How to Become a Correctional Officer in Oklahoma

As an Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) Correctional Officer, you will improve public safety daily and help people prepare for success after release. This is the beginning of a successful career, not just a job. No prior experience is necessary. We will give you the training you need to become an effective leader and start changing lives. You will be paid competitively as a state of Oklahoma employee with the possibility of overtime, insurance, family benefits, time off, and retirement.


Be a leader, develop responsibility, and transform lives. Correctional officers are in charge of keeping an eye on those who have been ordered to serve time in jails or other correctional facilities. Maintaining the security, control, and custody of prisoners in a state adult correctional facility is one of the responsibilities. 

Correctional Officer duties will vary by level, organization, and unit, but they may include the following:

  • Ensures the security of a designated area or post and provides inmates with security and supervision in various situations and activities.
  • Assists in the security and oversight of inmate work crews; escorts inmates to their jobs; inventories and maintains control over all tools, equipment, and keys.
  • On a scheduled shift, patrol the yards, grounds, cell houses, corridors, dormitories, and work areas; watch the inmates’ activities and movements; and oversee their behavior, work, and discipline.
  • Keeps programs, meals, and recreation times orderly and disciplined; checks living spaces, facilities, and work locations for unauthorized objects or materials; reports incidents.
  • Maintains controlled movement of inmates, staff, and members of the public by operating manually or electronically controlled security equipment.
  • Performs inmate counts, searches for contraband while searching inmates and their living spaces, and enforces institutional policies.
  • Creates reports and written documentation about prisoners’ behavior, condition, and movement.
  • Takes part in rescue and capture teams; attends to riots and fires.


Cadets for Correctional Officers will be trained formally and on the job in security and custody responsibilities as well as various policies and procedures pertaining to the control and management of inmates. Employees at this level are promoted to level II once the required probationary period has been completed. 

Minimum Requirements:

  • Candidates must be at least 20 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be willing to work any shifts that are assigned
  • Be able to pass a thorough background investigation


Applicants for Correctional Officer positions with the ODOC may be required to submit to drug testing, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) testing, and job-related medical examinations after receiving a conditional offer of employment and before reporting for duty. 

Testing for Drugs

  • Pre-employment drug testing will be required of all applicants 
  • The employment offer will be withdrawn in the event of a positive test, an attempt to adulterate a specimen, a failure to submit for testing, or any other behavior that serves to obstruct the testing process.

Mental health evaluations

  • A psychologist licensed by the State of Oklahoma and with whom the agency has a contract for such services must conduct a psychological evaluation of applicants.
  • It must be determined whether the applicant is “suitable” or “unsuitable” to work as a peace officer in Oklahoma as part of the evaluation.
  • Any candidate deemed “not suitable” will have the conditional offer of employment withdrawn. Such an applicant may not undergo another evaluation for at least a year.

During their first year of employment, new correctional officers of all ranks must complete at least 120 hours of training. 

The following topics must be covered in this training:

  • Security and safety procedures
  • Emergency and fire procedures
  • Suicidal intervention/prevention
  • Use of force
  • Inmate rights
  • Key control
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Communication skills
  • Standards of conduct
  • Cultural awareness
  • Sexual abuse and assault intervention
  • Code of ethics


Any officer seeking Oklahoma Certification, who has been certified by a state peace officer standards and training agency as a peace officer in another state, or any officer who has been certified as a federal peace officer by a council-recognized federal law enforcement agency, may obtain certification by reciprocity, under the specific conditions.


The ODOC does not require a college degree to meet the minimum qualifications for a Correctional Officer position. However, 30 hours of college credit can be used in place of experience and training requirements. 

Some colleges offering Criminal Justice Programs in Oklahoma include:

The University of Oklahoma: Criminal Justice

Oklahoma State University: Criminology and Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Oklahoma as $37,640.

Other benefits offered by Oklahoma include:

  • Dental and health insurance are available through various plans depending on the area. Each plan has a different price depending on the provider.
  • Primary life insurance includes a policy worth $20,000. If an accident causes the worker’s death, the payout will increase to $40,000. 
  • Longevity pay, determined by the employee’s number of years of service, is an additional benefit the state provides to qualified full-time employees.
  • Annual leave is accumulated based on years of continuous employment and is used for personal time off, vacations, and other obligations not covered by other paid or holiday time.
  • Sick leave is used when an employee is unable to work due to illness or accident, as well as for medical, dental, or optical examinations or treatment. Employees who work full-time accrue 15 days annually. No cap on accumulation exists.
  • Medical leave for the family is available for employees with at least 12 months of service and who put in at least 1,250 hours the year before.
  • State and municipal government employees, county and state elected officials, and state hazardous duty employees are all members of the OPERS defined benefit plan. OPERS offers a lifetime retirement benefit, and membership is a requirement for employment.


The ODOC is frequently advertising for Correctional Officer positions. All qualified individuals considering employment with the ODOC should apply.


Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons

CoreCivic (Contacted Prisons)