How to Become a Correctional Officer in Montana

Montana has many possibilities to assist you in making a difference in your community and advancing your career. They provide competitive compensation, work-life balance, and family-friendly policies. They seek enthusiastic individuals to provide excellent customer service as a service-oriented organization. 

The Department of Corrections is creating a safer Montana through Accountability, Rehabilitation, and Empowerment. If you want to work making positive changes in the community, the Montana Department of Corrections is the place for you.


The Correctional Officer, first and foremost, is responsible for the general safety and security of inmates, staff, and visitors to Montana State Prison and Montana Correctional Enterprises. Correctional Officers assist in the safekeeping of the institution as well as the confining, treating, and rehabilitation of offender populations.

Correctional Officers supervise adult felons while they are in Montana State Prison’s custody, on or off prison grounds. Correctional Officers are responsible for a variety of security tasks relating to the safe, orderly, and cost-effective operation of Montana State Prison, including, but not limited to the following:

  • conducting thorough inspections and searches of inmates, buildings, and grounds
  • performing security observation
  • preparing documentation regarding institutional matters such as incident reports, disciplinary documentation, counts, and logs
  • operating security equipment
  • recognizing critical behavior
  • restraining and controlling offenders
  • responding to emergencies.

Enforce and follow regulations, directives, orders, and special instructions in addition to policies and procedures that set standard emergency protocols.

Serve as a Unit Management Team member and, in addition to overseeing all aspects of basic needs and welfare for adult male offenders in Montana State Prison’s custody on or off property, assist with case management and classification procedures.

Assist with and manage counseling, medical treatment, first aid, clothing and laundry, janitorial and housekeeping supplies, transportation of inmates, meals, movement of felons, employment, and other services required for adult male offenders in the custody of Montana State Prison.


To work as a corrections officer in Montana, you must first pass the POST Basic Certification exam after attending Montana Law Enforcement Academy training and completing one year of service with the Department of Corrections. In addition to training and experience requirements, to be POST Certified, the successful candidate(s) must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States of America
  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Be fingerprinted for a criminal history search
  • Not have been convicted of a crime for which s/he could have been imprisoned in a federal or state penitentiary
  • Be of good moral character, as determined by a thorough background screen
  • Be a high school graduate or issued a GED or its equivalent; AND,
  • Possess or be eligible for a valid Montana driver’s license.


The Montana Department of Corrections requires all Correctional Officers complete the Corrections and Detention Officer Basic (CDOB) four-week course at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy within the first year of employment.

This course includes education and training in the essential functions of ensuring the safety and security of inmates and other people in the custody of the Department of Corrections or a county or tribal detention facility. Topics covered include:

  • Human Behavior
  • Corrections/Detentions Operations
  • Corrections/Detentions Proficiencies

Correctional Officers will also be required to learn how to use weapons (AR-15, 12-gauge shotgun, and 9mm pistol) for the two-week preservice training and on-the-job training program. Firearms familiarity is a requirement of employment. Failure to meet qualification standards with weapons will prevent Correctional Officers from being assigned to armed posts or responsibilities. 

Correctional Officers must complete the Montana Physical Abilities Test (MPAT). The MPAT is a hybrid physical ability/job sample physical abilities assessment process designed to evaluate law enforcement officer candidates on essential physical capacities required to satisfactorily perform job duties that are simulated or performed in the training environment.  


The Montana Department of Corrections values experience and will consider prior law enforcement certification. The following guidelines describe the process for submitting certification and determining equivalency.

Equivalency is a four-step process:

  • Eligibility – Establish your eligibility for certification through the POST Council.
  • Legal Basic Equivalency Course – Complete all aspects of the Academy’s Legal Basic Equivalency Course, which includes orientation, classroom training, firearms qualification, and a final examination.
  • Agency Probation Period – Complete the required 12-month agency probation period.
  • POST Certification – Submit an Application for Award of Certificate, signed by an agency administrator and with all required attachments.


The Montana Department of Corrections does not require a college degree to qualify for entry-level Correctional Officer positions. However, the department will consider education and experience when considering applicants’ information.


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for a Correctional Officer in Montana as $42,950. 

Employees for the state of Montana also enjoy the following benefits:

Paid Time Off 

  • 15 Vacation days 
  • 12 Sick days 
  • 10 Holidays

Health Coverage 

  • Medical 
  • Dental 
  • Vision 
  • Prescriptions 

Other Offerings

  • Life Insurance 
  • Long-Term Disability 
  • Wellness Programs
  • Flexible Spending Accounts 

Retirement Options

  • Defined Benefit Plan (DBRP) – The Defined Benefit Retirement Plan is where all new members start. Your contributions will be directed to the DBRP unless you make an election. Your retirement benefit is determined by statute, using your highest average compensation, a factor percentage based on membership service, and service credit. You will default to this plan if you do not make an active plan selection during your election window.
  • The Defined Contribution Retirement Plan (DCRP) – This plan allows you to choose which investments your contributions are invested in. Several investment alternatives are available, ranging from conservative to aggressive, including a target-date fund. The amount in your account determines your retirement benefit. Your balance is determined by how much time you put into it and how well you perform in the market.


There are private and public opportunities for Correctional Officers in Montana. With one private prison and five under the Montana Department of Corrections. Both agencies frequently advertise for Correctional Officer positions.


Montana Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons 

CoreCivic (Private Prison)