How to Become a Correctional Officer in Minnesota

Do you want to make a difference in your state? The Minnesota Department of Corrections is a national leader in correctional programs and plays an essential role in public safety. You can serve as an important example for those under our care by providing security.

The department hires a variety of positions, including Correctional Officers, nurses, and instructors. There are correctional facilities in Faribault, Lino Lakes, Moose Lake, Willow River, Oak Park Heights, Red Wing, Rush City, Shakopee, St. Cloud, Stillwater, and Togo.

There are also community offices in Minnesota, where agents and crew leaders supervise residents. In addition, the St. Paul headquarters houses administrative and program development activities, including finance, human resources, and information technology.


Corrections Officers with the Minnesota DOC are in charge of maintaining a secure environment to ensure the safety and security of the correctional facility by supervising inmates, fostering good conduct, and preparing them for successful reintegration into society.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Ensure that the prison is safe, secure, and under control.
  • Supervise offenders in jail to guarantee that the environment encourages good conduct and prepares them for a successful transition into society after release.
  • Communicate effectively, accurately, promptly, and dependably both in writing and verbally to give and receive information so that it can be evaluated, sound judgments are made, and appropriate action is taken.
  • Ensure that all equipment is used correctly and safely.
  • Prepare for and respond to any unusual or emergency circumstances in the proper Incident Command System (ICS) methods, ensuring the safety, accountability, well-being, and security of the general public, facility personnel, on-site personnel, and incarcerated individuals.
  • Follow all agency and state regulations and laws. Help the DOC fulfill its goals and objectives.


The Minnesota DOC is looking for quality candidates who are motivated and eager to learn and can demonstrate effective Correctional Officer practices.

Minimum Qualifications/Selection Process:

To qualify for further consideration and assessment, you must:

  • You must be 18 years old to work at an adult facility. To work for a juvenile institution, unless enrolled or have completed course work in a post-secondary education program to obtain a degree in behavioral science, you must be 21 years old or older.; AND
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED; AND
  • You must be able to pass a criminal history check, which will be done before you are hired. To pass, you must have completed all legal authorities’ sentencing and compensation obligations, including probation.; AND
  • Be able to possess a firearm.
  • Have a valid driver’s license.

In addition, you must possess at least one of the following to qualify:

  • Completion of an Associate degree in Corrections, Criminal Justice, Criminology, Law, Law Enforcement, Psychology, Counseling, Counseling Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, or a Human Services related field with an emphasis in corrections/criminal justice; OR
  • Completion of a Bachelor’s degree in ANY field from an accredited college/university; OR
  • One or more years of full-time work experience in ANY field (NOTE: the work experience does NOT have to be in Corrections); OR
  • Two or more years of part-time (at least 20 hours per week) work experience in ANY field (NOTE: the work experience does NOT have to be in Corrections); OR
  • Honorable discharge from active military duty in any branch of the United States Armed Forces; OR
  • Current member in good standing in any branch of the United States Armed Forces; OR
  • Successful completion of an internship in a Minnesota Correctional Facility in a related security area

Interview Process:

You may be invited to an interview if you meet the minimum requirements. Within a few days after submitting your application, the Minnesota DOC will e-mail you information on how to and where you may schedule an interview. To be considered for employment as a Trainee-Corrections Officer, you must obtain a passing score on the interview.


Minnesota provides training to Correctional Officers for certification after they are hired, so they are paid while training.

To learn how to enforce facility rules and maintain security, complete a 6-week training course in the following skills: oversee incarcerated persons in daily living activities; observe movement and actions, including functioning as a work crew supervisor; use disciplinary power over the imprisoned population, and produce reports.

Trainees who pass the 6-week training program will be promoted to Corrections Officer 1. 


Applicants with certification in another state can request an advisory letter from their current and former employers to determine whether they might qualify for an exemption or temporary waiver of training.


There are exciting career alternatives open to people with various educational backgrounds. Please look at the minimum qualifications for details on the qualifications that must be met at the time of employment, which may or may not include graduation from a university program. Staff is also given with regular training.


The average Minnesota DOC Correctional Officer salary is $56,350. New employees will get a $5,000 hiring incentive paid in two equal payments, the first of which will be awarded upon successful completion of the probationary period and is due immediately, and the second of which will be paid after two (2) years of continuous satisfactory service. Other benefits include the following.

Health Insurance:

The Minnesota Advantage Health Plan is the medical benefits program available for state employees. Choose from among three Health Carriers: BlueCross BlueShield, Health Partners, or Preferred One.

Dental Insurance:

Choose from two Dental Carriers: Health Partners or the State Dental Plan (Delta Dental).

Vision Insurance:

The Blue Cross Vision plan, partnered with Davis Vision, is optional and designed to supplement your family’s medical coverage.

Life Insurance:

The state offers both Basic Life Insurance and Optional Life Insurance coverage. SEGIP provides basic term life insurance based upon your annual salary at no cost to you.


Employees in Minnesota who work for state agencies are automatically enrolled in the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS). The General Plan is the most extensive plan run by the MSRS. The Correctional Employees Retirement Plan covers this agency’s positions. You and the company contribute towards your retirement fund as a member of this program.

The Deferred Compensation Program is an optional retirement savings tool that also aids in the deferral of taxes. This program places a portion of your earnings in a tax-deferred account. Many investment alternatives are available to assist you in reaching your retirement goals.

Paid Days Off:

Vacation Leave – Full-time employees may accrue a number of vacation days each year, as outlined in contracts and plans. As the length of service with the state increases, the amount of vacation time accrued may also increase. 

Sick Leave – Full-time eligible employees may receive a number of sick days per year, as outlined in contracts and plans. 

Paid Holidays – There are several paid holidays and one personal holiday each year, which are listed in contracts and plans.


The Department of Corrections is a welcoming employer that actively encourages women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans to apply. The Department of Corrections is also a Yellow Ribbon Company and one of the state’s largest employers of veterans.


Minnesota Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons