How to Become a Correctional Officer in Delaware

The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) is one of the largest agencies in the state. The DOC employs over 2,000 staff members and supervises between 4,000 – 5,000 inmates.

The DOC is dedicated to providing a wide range of programs, including mental health treatment, to ensure successful reentry into the community better. By providing treatment, training, and ongoing support services, the DOC is helping keep its community safer.

The DOC works with the Delaware Correctional Industries (DCI) to provide additional services. The DCI supports the DOC’s mission of providing employable skills, including soft skills, to the inmate population in an ongoing effort to reduce recidivism. 

Prison guard leading criminal in handcuffs


Delaware has high expectations for Correctional Officer candidates. Corrections work requires officers to be self-motivating and are expected to accept significant responsibility and handle potentially dangerous situations.

Delaware’s Correctional Officers must learn a wide range of subjects quickly and demonstrate the mental fortitude and physical strength required to remain focused in emotionally volatile environments. The DOC is looking for applicants who will accept the challenge of working with an exciting and rewarding agency.

As a Correctional Officer, you will maintain the discipline and security of each post you are assigned. Once you have completed orientation and on-the-job training, you will be expected to perform the following duties (the list is not all-inclusive):

  • Maintain control of all inmates while escorting them inside the facility and during transfers or court appearances.
  • Keep an accurate count of all inmates assigned to your post.
  • Conduct irregular searches of inmates, visitors, employees, and all structures for contraband.
  • Correctly open and secure manual and electronic locking devices. 
  • Consistently enforces rules and regulations with all inmates.
  • Constantly look for unusual or prohibited behavior that may lead to the facility or inmate security threats.
  • Keep accurate records and reports for supervisors and other officers.
  • May be required to enter institutions during disturbances and shakedown activities. 
  • May also participate in the tracking and apprehension of an escaped inmate.


Applicants for Delaware Correctional Officer positions must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be 19 ½ years of age or older
  • Have earned a High School Diploma or equivalent
  • Have a valid Driver’s License

Applicants will be required to complete a Personal History Statement (PHS) that will be used to contact personal references and check employment history, criminal background, and DMV records.

Applicants still being considered will undergo a selection interview. Questions will focus on your employment history and education, problem-solving skills, career goals, and interpersonal skills.

Applicants separated from any military branch must have an “honorable” or “under honorable conditions” discharge.

All applicants who receive a conditional offer of employment will also need to pass a pre-employment drug test and a series of tuberculin skin tests.

All applicants who receive a conditional offer of employment will need to pass a Physical Fitness Test which includes:

  • 400-yard run
  • Climbing and descending steps with job-related equipment
  • Dragging a device simulating pulling someone to safety

Another condition of employment is to pass a Psychological Examination performed by a Licensed Psychologist to evaluate the applicant’s suitability for work as a Law Enforcement Officer.

Disqualifying factors include:

  • Currently being on probation or having been on probation within the last four years
  • Two misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony conviction
  • Drug or domestic violence convictions
  • Two or more DUI convictions or having the first DUI sentence within the previous two years


All applicants who’ve completed the conditions of employment must complete the Correctional Employee Initial Training (CEIT) program. This program is 11 weeks long, and the coursework includes physical, classroom, and hands-on training. You will learn to supervise inmates properly, utilize defensive tactics, provide control during riot situations, safely and effectively use weapons, and write reports.

Expectations for the program include:

  • Be in good physical condition
    • Able to run one mile
    • Able to break up fights
    • Carry other staff
    • Restrain one or more inmates in violent encounters
    • Participate in invigorating activity while using a gas mask
  • Be mentally prepared
    • Able to work in pressure oriented environments
    • Appropriately address verbal abuse and attempts to manipulate
    • Work among large groups of inmates professionally, civilly, and within legal guidelines
  • Complete all training, including
    • Defensive tactics and restraints
    • Weapons training
    • Riot Control training
    • Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) training


The Delaware Department of Corrections does consider former employment with another state’s Department of Corrections when determining pay and training requirements. Employees of another state can get up to 10 years of credit for qualified service.


Delaware has formed a partnership with the University of Delaware to offer a 10% tuition savings on all eligible online Master’s degree programs. This program is available to all State of Delaware employees.

Some Criminology or Criminal Justice programs in Delaware include:

Wilmington University – Criminal Justice

University of Delaware – Criminal Justice

Delaware State University – Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Delaware as $48,700. Entry-level Correctional Officers start at Pay Grade 7 and can advance to Pay Grade 15. Some of the benefits of working with the DOC include:

  • Health Benefits, Dental Insurance, and Vision Insurance
  • Disability Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefits
  • Retirement Benefits
    • Law Enforcement Retirement providing the retiree has 25 years of pension creditable state service, with at least 20 of those years as a Correctional Officer
  • Career Long Training and Development Programs
  • Paid Time Off


The Delaware Department of Corrections employs Correctional Sergeants as recruiters who build and maintain more than 2,600 uniformed DOC employees.

The DOC recruiters work to attract new employees through job fairs, recruitment events, and community outreach.

The DOC is now offering a $5,000 signing bonus for Correctional Officers.


Delaware Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons (There are no federal prisons in Delaware, but there are in neighboring states).