How to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama

The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) is Alabama’s largest law enforcement agency. It provides a comparable starting salary with outstanding benefits. The ADOC is continually improving its security measures, operational procedures, and rehabilitative services. However, the department is currently understaffed and needs your help. The ADOC is looking for honest, hardworking, reliable officers who will maintain their integrity.

Employees who want to advance during their careers will find ample opportunities. There are over 25 facilities and community-based facilities/work camps. The ADOC currently employs over 3,100 Correctional Officers and houses over 20,000 inmates in locations throughout the state. 

Correctional Officers are law enforcement officers, and Alabama expects its Correctional Officers to maintain a professional nature and an upstanding reputation. You will be fingerprinted and undergo a background check. If you have a history of domestic violence, a felony conviction, or a dishonorable discharge from any United States Armed Forces, you will be ineligible for these positions.  

Blonde inmate in an asian women's general security officer 


Beginning your career in corrections can be extremely challenging. It takes time to learn the policy and procedures for the various posts you will fill, practice to develop good communication skills for interacting with the inmates, and training to learn the other skills needed in corrections. The ADOC expects the following from their Correctional Officers:

  • The ability to communicate confidently, clearly, and calmly in all situations.
  • The self-discipline to complete their work while reacting to sometimes stressful situations logically and not emotionally.
  • The ability to work with and support coworkers – teamwork is critical in a correctional environment. The job can be very stressful, but that stress is easier to manage within a team environment.  
  • The willingness to maintain physical fitness – this job can be physically demanding and includes subduing and restraining inmates. Being physically fit will improve your stamina and ability to intervene in these situations appropriately. 

You may start your career at one of the entry-level positions beginning as a Basic Correctional Officer (BCO) or a Correctional Officer Trainee (COT). 

  • The Basic Correctional Officer (BCO) is an entry-level position. BCOs work many posts inside the facilities. Their primary responsibilities include supervising inmates and dormitories, conducting searches, working in dining halls, managing other functions requiring inmate supervision, and promoting rehabilitation. 
  • The Correctional Officer Trainee (COT) is an entry-level position that prepares employees to become correctional officers. COTs perform all the duties of a BCO, plus COTs must have firearms certification allowing them to work other posts, such as transferring inmates, providing security for recreation, and operating perimeter trucks. 

You will also have the opportunity to apply for Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) membership or the K9 Operations.  


Correctional Officers work in a potentially hostile environment and with sensitive material each day. Alabama expects its officers to perform professionally, fairly, and consistently. For this reason, the ADOC is looking for QUALITY candidates. New hires must: 

  • Be 19 years of age  
  • Have a high school diploma or GED  
  • Possess a valid driver’s license  
  • Be a U.S. Citizen  
  • Pass the drug screen and background check  
  • Have no felony or domestic violence convictions  
  • Be honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces (if applicable) 

After reviewing the above information, Human Resources staff will provide Basic Correctional Officer (BCO) candidates with a date and time to report to the ADOC Training Academy for a six-week training program. 

Correctional Officer Trainee (COT) candidates must: 

  • Pass a written examination 
  • Complete the Physical Abilities Test, including: 
    • 22 push-ups in one minute 
    • 25 sit-ups in one minute 
    • Run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes, 28 seconds (or less) 
  • Complete the Physical Agilities Test, including: 
    • Pushing a vehicle for 15 feet 
    • Climbing up and over a chain-link fence or a wooden wall 
    • Crawling through a window 
    • Traversing a balance beam 
    • Dragging a 165 lb dummy for 15 feet 
    • Running between obstacles for a distance 
  • Perform trigger pulls for 30 seconds with: 
    • Strong hand:  18 times 
    • Weak hand:  12 times 

COT candidates must also complete a ten-week training program. 

The ADOC offers bonuses of up to $7,500 for the following: $1,500 after completing the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards of Training Commission (APOSTC) Academy, $1,500 upon attaining status as a CO, $1,875 upon earning merit system status as a CO, Senior, and $2,625 upon a one-year anniversary of achieving status as a CO, Senior.


Basic Correctional Officers will receive ADOC certification upon completion of the six-week training.   

Correctional Officer Trainees will receive ADOC certification and APOSTC certification.  


Human Resources staff will consider prior Correctional Officer or other Law Enforcement Officer experience upon application.  



The ADOC understands the importance of continuing your education and provides pay increases based on your educational achievements. You can find information about Criminology and Criminal Justice programs in Alabama below:  

Troy University – Criminal Justice

Troy University provides tuition and fee reduction to all Alabama State Employees Association employees, including a 10% tuition scholarship.

University of Alabama – Criminology and Criminal Justice

Auburn University at Montgomery – Criminal Justice

Alabama State University – Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average Alabama Correctional Officer salary as $40,250. 

Alabama offers excellent benefits, including: 

  • Health and Dental Insurance
  • 13 Annual Leave Days
  • 13 Annual Sick Leave Days
  • 13 Paid Holidays
  • Longevity Bonus after five years of State Service
  • APOSTC certified employees are eligible for subsistence pay
  • 21 days of Paid Military Leave Annually
  • Probationary, Promotional, and Annual Merit Salary Raise Opportunities
  • State Retirement Plan and Supplemental Retirement Investment Programs
  • Furnished Uniforms
  • Training and Professional Development Programs



The ADOC has made increases in staffing over the last five years. The 2021 Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that Alabama employed 5,890 Correctional Officers / Workers. The ADOC is frequently holding hiring events throughout the state.  



Alabama Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons