How to Become a Correctional Officer in Alaska

The Alaska Department of Corrections (ADOC) comprises professionals committed to developing and maintaining a safe, open, and respectful organization. They are dedicated to public safety and respect the rights and dignity of victims of crime. Offenders will be treated safely and humanely and expected to make rehabilitative progress daily.

The ADOC is offering potential employees an excellent opportunity to join its workforce. Recruits will receive a $10,000 signing bonus in two installments. The first payment of $5,000 will be received shortly after hire.  The second payment of $5,000 will be received when the employee obtains their Alaska Police Standard Council certification. 

The ADOC provides secure confinement, reformative programs, and a process of supervised community reintegration to enhance the safety of our communities. You also get to live in Alaska, a great place to live and work. Alaska has something for everyone.

View of prison during sunset


ADOC employees are on the front lines of Law Enforcement and Public Safety, serving communities, upholding security inside correctional institutions, maintaining community safety, and providing direction to the inmate population as they progress through the correctional system.

Correctional Officers supervise some of the worst individuals society produces.  They must have the ability to handle confrontations, demonstrate good oral and written communication skills, interact with various types of people, stay calm under stress, be impartial, and be aware and observant at all times.  

Correctional officers must be committed to what they do to earn respect from coworkers and inmates.  An officer’s dedication to doing his job well keeps the facility operating smoothly.

ADOC employees will:

  • Maintain security within the institution and oversee the health and safety of staff and inmates.
  • Physically patrol and visually inspect units, yards, buildings, inmates, inmate property, and inmate clothing to ensure welfare, safety, and security.
  • Comply with and enforce security procedures.
  • Enforce institutional rules and Standard Operating Procedures.  
  • Explain rules and procedures to inmates, so they know your expectations and the consequences of their behavior.
  • Report infractions, confront inmates who violate rules and initiate segregation or disciplinary procedures.
  • Process remands from police and troopers.
  • Coordinate with the court system regarding transportation and court appearances.
  • Work and coordinate with the FBI, Alaska State Troopers, and other Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • Focus on stopping drugs and other contraband from entering the correctional system.  


The State of Alaska requires basic requirements to be met before being considered:

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Able to pass a medical exam including a drug test
  • Pass a psychological exam
  • Not have a felony or domestic violence conviction
  • Not have two DUIs in the past 10 years

Alaska requires its Correctional Officers to complete the Basic Correctional Officer Academy.  

Although the ADOC doesn’t require work experience to become a Correctional Officer, specific correctional officer job postings will indicate a preference for applicants with experience working with a particular group of people.  


The Basic Correctional Officer Academy is a six-week program that prepares candidates to become certified Correctional Officers under Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC) regulations.

The topics covered include departmental policies, communications, civil law, first aid/CPR, defensive tactics, firearms (shotgun), Correctional Officer survival skills, searches, and restraints.

The curriculum includes a variety of instructional methods and is provided in differing environments.  Instructors emphasize practical, hands-on training.  During the Academy, candidates will be sprayed with pepper spray, and the taser will be applied to part of the body if they choose.  The training concludes with a scenario in existing correctional facilities.  Candidates must pass all phases to be eligible for certification as a Correctional Officer.


The APSC may, at its discretion, waive part or all of the basic academy training if an applicant furnishes satisfactory evidence that the applicant completed an equivalent basic police training academy. A reciprocal Correctional Officer must still attend a council-certified recertification police training academy that consists of a minimum of 80 hours of classroom and practical training.


The Alaska Department of Administration has made it its policy to reimburse the cost of University accredited courses not to exceed $2,000 per calendar year per State employee.

Alaska Correctional Officers Association (ACOA) members who possess or achieve a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution shall receive a one-time-only step increase.

Examples of the Criminology and Criminal Justice programs offered at institutions in Alaska include:

The University of Alaska Fairbanks – Justice Degree

The University of Alaska Anchorage – Justice Degree

The University of Alaska Southeast – Justice Degree


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average Correctional Officer salary in Alaska as $67,020.  Alaska also offers excellent benefits. These include:

  • Competitive starting salary
  • Geographic differential pay
  • Accrued personal leave
  • 12 paid holidays
  • Paid life insurance
  • Health Flexible Spending Account
  • State-sponsored training and academy
  • Yearly pay increases for the first six years and every two years after that for acceptable service
  • 401k Retirement
  • Overtime opportunities
  • Special Operation Response Team (SORT) premium pay
  • Night and Swing Shift premium pay

Alaska’s retirement plan is a PERS Defined Contribution Retirement (DCR) Plan.  Eight percent (8%) of your wages and a five percent (5%) employer contribution are made before taxes each pay period.  These contributions, plus any change in value, are payable to you after you vest (Correctional Officers vest after five years of service).

To ensure a more significant benefit to employees, the State of Alaska opted out of the Social Security system for state employees on January 1, 1980. The State contributes 6.13 % of your wages, and you contribute 6.13%, up to the maximum taxable Social Security earnings ($132,900 in 2019). You can control the investment of this money in the various options the State provides through Great West (Empower Retirement).

The State pays a Basic Life premium which pays $10,000 upon the employee’s death to the employee’s beneficiary, with smaller amounts for the employee’s dependents’ deaths.  You may also enroll in Option Life for a meager cost.  The State also pays an Accidental Death & Dismemberment premium for employees.


Alaska is clearly promoting a need for Correctional Officers through a $10,000 signing bonus.  This bonus, paired with their very competitive salary, makes it an excellent time to join the ADOC.


Alaska Department of Corrections (ADOC)