How to Become a Correctional Officer in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) protects and serves the public by managing offenders and helping to provide a safe and secure environment for the state’s residents. The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and supervises nearly 52,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state, with approximately 10,500 employees.

The GDC has proven to be on the cutting edge of Corrections. It currently supervises seven close security prisons. These offenders are classified as close security typically because of: escape risk, assaultive behavior, identified as a danger to staff or inmates, or have detainers for serious crimes.

Along with many other states, Georgia is working towards criminal justice reform measures to restrain skyrocketing prison costs. Georgia has plans for less expensive community-based sentencing alternatives for low level, non-violent drug and property offenders

criminal being counseled


Georgia Department of Corrections Officers will:

  • Maintain custody and security of prisoners and other incarcerated offenders
  • Maintain order in correctional institutions and other places of detention
  • Enforce all policies, rules, procedures, regulations, and state laws necessary for control and management of offenders and maintenance of public safety
  • Inventories and maintains control of logs, keys, tools, and weapons
  • Observes inmate behavior to prevent disturbances and escapes
  • Oversees offenders during work assignments, meals, and recreation periods
  • Patrols assigned areas
  • Transports offenders

GDC Correctional Officers will complete initial basic training once hired and participate in annual training to maintain certification in various skills. As a Correctional Officer, you will receive training in:

  • Firearms
  • Deadly Force
  • De-Escalation
  • Community Policing

Correctional Officers may also receive training in:

  • Cell Extractions
  • Chemical Munitions
  • Less Lethal Munitions
  • Escorts and Transports
  • Offender Searches

Additional units include:

  • Corrections Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
  • Tactical (TACT) Squads
  • Canine Units
  • Fugitive Squad


Minimum Requirements for Correctional Officers positions:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A US Citizen
  • High School diploma or state-issued GED Certificate
  • Possess good moral character
  • Complete a personal interview
  • Free from any physical, emotional, or mental condition which might adversely affect exercising the essential tasks or duties of a peace officer
  • Complete the Peace Officer’s Standards and Training (POST) Entrance Examinations
  • No felony convictions, a misdemeanor of domestic violence, or multiple misdemeanors

Applicants for a Correctional Officer position must provide:

  • A completed State of Georgia Application for Employment
  • High School Diploma or state-issued GED Certificate
  • Social Security Card or another official document to establish employability
  • Birth Certificate
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • DD214 (if applicable)
  • Proof of registration with the Selective Service or of being exempt from registration

Applicants must be willing to work any shift. Shift assignments are not permanent and are subject to change. Applicants must be willing to:

  • Undergo a criminal background investigation
  • Undergo a pre-employment drug screening
  • Pass an online GDC integrity test (only available from GDC Human Resources)
  • Complete a medical examination at your expense

Once hired, employees must:

  • Provide driver’s history for the past seven years if they have possessed a license in any state other than Georgia
  • Pass a five-week Basic Correctional Officer Training program
  • Become POST certified


The GDC has a long history of prioritizing staff development. The Professional Development department was started after Georgia law required Correctional officers to be certified law enforcement officers. The Georgia Public Safety Training Center provides:

  • Legally mandated training to all sworn staff
  • Advanced and specialized training for sworn and non-sworn employees
  • Develops professional development topics and programs in support of the department’s mission 

Minimum Physical Requirements for Correctional Officers include:

  • Female applicants: Four pushups in one minute, eight sit-ups in one minute, and run one mile in 16 minutes or less
  • Male applicants: Eight pushups in one minute, 12 sit-ups in one minute, and run one mile in 16 minutes or less
  • Vision: Minimum vision of 20/40 in each eye, corrected or uncorrected. Adequate depth perception and the ability to distinguish colors
  • Peripheral vision: At least 70 degrees in each eye
  • Hearing: Hearing loss no greater than 24dB for the average frequencies 500Hz, 1000Hz, and 3000Hz in the better ear, unaided or aided

Georgia Department of Corrections Requirements:

  • Must meet all the requirements of the Peace Officer Standards & Training Council (POST)
  • Receive POST Certification

NOTE: Applicants who do not meet the Minimum Qualifications cannot become a GDC Correctional Officer


Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, Certification and Training Division, and Department of Officer Certification will evaluate out-of-state course equivalency ratings for approval or disapproval.


Several Colleges and Universities in Georgia offer Criminal Justice and Criminology programs. Troy University, an Alabama-based University, has partnered with the GDC to provide tuition scholarships to all Georgia Department of Corrections full-time employees. Scholarships apply to all University degree programs and certificate programs at all University locations, including online offerings. The scholarship includes a 10% tuition scholarship, waived application fee, and free unofficial transcript evaluation.

Some Criminology and Criminal Justice programs in Georgia include:

University of Georgia – Criminal Justice Studies Program

Georgia Southwestern State University – Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Georgia as $36,390.

Some of the benefits of working with the GDC include:

  • State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP)
    • Georgia Department of Community Health administers coverage for state employees, teachers, public school employees, retirees, and former employees
  • Flexible Benefits Program
    • Dental
    • Vision
    • Life Insurance
    • Short and Long Term Disability
    • Long Term Care
    • Legal Services
    • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Georgia State Employee Pension and Savings Plan (GSEPS)
    • Defined Benefit (Pension)
      • Mandatory employee contribution to defined benefit is 1.25%
    • Peach State Reserves 401(k) Plan
      • Employer match (3% maximum)
      • Employer matches 100% of employee first 1% contribution
      • Employer matches 50% of employee contributions of 2% through 5%
  • Vesting for the GSEPS pension is 10 years and entitles the pensioner to a lifetime of benefits from the plan


The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) always looks for top-quality candidates to fill new positions and those vacated by its retirement force. 

Georgia also has two Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities, a BOP Regional Office, two federal contract facilities, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).

Those interested in becoming a Correctional Officer in Georgia have a wide range of opportunities to begin and advance their career.


Georgia Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons

CoreCivic – Private Prison Contractor

GEO – Private Prison Contractor