How to Become a Correctional Officer in Ohio

Working for the State of Ohio is more than “just a job”; it is an honor to help those who depend on us in this great state, including our families, friends, and neighbors. We are a group of devoted public servants focused on providing high-quality services with efficiency and innovation. The best talent is what we are trying to find and keep because when we have the best talent, our community benefits the most.


A safe, secure, and compassionate correctional environment and efficient community supervision are the cornerstones of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (ODRC) front-line crime reduction efforts. By assisting people in abstaining from crime and actively participating in their communities, we hope to protect the public and make Ohio a safer place for all residents, both now and in the future.

The duties of a corrections officer include:

  • Enforcing rules, regulations, policies, and procedures to maintain control over the facility and ensure the safety and security of the facility, the inmates, the staff, and the general public
  • Monitoring and directing inmate activity in designated areas ensuring the assigned space is clean, secure, and safe
  • Maintaining and using computers, equipment, and security controls
  • Using automobiles for inmate transportation and perimeter security
  • Performing searches, security rounds, and inmate counts
  • Fulfills reporting obligations and participates in committees
  • Prevents security-threatening incidents or escapes
  • Uses physical force, unarmed self-defense, weapons, or other force as necessary to detain or secure prisoners


Minimum qualifications for Correctional Officers in Ohio include:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • A current driver’s license for positions assigned to the transportation section and a commercial driver’s license is needed to operate certain types of commercial vehicles
  • Candidates for positions with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction must also complete the correction officer assessment or have already done so within the last 24 months; alternatively, candidates may already be employed by the department and already hold a certification for the position of correction officer

Other hiring information:

  • Smoking is not permitted at work, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

The following are disqualifiers for Correctional Officer positions:

  • People with a federal or state-issued weapons restriction.
  • Individuals who have engaged in sexual abuse in a prison or other detention facility; those who have been adjudicated civilly or administratively; or those who have been found guilty of engaging in or attempting to engage in sexual activity in the community that was facilitated by force, implied threats of force, or if the victim did not or was unable to consent;
  • People who have been found guilty of soliciting or supporting terrorism, terrorism, or money laundering to fund terrorism;
  • People who have been found guilty of or pleaded guilty to a felony where there is a clear connection between the position and prior criminal behavior.
  • The final candidate chosen for the position will be required to submit to a criminal background investigation.
  • The final candidate chosen for this position will be required to submit to a urinalysis to test for the use of illicit drugs. Any applicant with a verified positive test result will not receive a final offer of employment from the state. Additionally, a candidate who receives a positive test result won’t be considered for any positions with the State of Ohio for an entire year.


The Corrections Training Academy offers cutting-edge training to law enforcement agencies and department employees. The National Institute of Corrections and others provide support for developing and improving the curriculum. The staff is committed to giving students opportunities for personal and professional growth and overseeing the courses.

New Employee Orientation Training:

  • The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (ODRC) New Employee Orientation (NEO) program is designed to introduce new correctional employees to the field of corrections and employment as corrections professionals. Before they begin working independently at the location where they have been hired, NEO provides all new permanent employees with fundamental, standardized, and centralized quality training. 
  • The 120 hours of training make up the core curriculum and begins with a two-day orientation at the trainees’ workplace. The Corrections Training Academy is where the remaining 104 hours are finished. 
  • The core curriculum strikes a balance between reentry and rehabilitation-related topics and security and safety-related ones. Even though some courses are lecture-based, most classes include hands-on practical activities that let the students put what they have learned into practice.


  • Before leaving NEO, new hires receive their initial certification in unarmed self-defense. 
  • Correction officers must complete 160 hours of training, including the core curriculum in addition to firearms certification, CPR certification, and an eight-hour transportation and restraint training. Before starting NEO, all employees must complete a minimum of 40 hours of orientation training at their place of employment. After completing NEO training, all employees receive on-the-job training.


An officer from another state who transfers to Ohio and has prior experience in local, state, or federal law enforcement or the military may be eligible to receive credit for training equivalent to that provided in Ohio’s basic training course.


The ODRC does not require a college degree to qualify for entry-level positions. However, college credit within a related field will be considered when selecting for vacant Correctional Officer positions.

Some colleges offering Criminal Justice Programs in Ohio include:

The University of Ohio: Criminology and Criminal Justice

Miami University: Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Ohio as $48,120.

Additionally, the State of Ohio provides a range of premium, affordable benefits to qualified full-time and part-time workers, including:

Health Insurance:

  • Excellent medical care is provided, and qualified workers can receive free dental and vision insurance.

Education and Development:

  • Full-time, exempt union employees receive funds for academic and professional development.

Work-Life Balance:

  • Permanent employees receive generous holiday and leave benefits. In addition to accumulated sick, personal, and vacation time, numerous other leave-related advantages exist. 

Future Financial Planning:

  • The excellent pension provided to state employees is the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS). To qualify for this pension, an employee must contribute 10% of each pay period, with the employer matching that amount with an additional 14%. 

Family and Lifestyle:

  • If you are a member of the state’s medical plan, you are eligible to receive rewards along with your spouse. Employees can earn up to $1,500, and spouses can make up to $550 by participating in healthy living activities. State employees are eligible for discounts at a variety of attractions and events.


The ODRC believes that everyone is capable of making a positive change to “reduce recidivism among those we touch.” Our employees uphold these fundamental principles and act as examples of pro-social behavior by treating others with respect and dignity. If this sounds like an organization you can support, please apply today.


Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Federal Bureau of Prisons