How to Become a Correctional Officer in New Mexico

The New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) employs career-oriented candidates and offers a wide variety of employment opportunities.

The NMCD highly values its employees and is always looking to add great individuals to its team. The department offers career opportunities within seven state-owned and operated prisons and four Probation and Parole regions. In addition, there are administrative opportunities.

The NMCD offers careers inside and outside of prisons and embraces an environment of diversity. For those looking for a career that provides job security, excellent benefits, respect, and integrity, join the New Mexico Corrections Department today.


The New Mexico Corrections Department requires Correctional Officers to guard inmates in a penal or rehabilitative institution by established regulations and procedures. Officers receive and complete training at a correctional academy for adult correctional institutions. 

NMCD Officers will be expected to have the following:

  • Ability to be rotated to any post as part of routine post assignments and relieve other officers.
  • Physical ability to control inmates by force, when necessary, to defend oneself and others against physical attack by inmates.
  • Ability to withstand prolonged hours of work.
  • Ability to pass a physical agility test.
  • Ability to maintain defensive driving certification.
  • Ability to think logically and effectively analyze situations and use good judgment.
  • Ability to understand instructions and follow orders.
  • Ability to search for contraband and provide security.
  • Ability to count, feed, and supervise inmates in housing, work, and other areas accessed by stairs.
  • Ability to provide custody and security of inmates, including observing actions of inmates; to perform “pat” and “strip” search of inmates; restraining and securing sometimes assaultive inmates; and transferring and transporting inmates by walking or riding in various vehicles such as trailers, vans, buses, and other forms of transportation.
  • Ability to respond quickly to emergencies; including climbing stairs and ladders while searching for escaped inmates; hearing calls for and calling for help; giving first aid at the emergency site; carrying an injured or unconscious person various distances to safety, up or down stairs and ladders; using force and deadly force, including the use of chemical agents and firearms, to control inmates.
  • Ability to read, review and adequately apply information found in inmate records related to the inmate’s health and safety and the security of the prison; provide appropriate information to other personnel.
  • Ability to comply with all policies, procedures, rules, regulations, and post orders.
  • Ability to prepare and maintain records, forms, and reports.
  • Ability to work under potentially dangerous circumstances in a correctional facility.


The New Mexico Corrections Department has set the following minimum requirements for Correctional Officers:

  • Must be 18 Years of Age or Older – There is no upper age limit
  • Be a High School Graduate or Equivalent
  • Be a United States Citizen
  • Possess a valid New Mexico driver’s license or the ability to obtain one
  • No Felony Convictions
  • No Domestic Violence Convictions
  • Complete all three phases of screening, including a background investigation, psychological assessment, medical assessment, and urine analysis
  • Ability to perform essential duties as outlined in the position description


The New Mexico Corrections Training Academy (NMCTA) is in charge of basic and advanced training for custody, non-custody, and civilian personnel. The NMCTA also helps the state recruit by providing screening and evaluation services for people hoping to work as Correctional Officers.

The Basic Training Section (BTS) is in charge of oversight, training, and all matters related to the eight-week basic training program for Correctional Officers and probation/parole officer cadets designed to give them the fundamental skills they need to succeed. During the academy, recruits are tested physically and mentally to prepare them for an exciting and demanding profession in corrections. The BTS also maintains satellite academies throughout New Mexico designed to increase possibilities for individuals living in various regions of the state.


An applicant who was previously certified as a correctional officer with the New Mexico Corrections Department, with more than one year but less than three years of separation or a break-in-service from the duties of a full-time correctional officer, will be allowed to attend the Certification by Wavier (CBW) program. All screening phases will have to be completed to include a psychological assessment. There will be no physical agility test required for this identified applicant. An NCMTA instructor will review training records and certifications to verify if the applicant is a CBW candidate.

Any previously certified correctional or detention officer, whether in-state or out-of-state, with more than eight years of separation, or a break-in-service from the duties as a full-time correctional officer, or multiple separations, will be required to attend the entire eight-week basic training academy. Additionally, they will be required to complete all phases of the screening process and must meet the current physical agility screening standards established by the New Mexico Corrections Training Academy. 


The New Mexico Corrections Department does not require a college degree to become a Correctional Officer. However, the department recognizes the importance of higher education and is working with several colleges to provide learning opportunities to state employees.


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists New Mexico Corrections Department officers’ salaries as $39,170. 

The department offers the following benefits for all Correctional Officers:

  • 25+ Year Retirement Plan
  • Paid Vacation Leave – 10 Days Per Year
  • Paid Sick Leave – 12 Days Per Year
  • Paid Personal Leave Day – After One Year of Employment
  • Upon Successful Completion of the Corrections Academy, starting pay is increased.
  • Shift Differential Pay $.60 per hour at all facilities.
  • Life, Health, Dental, Vision, and New Mexico pays 80% of the benefits package.


The New Mexico Corrections Department is looking for ethically and morally upstanding candidates who are highly qualified for the prospective position. Before submitting an application, applicants are encouraged to review the screening process, job descriptions, pay/benefits, disqualifiers, and physical standards.


New Mexico Corrections Department

Federal Bureau of Prisons