate as a correctional officer in Oregon.

Competitive Salaries

The average salary for a correctional officer in Oregon is $25.97 per hour or $47,566 per year, which is comparable to the national average. Factors that may impact a correctional officer’s salary in Oregon include:

  • Duration of employment

  • Location

  • Level of education

  • Years of experience

  • Work environment

  • Other elements specific to the institution or employer

Competitive salaries ensure that you are fairly compensated for your hard work and dedication, making a career in corrections fulfilling.

Medical and Retirement Benefits

Oregon Correctional officers receive comprehensive medical, dental and vision plans. Both employees and their dependents can enjoy this benefit without having to pay any premiums. These benefits ensure that you and your family have access to quality healthcare while you serve in this important role.

In terms of retirement benefits, correctional officers in Oregon are eligible for the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP). This plan is designed to provide approximately 45 percent of their final average salary at retirement, ensuring financial security for you and your loved ones in the future.

Paid Leave and Vacation Days

Correctional officers in Oregon are offered paid vacation days, sick leave, and personal leave. The amount of vacation days and other types of paid leave may vary depending on years of service and classification.

The provision of paid leave and vacation days by the Oregon Department of Corrections underscores the significance of work-life balance for its employees and promotes their well-being.

Challenges and Rewards of Being a Correctional Officer in Oregon

The role of a correctional officer in Oregon encompasses various challenges and rewards. This section will cover topics such as job satisfaction, stress management, and achieving work-life balance. These aspects shape the overall experience of being a correctional officer in Oregon and can assist you in evaluating if this career path suits you.

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction for correctional officers in Oregon is often derived from:

  • Enjoyment and pride in their job

  • Health-promoting correctional environments

  • Adequate staffing levels

  • Fair compensation and benefits

  • A supportive work culture and relationships

  • Opportunities for professional growth and development

Despite the challenges, many correctional officers find fulfillment in their work, knowing that they are making a positive difference in the lives of adults in custody.

Nonetheless, compared to other states, job satisfaction among Oregon correctional officers is relatively low, likely due to the job’s demanding and stressful nature. Weighing the rewards against the challenges and considering the factors affecting job satisfaction is key to making a thoughtful decision about pursuing this career.

Managing Stress

Correctional officers in Oregon may face common stressors such as:

  • an “us versus them” mentality in police culture

  • high-stress environments

  • potential confrontation with high rates of suicide and PTSD

  • physical and emotional maladies

  • trauma and stress experienced by incarcerated individuals

  • critical stress that may or may not be related to a traumatic incident

Managing stress is crucial for the well-being of correctional officers.

Correctional officers in Oregon can manage work-related stress through:

  • Seeking support

  • Practicing self-care

  • Developing coping mechanisms

  • Maintaining work-life balance

Programs like the Wellness for Corrections and Supervision Professionals from the National Institute of Corrections, the Behavioral Health Program from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), and employee assistance programs provide resources for stress management and well-being promotion.

Work-Life Balance

The work-life balance for correctional officers in Oregon is the capacity to sustain an optimal equilibrium between their professional and personal lives. It’s essential for correctional officers to identify approaches to achieve work-life balance and regulate the effect of shift work on their well-being.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be achieved through methods such as taking time off, effective schedule management, prioritizing self-care, and utilizing available resources.


In conclusion, becoming a correctional officer in Oregon involves meeting specific eligibility criteria, completing comprehensive training programs, and navigating the application process. Despite the challenges, a career in corrections offers competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and various opportunities for career advancement. As a correctional officer, you’ll play a vital role in maintaining public safety, supervising inmates, and managing correctional facilities. With dedication and commitment, you can make a lasting impact on the lives of those in your care and contribute to a safer, more just society.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the Oregon Corrections Academy?

The Oregon Corrections Academy is a yearlong program that consists of classroom training, online courses, and fitness and force skills training. It is certified by the Department of Public Safety Standards & Training and is portable to other correctional agencies in Oregon.

What are the minimum qualifications to be a correctional officer in Oregon?

To become a correctional officer in Oregon, you must be at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen with a high school diploma or GED, have no felony convictions after the age of 18, and successfully pass a background investigation and physical assessment.

Are correctional officers considered law enforcement in Oregon?

Yes, correctional officers in Oregon are considered law enforcement officers as they fall under the scope of the Public Safety Standards and Training Act, which is tracked by the Department of Public Safety Standards & Training.

What are the ranks in correctional officers in Oregon?

In Oregon, the ranks for correctional officers are from entry level Correctional Officer to the highest rank of Captain. Intermediate ranks include Corporal, Sergeant and Lieutenant.

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

You must be 21 years old to become a correctional officer in Oregon.

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