How to Become a Correctional Officer in North Dakota

North Dakota’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (DOCR) aim is to build communities while transforming lives. The DOCR uses more than 100 different job classifications to carry out this purpose. Its employees offer a wide range of services to a diverse population of juveniles and adults in the correctional system, including therapeutic rehabilitation, medical attention, physical plant services, education, and information technology. Correctional Officers are primarily responsible for managing and protecting those in the DOCR’s custody.


North Dakota’s DOCR expects all Correctional Officers to exercise sound judgment, rely on their training, apply it to stay calm in stressful situations, be constantly aware of their surroundings, collaborate with others to complete tasks as a team, be driven to complete tasks as assigned and communicate clearly. 

Tasks and Duties Include:

  • building rapport with residents
  • keeping logs, producing reports, and recording incidents and rule violations
  • escorting and transporting residents
  • inspecting and searching cells, residents, and visitors
  • and responding to emergencies that may require running and climbing stairs
  • use specialized tools, including two-way radios and weapons


North Dakota’s DOCR has established the following minimum requirements for entry-level Correctional Officer positions:

  • A high school diploma or GED is needed to become a Correctional Officer I.
  • Every application for a position with the DOCR must be submitted through the Careers website. Submissions on paper won’t be accepted.
  • The application materials must be received by the deadline.

The following documents may be brought to the interview or attached to an electronic application by applicants:

  • Application materials must make it apparent how experience and education relate to the essential requirements and job responsibilities.
  • A Form DD214 must be uploaded by applicants who are North Dakota residents and qualified to use the veteran’s preference. A current statement of disability status from the Veteran’s Affairs Office must be included with requests for the priority for disabled veterans.


All newly hired Correctional Officers must meet the following requirements and complete a six-week course during their first year of appointment to be certified.

To be eligible to obtain a peace officer license, any individual MUST meet all of the following license steps:

  • The person must be a citizen of the United States or in resident alien status as defined by the Immigration and Naturalization Service laws and regulations.
  • The person must possess a high school diploma or general education equivalency certificate (GED).
  • The person must not have pled guilty to or have been convicted in any state or federal court for any felony, the crime of moral turpitude, the crime of domestic violence, or any other offense that has a direct bearing on the applicant’s ability to serve as a peace officer.
  • The person must not be prohibited from using or possessing a firearm under state or federal law. The person must have a valid driver’s license.
  • The person must undergo a complete background investigation conducted by the hiring agency, including submitting two employment fingerprint cards for both State and Federal record checks.
  • The person must have passed a medical examination and psychological evaluation approved by the Board.
  • Must not be prohibited from access to NCIC & CJIS databases.


Based on their job and training experience from another state, certain officers can be eligible to apply for and get a partial remission of basic training. The actions listed below must be taken to qualify for a partial waiver:

  • The officer must be license-eligible, already licensed, or certified as a full-time peace officer in another state to qualify for the waiver.
  • Any officer who wants to skip some of their basic training must be employed by a government organization and has already received a limited license from the Board.
  • A request for a partial waiver of basic training must be made in writing to the Board by the administrator of the hiring agency. The administrator must submit supporting paperwork for the officer’s employment history, education, and license status along with the letter. The Board will then go over the officer’s basic training.
  • This training must correlate to the North Dakota Basic Training curriculum. The officer will be qualified for the partial waiver if the Board finds that they meet the standards.
  • The officer is required to complete all of the corresponding academy tests. The North Dakota Peace Officer Licensing Examination will be provided to officers if they pass the academy exams. The officer must pass this test with a score of at least 70%. 


North Dakota’s DOCR does not require a college degree as part of the minimum requirements to qualify as a Correctional Officer. Still, college credit can be used instead of experience. 

Some colleges in North Dakota with Criminal Justice or Criminology Degrees include:

North Dakota State University – Criminal Justice

University of North Dakota – Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in North Dakota as $48,510. 

The State of North Dakota is dedicated to offering employees a robust and appealing benefits package that supports your well-being, that of your family, and your financial security. Please click through the information below to review your options.

Family Health Insurance

  • Paid in full family health insurance without deductions from paychecks each month.
  • Dental and Vision insurance options for you and your family.

Wellness Initiative

  • Get paid to go to the gym; you can get paid up to $250 to engage in wellness activities. 

Annual Leave

  • 0-3 years experience make 8 hours per month.

Public Employees Retirement

  • 15.26% is contributed towards the team member’s retirement plan. The state contributes 12.26%, with the team member contributing an additional 3%.

Sick Time

  • 8 hours per month


North Dakota’s DOCR frequently advertises for Correctional Officer I, II, and III positions. Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.


North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation