How to Become a Correctional Officer in Indiana

The State of Indiana is a diverse workforce offering employees exciting opportunities within various career opportunities. As a state employee, you will impact the well-being of your state every day. 

Indiana’s Department of Corrections offers to help you begin an exciting career path through public service, diversity, and work-life balance. As the largest agency in the State of Indiana, the Indiana Department of Correction employs more than 6,400 staff members and is responsible for the safety and security of more than 25,000 adults inside correctional facilities.


The Correctional Officer position is an exciting opportunity to launch a Criminal Justice career. Correctional Officers build experience by ensuring the maintenance of order, control, and supervision of offenders in a state correctional institution.

Officers report directly to the Sergeant, work 12-hour shifts, and rotate across various duty assignments as needed. 

Correctional Officers perform tasks such as the following:

  • Patrol assigned areas
  • Supervise and escort offenders in various work details,
  • Keep records and prepare reports on offender movement, progress, problems, and rule violations.
  • Some assignments may include but are not limited to tower duty, visitor processing, package searches for contraband, vehicle searches, and lock control.

Incumbent must be able to do the following:

  • Defend oneself physically;
  • Act quickly and effectively in an emergency,
  • Be willing to participate in and complete all required training programs.

Correctional Officers are responsible for supervising the offenders and monitoring their daily activities. This includes directing and ensuring offenders eat meals, attend recreation, attend education, participate in programs, and report to work assignments on schedule.  

Some specific IDOC posts include:

  • Housing Unit Range Officer
    • Provides security of the housing unit and ensures the safety of staff and inmates. 
    • Ensures offenders comply with all housing unit rules and regulations
  • Control Center Officer
    • Provide entrance and exit security and assist with perimeter security through monitors and alarms
    • Provide communication during emergencies
    • Control all radio operations 
    • Contact point for secure radio and key exchange


The IDOC has established the following minimum requirements to be considered for employment as a Correctional Officer:

  • Have a High School Diploma or equivalent
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be available to travel
  • Must test negative on all drug screenings
  • Have the ability to work with and around inmates
  • Be available to work overtime on any shift
  • Able to deploy chemical agents
  • Able to communicate by giving clear directions to inmates and complete reports
  • Possess and be able to use critical thinking skills


Applicants for Correctional Officer positions must:

  • Submit completed application and resume
    • Include relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the duties of Correctional Officer successfully
  • Undergo background check process (two separate checks)
    • Performed by Background Verification Unit
    • Performed by Barada Inc.
  • Participate in a period of job shadowing
  • Receive final offer (after all background clearances are complete)


Applicants who have completed a certified law enforcement basic training course in another state and have documented full-time service for at least one year may be eligible for a partial waiver of Indiana’s basic training requirement. The newly hired officer must:

  • Undergo a background investigation
  • Pass an approved physical examination
  • Provide proof of High School Diploma or GED
  • Provide documentation of prior certification (and course curriculum)
  • Provide documentation of prior employment as a Law Enforcement Officer
  • Provide documentation of previous inservice or specialized training

To complete the requirements of the partial waiver, the waiver candidate:

  • Must submit to an interview
  • Must pass a written exam
  • Must complete Indiana criminal and traffic law (home study – proctored exams)
  • Must pass firearms (practical and written exercises)
  • Complete First Responder or ARC First Aid course

Candidates will attend the Academy for one day to participate in an interview and complete the written exam.


A college degree is not required to qualify for a Correctional Officer position with the IDOC. However, priority consideration may be given to applicants with advanced education. Indiana also encourages employees to continue their education after being hired by providing a tax-free fringe benefit of education reimbursement. Employees eligible for a refund must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been employed full-time with the state for at least 12 months prior to their Education Reimbursement Application submission
  • Have not received disciplinary action in the one year before the end of the course

Courses eligible for reimbursement include all core and elective courses required to complete a certificate, state licensure, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree programs offered through an accredited training or educational institution. 

Some Criminology or Criminal Justice programs in Indiana include:

Ball State University – Criminal Justice and Criminology

Notre Dame College – Criminal Justice

Perdue University – Law and Society (Criminology)


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Indiana as $40,810. The State of Indiana offers a comprehensive benefits package for full-time employees which includes:

  • A selection of medical plans (including prescription coverage), vision plans, and dental plans
  • Health Savings Account (including bi-weekly state contributions)
  • Deferred compensation account with employer match
  • Two fully-funded pension plans to choose from
  • Comprehensive leave program and policies covering a variety of needs, including:
    • 150 hours of paid new parent leave
    • Up to 15 hours of paid community service leave
    • 180 hours of paid vacation, personal, and sick leave
    • 12 paid holidays
    • Group life insurance
  • Qualified employer for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program


The Indiana Department of Corrections values its employees and seeks to promote from within as much as possible. Indiana provides:

  • An opportunity to be promoted within the agency based on individual performance
  • High performers with the opportunity to participate in a Peer Leadership program in preparation for supervisory responsibilities
  • An Experienced and Emerging Leadership training program


Indiana Department of Correction 


Federal Bureau of Prisons 

The GEO Group Inc.