How to Become a Correctional Officer in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Corrections is seeking applicants for more than 200 job categories in 90 locations across the state. A career in corrections may be the opportunity to make a difference – by increasing public safety, providing Missourians within the criminal justice system with the skills they need to succeed, and ensuring a brighter future for yourself and your family. 

The state’s investment in correctional workers has been constant, with competitive perks, transformational professional development, enhanced wellness resources, and a series of significant pay bumps that have increased the starting correctional officer wage by more than 30% in the last five years.


A job in the Missouri Department of Corrections is more than a profession. It’s a calling for workers who help people in the criminal justice system acquire the skills they need to contribute to their communities inside and outside our doors.

Typical duties for Correctional Officers include:

  • Keeps buildings, towers, and other prison posts secure; intervenes during emergencies or fights to acquire physical control of offenders.
  • Supervises movement of convicts both inside and outside the facility; conducts periodic counts of offenders; searches offenders and their living quarters for prohibited items; escorts and transports offenders to specified destinations
  • Supervises offenders in housing units; while performing work activities and during recreational and religious activities.
  • Inspects for health and safety concerns; submits reports on offenders’ breaches of divisional or correctional facility regulations, unusual offender behaviors, observed mechanical problems, security breaches, or failures
  • Minor adjustment issues are discussed with offenders; serious difficulties are referred to the proper correctional facility staff; rehabilitation is promoted by attempting to modify the offender’s social attitudes/discouraging bad conduct/encouraging good behavior.
  • Supervises prison visits; searches visitors, offenders, buildings, and grounds for prohibited items.
  • Performs work in accordance with established norms, regulations, and post orders/specific instructions; receives general administrative guidance.
  • Performs other related work as assigned.


The Missouri Department of Corrections offers the opportunity to positively impact people’s lives: those you supervise, communities you protect, and yourself. The department provides world-class training, a competitive salary, generous benefits, and the chance to customize your professional path.

If you join our team, you’ll become a better, stronger version of yourself. You will be a role model. And best of all, you will be a member of a family.

Minimum requirements for Correctional Officer positions include:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • The candidate must be able to pass a background check conducted by the Missouri Department of Corrections
  • Ability to pass defensive tactics and standard first aid courses through Basic Training by the Missouri Department of Corrections
  • Ability to pass and maintain training required by the Missouri Department of Corrections to operate firearms
  • Possession of a valid vehicle operator’s license

The Missouri Department of Corrections is proud to have a tradition of promotion from within for employees looking for and seeking distinctive career paths. As you work for the department, we invite you to consider your goals and decide to head toward them actively. We strive to recognize employees who serve with distinction.


Custody employees must complete all three academy levels, depending on their job class and location. All staff members are required to participate in approved elective sessions. Your supervisor will outline your training needs with you.

All Correctional Officers must complete the following courses:

  • Crime Scene and Evidence 
  • Principles of Report Writing   
  • Principles of Use of Force   
  • Radio Usage   
  • Ethics   
  • Contraband   
  • Searches   
  • Riots and Disturbances  
  • Threat Groups   
  • Use of Force   
  • Pepper Spray   
  • Restraints   
  • Developing Self-Awareness Impression, Impact, and Self-Awareness   
  • Communicating with Empathy   
  • De-Escalating Intense Situations   
  • Diversity   
  • Staff Survival and Success   
  • Anatomy of a Set-Up   
  • Tactical Communication   
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)   
  • Use of Force Application   
  • Drug Identification  
  • Crisis Intervention Team Overview  
  • First Aid and CPR  
  • Shot Gun Safety   
  • Defensive Tactics Safety   


Missouri will consider prior and out-of-state law enforcement certification. Out-of-state, federal, or military applicants or officers whose license has expired seeking licensing as peace officers in Missouri must apply to POST via the Law Enforcement/Military Police Officer Application.


We seek to help our employees develop professionally and personally at the Department of Corrections. As a worker in this field, you may take advantage of various programs, from free online training to higher-education tuition cuts.

College and University Discounts

Colleges and universities work with the Missouri Department of Corrections to provide educational opportunities for corrections employees. Many provide tuition rebates and credit for the completion of corrections training.

MOST 529

The Missouri 529 education plan is an investment account that can be utilized to save for college. Federal tax-deferred investments generate income, and tax-free withdrawals are permitted. 529 accounts may be used to pay tuition at 2- and 4-year colleges, postsecondary trade and vocational schools, postgraduate programs, and K-12 institutions (tuition only).


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for a Correctional Officer in Missouri as $34,550. 

State of Missouri employees are also eligible for multiple benefits, including:

  • Paid Pre-Service and In-Service Training
  • Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS)
  • Primary Health Insurance (provided for employees and available for families)
  • Paid Life Insurance (amount equivalent to annual salary)
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Cafeteria Plan (health insurance)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (retirement investment)
  • 12 Paid Holidays Per Year
  • 10 Hours of Annual Leave Per Month
  • 10 Hours of Sick Leave Per Month
  • Credit Union
  • Direct Deposit of Paycheck (required)
  • Employee Health, Wellness, and Safety Initiatives
  • MOST 529 College Savings Program
  • Savings Bonds
  • Education Discounts


The Missouri Department of Corrections strives to make the state safer. Our 10,000 workers oversee 23,000 people in 20 institutions and 62,000 individuals on probation and parole throughout the state. We work to restore and help people who have been imprisoned reestablish their lives in the community. We use rehabilitation, treatment, and education to ensure that inmates can contribute inside and outside our walls. Of all those who enter the prison system, about 96 percent are released back into Missouri towns and cities. We want to be sure they’re decent neighbors. 

The department values experience and incentives are offered to people who join. All qualified applicants should send their resumes.


Missouri Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons