How to Become a Correctional Officer in Idaho

The Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) houses approximately 8,000 inmates in county jails, state prisons, and community reentry centers. The IDOC is working toward a safer Idaho with fewer incarcerated citizens. To accomplish this goal, staff members are creating a model correctional system that provides programming opportunities through community experience, encourages relationships with family and others, and helps the victim of crime rebuild.

The IDOC values integrity in each staff member and all interactions with others. Employees must respect the population’s diversity and interact humanely with those under its jurisdiction. The department is actively engaged in keeping the inmate population involved in educational, treatment, or work opportunities and provides opportunities for residents to become involved.


IDOC Officers are considered the front line. Correctional Officers are involved in day-to-day operations. Correctional Officers will search cells and common areas, monitor all inmate movement, and provide overall security for the facility.

IDOC Correctional Officer duties include:

  • Supervise incarcerated residents in work, living, and recreational situations
  • Providing security for staff and residents using a variety of techniques, including verbal communication skills, de-escalation techniques, and physical control measures, as necessary
  • Responding to emergencies
  • Assisting with facility operations
  • Conducting multiple counts to ensure safety and security; maintaining count and daily logs
  • Escort or transport inmates inside the facility and out
  • Maintain all forms, court documents, reports, and count sheets
  • Search and inventory inmate property; search housing units, living areas, and common areas; conduct unclothed body or pat searches


The Idaho Department of Corrections has established the following minimum requirements for employment:

  • Be age 18 or older
  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Have a High School Diploma or GED
  • Have no felony convictions and no misdemeanors related to deceit, drugs, or sex in the last five years
  • Be able to pass a background investigation

Those interested in becoming an IDOC Correctional Officer and who meet the minimum requirements must:

  • Complete the online application
  • Complete and submit a background investigation questionnaire (BIQ)
  • Bring the following documents
    • Proof of Education – High School Diploma, High School Transcripts, GED, or Official College Transcripts
    • Proof of Citizenship – Birth Certificate, Passport, Naturalization Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, Report of Birth Abroad
    • Military Service – DD214
    • Court and Police Document for any misdemeanor charges within the last ten years

If chosen to continue the interview process, the applicant will:

  • Participate in an interview scheduled by a human resources representative
  • Complete the Physical Readiness Test (PRT), comprising five activities designed to simulate the physical requirements of being a Correctional Officer. These include:
    • 880 Yard Walk/Run/Jog in eight minutes
    • Climb a ladder, dismount onto a platform, and return down the ladder
    • Bend down to open a locked box and return four times
    • Carry 50 pounds for 20 feet and return it
    • Maneuver head first on your back under a 24-inch barrier
  • Receive a conditional offer of employment and complete an application to the Peace Officer Standard and Training (POST) Academy
  • Complete academy and become POST certified

The Idaho Department of Corrections offers part-time Correctional Officer positions to qualified applicants. To qualify, applicants must:

  • Be Idaho POST certified as a Correctional Officer
  • Meet minimum qualifications for the IDOC Correctional Officer position
  • Pass a background and fingerprint check
  • Complete the Physical Readiness Test (PRT) and a medical screening


Idaho Department of Correction employees learn the skills needed to succeed as Correctional Officers during the ten weeks of training, including New Employee Orientation, Job Shadowing, POST Academy, and Field Training. During the ten weeks of training, employees will receive:

  • New Employee Orientation
    • IDOC Policies and Procedures
    • Employment Benefits 
    • New Hire Paperwork and Facility Tours
    • Basic Overview of Security Practices
  • Job Shadowing
    • Shadow a Training Officer
    • Observer Only Perspective of Correctional Officer Duties
    • Experience Institutional Environment
  • Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Instruction
    • Arrest Techniques
    • Con Games
    • CPR and First Aid
    • Report Writing Skills
    • Effective Communication Skills
  • Field Training Program
    • Work with Training Officer to Enhance POST Academy Training
    • Perform duties as a Correctional Officer
    • Complete a Field Training Manual
    • Firearms Certification

To complete the academy, students must maintain an academic average of at least 75%. Firearms and Defensive Tactics are practical skills tests and may require a higher passing score or a pass/fail evaluation.

Students attending the POST academy will sign a two-year agreement on the first day of the academy per statute. Failure to complete the terms of the contract may cause financial consequences.


The IDOC does accept training from approved institutions. An applicant must meet the college/ university requirements for admission and POST minimum standards for certification and employment. Applicants can take these POST-approved programs in place of attending the POST academy.


Some Criminology and Criminal Justice programs in Idaho include:

University of Idaho – Criminology

Idaho State University – Sociology with Criminology Concentration

Boise State – Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Idaho as $45,540.

Some of the benefits of working with the IDOC include:

  • Competitive pay
  • Low-cost medical insurance, dental insurance, and vision service plans
  • One of the nation’s best state retirement systems – PERSI Retirement
  • Flex Spending account
  • 11 Paid Holidays
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Start earning sick and vacation time when hired
  • Opportunities for career advancement


The Idaho Department of Corrections has developed an employee-focused work environment. Whenever possible, the department seeks to promote staff from within its ranks. Staff who started as Correctional Officers or other entry-level positions now serve in supervisory and management positions within the department.

The IDOC is diligently working to fill behind promotions and retirements. The department is advertising starting Correctional Officer positions at $20.25 per hour, a one-time sign-on bonus of $1,500, and a $1,500 yearly retention bonus for the first five years. Idaho offers competitive pay, great benefits, retirement, and advancement opportunities for newly hired Correctional Officers.


Idaho Department of Corrections

CoreCivic – Private Prison Contractor