How to Become a Correctional Officer in New York

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) is a one-of-a-kind agency. In addition to Correctional Officers, the department offers various employment opportunities in several industries, including guidance counseling, administrative support, culinary arts, medical care, educational instruction, religious ministry, maintenance service industry, and community supervision. 

You will also enjoy excellent benefits and numerous career-related possibilities as a DOCCS employee.


DOCCS Correctional Officers are responsible for the safety and well-being of inmates in state prisons, shock incarceration correctional institutions, work release centers, and a drug treatment campus. Correctional Officers maintain custodial care and control of the inmates in their assigned area.

Correctional Officers, under a supervisory officer, will monitor the movement and routines of imprisoned people, conduct rounds on certain areas on a regular basis, conduct searches for prohibited items, maintain facility order, and document events as needed. 

Correctional Officers will advise prison detainees of the facility’s rules and regulations and assist them in resolving difficulties. Officers will have a significant influence on the rehabilitation of offenders. 

Correctional Officers may also be required to carry weapons as part of their duties and perform other tasks as needed.


All applicants for Correctional Officer positions with the New York DOCCS must meet the following requirements, at the time of appointment:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age.
  • In order to apply for this job, you must be a high school graduate or have a high school equivalency diploma. The diploma you receive from high school must be from a school that is recognized by the New York State Education Department. Diploma certificates issued through a home study course and not by an authorized educational institution are invalid.
  • Correction Officers are peace officers by law in New York State. They must be qualified to hold the office and be United States citizens.
  • Correction Officers are Public Officers. This means that, even though you don’t have to be a resident of New York State to take the training and examination, you do have to be a resident of New York State to accept and continue employment as a Correction Officer.


Before becoming a DOCCS Correction Officer, trainees must complete a 12-month training program and pass assessments. You will go to the Correctional Services Training Academy for an 8-week formal training course as part of the curriculum. Following is a description of New York’s certification process:

Candidates will be investigated thoroughly. A felony conviction would mean that you cannot be a correction officer. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, you may not be eligible for this job. Being adjudicated as a juvenile offender might result in being ruled out for employment. If you fail to fulfill the requirements of the background investigation, you will be disqualified. You will be required to submit fingerprints and pay the processing fee.

Candidates will be subjected to a comprehensive inquiry to determine character and fitness, as well as to verify the applicant’s information. Applicants must give permission for educational, financial, military, employment, criminal history, and mental health records access. If a candidate’s qualifications for an appointment are called into question, the information in their records will be examined, and if found to be incorrect, they will be disqualified. Candidates who pass the background investigation and fulfill all other administrative criteria will be invited for an interview.

Candidates must successfully complete a 12-month trainee program before they can continue to work as a Correction Officer. 

Candidates must complete the DOCCS Training Academy, which is a paid training program. You will need to stay at the Training Academy every Sunday evening through Friday afternoon for eight weeks. The Academy’s Training program will include learning about emergency response procedures and concepts, as well as corrections issues. You’ll also get physical exercise to improve your fitness, strength, and endurance. You may be fired for failing to keep the required academic standing, showing competence (qualifying) with department-issued firearms, demonstrating proficiency in department-approved defensive tactics techniques, obtaining certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or fulfilling physical requirements. After completing the Training Academy Program, you will be a New York State Peace Officer. You will then have four weeks of field training. After that, you will be assigned to a Correctional Facility depending on the department’s needs.


The New York’s Office of Public Safety (OPS) examines all requests for certification reciprocity. If the department approves, the training can be substituted for the Basic Course requirements that correlate to New York’s standards.


The New York DOCCS does not require a college degree for entry-level Correctional Officer positions. However, the department does recognize the importance of education and training.

Some colleges offering Criminal Justice Programs in New York include:

University at Albany: Criminal Justice

Buffalo State: Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in New York as $71,160. 

There are numerous advantages to being a member of the New York DOCCS, including:


  • retirement rewards from service; 
  • benefits for disability retirement for long-term on-the-job and non-job-related impairments; 
  • benefits vesting; 
  • and the crediting of withdrawn service from another New York State public retirement system

Deferred Compensation

  • The Deferred Compensation Plan, a voluntary retirement savings program, enables workers in the public sector like you to set aside money from each paycheck for retirement. It can assist in filling the shortfall between your current pension and Social Security benefits and your anticipated retirement needs. 

Health Insurance

  • The Empire Plan or an NYSHIP HMO are the two health insurance options available to eligible employees under the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP).


About 10,000 people are employed by the New York State DOCCS at the state’s 61 juvenile detention centers and 31 adult prisons. The state is constantly advertising for Correctional Officer positions. Interested and qualified applicants should apply


New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

Federal Bureau of Prisons