How to Become a Correctional Officer in Massachusetts

The State of Massachusetts’ employees are highly trained and motivated individuals who provide a vast array of public safety services to the citizens and other public safety agencies in the Commonwealth. They are constantly building a highly qualified workforce reflective of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards that aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth. 

The EOPSS has direct oversight of the Department of Corrections. The Massachusetts Department of Corrections (MADOC) is actively seeking qualified candidates for Correctional Officer positions.

person in cell


Correctional Officers in the MDOC are responsible for the custody and supervision of inmates in state prisons. They maintain order in the prisons, protect inmates and staff from violence, and prevent escapes. Massachusetts Correctional Officers will:

  • Maintain custodial care and control of the inmates in their assigned area
  • Oversee inmate compliance with inmate disciplinary rules and regulations
  • Be responsible for inspecting inmate housing units and ensuring all areas are maintained according to facility standards
  • Be responsible for ensuring written reports and work orders are submitted when housing, safety standards, or maintenance issues arise 
  • Be responsible for patrolling assigned areas of the facility and ensuring the facility is kept per departmental policies, necessary to prevent escapes, riots, and disorders
  • Maintain a level of physical fitness necessary for reasonable use of force
  • Be responsible for escorting inmates within the facility and outside the institution
  • Be responsible for enforcing all relevant facility rules and regulations as it relates to inmate behavior
  • Be responsible for observing the chain of command and following all lawful orders of superiors
  • Be accountable for conducting himself in a manner becoming an officer of this agency


The Massachusetts Department of Corrections (MADOC) may require you to pass a medical examination, references, education, certification, professional licenses, car licensing, and a tax and background investigation if an offer of employment is made to you. The following documentation must be provided:

  • Completed Application for Employment Form
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Birth Certificate
  • Professional Certified Licenses (if applicable)
  • High school diploma or Official high school transcript
  • GED (if applicable)
  • All College Degrees or Official Transcripts
  • Social Security Card
  • DD 214 Long Form (If in Military)
  • Citizenship paperwork, Naturalization paperwork (if applicable), Court documents stating that outstanding warrants are closed (if appropriate)
  • Pass a physical fitness test. Please review the Recruit Training Program Physical Readiness Test Tips below.
  • Pass psychological testing
  • Pass a drug screening


The MADOC’s Recruit Training Program (RTP) trains prospective employees for demanding safety and security roles. In hazardous circumstances, officers must be able to defend themselves and others, which means they must be prepared. Law enforcement agencies in the State of Maryland must ensure their officers are trained effectively to safely and efficiently capture, transport, and respond to persons who may be a danger. MADOC personnel must be skilled with various weapons and possess the physical ability to control individuals under their custody, even if they are unarmed. Further, MADOC officers may be required to perform at a consistently high level for extended periods. 

All newly hired recruits must be in a minimally acceptable level of physical fitness to meet the physical demands of required training and perform job activities. 

Failure to pass any part of the Physical Fitness Test may mean you will not be hired for enrollment in the Recruit Training Program. 

There will be a written test consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions designed to measure six abilities that are important to the performance of the Correction Officer I position.

The written test covers six areas. These include the ability to:

  • Gather information through researching records and documents and reading and questioning individuals.
  • Have a good understanding of grammar. Obtain data, express ideas clearly, and develop ideas in a logical sequence for the incident, professional, atmosphere, and other broad report writing.
  • Read, understand, explain, and apply information, including laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures, specifications, standards, guidelines, and instructions/post orders governing assigned unit activities.
  • Work accurately with names, numbers, codes, and symbols. Communicate via two-way radios and issue keys and equipment. 
  • Keep accurate records. Create, save, and maintain records in the Inmate Management System (IMS), books, and logs.


Applicants with certification in another state and being hired in Massachusetts can request an advisory letter to determine whether they might qualify for an exemption or temporary waiver of training.


Although a degree is not required for employment with the MADOC, assisting its staff in continuing their education is important. Eligible state workers and their spouses may receive a tuition remission through the Commonwealth’s Education Assistance Program. Tuition is entirely or partially reimbursed depending on the circumstances of each individual applicant. It covers a portion or all of the tuition for programs and courses taken on an employee’s time at public community colleges, state colleges, and state university campuses.

Some Criminology offers Criminal Justice Programs in Massachusetts include:

Salem State University: Criminal Justice

The University of Massachusetts, Boston: Criminology & Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Massachusetts as $72,260. 

Massachusetts of numerous other resources for its employees, including:

Health and Wellness Resources

  • Medical Plans: 75% paid by the Commonwealth
  • Dental and vision coverage
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Community Service and Volunteer leave

Financial Resources

  • Retirement Savings and Pension Plan
  • Deferred Compensation Savings Program
  • Vacation, national holidays, personal days, and sick time
  • Healthcare and dependent care spending accounts
  • Health Insurance Buy-Out Plan
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Life insurance 
  • Extended Illness Leave Bank Program

Work-Life Resources

  • Adoption and foster care assistance leave
  • Transit and parking benefits
  • Student Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Tuition reimbursement for employees and spouses


Correctional Officers in Massachusetts have many job opportunities. The job prospects are good for people who want to work in law enforcement and help protect the community. Massachusetts provides opportunities to gain skills needed to advance, including:

Training and Career Ladder Program – The Training and Career Ladder program provides resources for expanded learning and development opportunities to participating bargaining unit employees.

MassAchieve: MassAchieve is the Commonwealth’s robust and modern learning management system (LMS) for employee education, training, and professional development.


Massachusetts Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons