How to Become a Correctional Officer in Michigan

Are you looking for a chance to make a difference in your community and earn a competitive wage with great benefits? The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) is hiring for a variety of positions across the state. The MDOC is looking for Corrections Officers, Food Service Workers, Qualified Mental Health Professionals, Psychologists, Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Skilled Trades, and other professions.


The MDOC expects its officers to perform their duties appropriately and per policy. For this reason, the MDOC recognizes experience and expects a higher level of performance from the more experienced and trained staff.

Corrections Officer E8: 

  • Observes prisoners’ or detainees’ activities to detect unusual or prohibited behavior and potential threats to the safety and security of the facility, prisoners, detainees, employees, or visitors. Responds quickly to calls for assistance in other areas of the prison or facility as directed. 
  • Assists in the management of disturbances and separating instigators. Observes and responds quickly to significant events, such as prisoner or detainee disturbances, assaults on employees, prisoners, or detainees, or other incidents that endanger the facility’s security. Using weapons may be required.

Corrections Officer E9: 

  • Monitors activities of prisoners or detainees to detect unusual or prohibited behavior and potential threats to the safety and security of the facility, inmates, persons detained, workers, or visitors.
  • During the shift, counts individuals or detainees under the officer’s care several times and sends count data to the control officer. Conducts comprehensive searches of prisoners, detainees, visitors, staff members, mail, cellblocks, and other places for prohibited objects.
  • Keeps prisoners or detainees moving and prevents loitering in yards or building entrances during periods of mass movement. Attempts to obtain prisoners’ or detainees’ compliance with facility rules and regulations. 
  • Assists in suppressing disturbances and isolating instigators by responding to calls for assistance as directed by the control center or shift supervisor—attempts to modify prisoners’ or detainees’ attitudes and behaviors through one-on-one or group counseling. 
  • Assists in the early identification and assessment of critical incidents such as prisoner or detainee disturbances, assaults on staff, prisoners, or detainees, or other situations that risk the facility’s security. The use of firearms might be considered an appropriate response. 
  • Transports inmates to various destinations outside the institution, such as courthouses, medical centers, and other corrections facilities, ensuring that all security procedures are followed.


The minimum requirements for becoming a Correctional Officer with the MDOC include:

  • Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age and have earned a High School Diploma or General Educational Development (GED) Certificate.
  • Applicants must agree to obtain the minimum college credits within 24 months of being hired.
  • Applicants must provide criminal history information by completing a Department of Corrections Release of Information form and must pass the criminal history check before consideration for being hired.
  • The Department of Corrections will notify an applicant by email to advise them of a scheduled date and time for a structured interview. Interviews are conducted in a panel format consisting of corrections supervisors and recruitment personnel. An applicant will have two chances to pass the structured interview.

Before being hired, applicants must pass a physical fitness test given by the Michigan Department of Corrections. This test consists of:

  • 200-Yard Run
  • Stair Climb
  • Striking Techniques
  • Up and Downs
  • Clothed Body Search
  • 100 Yard Run and Equipment Carry
  • Work a Locking Mechanism
  • Rescue Drag
  • CPR Compressions
  • Summoning Assistance

All applicants who have passed the previous steps will receive notification regarding a medical physical, pulmonary function test, and two-step tuberculosis tests. An applicant must be able to wear a gas mask and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to be hired. Applicants with medical restrictions which would keep them from performing all essential job functions of the Corrections Officer’s job cannot be hired. 


Employees hired as Corrections Officers must complete the DOC Officer Recruit Training program to obtain the knowledge and abilities needed to operate as a Corrections Officer. 

The academy training lasts eight weeks, followed by two months of on-the-job training. The recruit will complete the probationary period at an assigned correctional facility after completing the training and other departmental criteria (facilities are located throughout the state).

The employee participates in the custody, security, and treatment of prisoners or detainees while learning and developing the interpersonal skills required to perform a range of corrections officer assignments. 

To maintain employment, you must pass the initial training course, obtain annual training, and maintain certification.


Employees with less than 15 semester (23 term) college credits may be eligible for the Education Waiver Program, which allows employees up to 24 months from their hire date to complete the coursework necessary to meet the requirement. 

To be eligible for reclassification to the Corrections Officer E9, employees must have completed their education and experience requirements.


Applicants must obtain the minimum college credits within 24 months after hire or possess: 

  • 15 semester (23 term) or 30 semester (or 45 term) college credits in any academic or degree prerequisite field, OR Have 30 semester (45 term) college credits in any area requiring educational or degree prerequisites.
  • Any bachelor’s degree or;
  • Two years of satisfactory Corrections Officer employment at the state or federal prison level or private prison housing state/federal prisoners fulfills the educational requirements.


The average MDOC Correctional Officer salary is $54,380. Other benefits include:

  • After five years of service, Corrections Officers receive longevity pay; a lump sum is provided yearly based on time-in-service.
  • Corrections Officers receive health, dental, vision, and life insurance from the state of Michigan.
  • Corrections Officers receive an initial grant of 16 hours of personal leave and may earn 13 vacation days in the first calendar year, accrued four hours every two weeks of full-time work. Additional vacation time is accrued based on years of service.
  • Paid Parental Leave: Eligible employees are permitted up to 12 weeks of paid leave immediately following birth or placement for adoption of the employee’s child. This paid parental leave will run concurrently with any other leave entitlements attributable to the birth or adoption, including FMLA and unpaid parental leave. 
  • Corrections Officers earn 13 paid sick days in a calendar year, accrued four hours every two weeks.
  • Corrections Officers receive 13 paid holidays annually and 8 hours of Birthday Leave.
  • All Corrections Officers are provided with the required uniforms and equipment. A uniform cleaning allowance is also provided.  


There is a high demand for correctional officers in Michigan, and the state offers competitive salaries and benefits. 

They place a priority on education and training and reward competency with promotional opportunities.


Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC)

Federal Bureau of Prisons