How to Become a Correctional Officer in Oregon

A Correctional Officer position is entry-level for those interested in a career with the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain are the additional four security levels offered, each of which calls for higher levels of leadership ability. The following describes the Oregon DOC’s primary goals:

  • Public Safety: By running two community corrections offices in Linn and Douglas Counties and two safe and secure institutions, DOC helps keep Oregon’s people safe.
  • Rehabilitation: The Oregon Way focuses on putting employee health and wellbeing first while normalizing the correctional environment to improve outcomes for those who are behind bars.
  • Case Management: DOC employs a structured process to evaluate the risks and needs of an adult in custody (AIC) to provide the proper treatment, instruction, and programming. DOC believes that successful reentry starts at intake.
  • Correctional Standards: DOC upholds corrections-related standards that guarantee the security and safety of staff members, AICs, vendors, volunteers, and the general public.
  • Good Stewardship: To better fulfill the department’s mission, vision, and values, DOC forges alliances with victims, residents, government organizations, and private organizations.


Through observation and one-on-one supervision, Correctional Officers provide ongoing management of adults in custody (AICs). Correctional Officers defend the public daily by maintaining prison security and setting good examples of conduct. By averting incidents like escapes, assaults, and the trafficking of illegal substances, Correctional Officers are credited with fostering a secure environment. 

Prison cell with light shining through a barred window

The specific responsibilities that may be assigned to an individual vary and may include being assigned to towers, gate control, housing units, segregation, recreation, mobile patrol, unique details, mail room, inmate work crews, and hospital watches. 

  • Correctional Officers keep an eye on AICs’ activities and oversee their work assignments to help ensure that they are disciplined and follow the rules. Sometimes, 
  • Correctional Officers must arbitrate conflicts between AICs and impose discipline, in addition to searching AICs and their housing for illegal items like drugs or weapons. 
  • Correctional Officers conduct routine inspections of the institution’s facilities, cells, and other areas to look for signs of rule violations, illicit substances, and fire hazards. Additionally, they routinely check the locks, window bars, grilles, doors, and gates for signs of tampering. But perhaps most importantly, Correctional Officers regularly count all AICs during the day and night to ensure they are all present.
  • Correctional Officers provide oral and written reports on the behavior of AICs as well as the caliber and volume of their work. Correctional Officers typically keep a daily log or record of their activities and report any unusual events, security breaches, disturbances, rule violations, and other irregularities. Favoritism is prohibited, and 
  • Correctional Officers are required to report any AIC who disobeys the rules. If the need arises, they assist the relevant law enforcement agencies in investigating crimes committed inside their institutions.


Most Correctional Officers work in one of the 14 prisons the State Department of Corrections runs. They are responsible for caring for the roughly 14,000 adults in custody (AICs) housed there at any given time. 

Minimum requirements for Correctional Officer positions with the Oregon DOC include:

  • Age: Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
  • Health: Overall sound physical and mental health, as well as the absence of any limitations that would prevent applicants from carrying out their duties as a Correctional Officer fully, must adhere to the DPSST’s (Department of Safety Standards and Training) medical requirements.
  • Education: Possess a high school diploma, GED, or other document attesting to education at the same level or higher. All training and instruction listed on the application or background questionnaire must be supported by acceptable documentation.
  • Citizenship: To enroll in the DPSST academy, you must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Conduct: Must have a history of being law-abiding and free of felony convictions. Each applicant must be morally fit, and they must not have engaged in any actions or displayed any behavior that would give rise to serious concerns about their honesty, fairness, regard for the rights of others, or adherence to state or federal law. 
  • Driving: Permit Operating vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds and intended to accommodate 16 or more passengers may necessitate the possession of, or the acquisition of, a Class B commercial driver’s license.
  • Driver’s License: Applicants who have had their license suspended or had a DUII will have their driving histories examined individually.
  • Accountability: The ultimate success of corrections and community safety depends on interactions with prisoners. Employees must set a good example for pro-social behavior and encourage individual offenders to change.


The Basic Corrections Course (BCC) program is available to all Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities. With the help of this thorough training program, Correctional Officers are ready to carry out their duties in line with the department’s mission, vision, values, and objectives.

Correctional Officers will receive consistent, systematic on-the-job field training and coaching, classroom instruction, use of force skills, and online training in the fundamental knowledge and skills required for success during their first year of employment.

The BCC is a 12-month program that includes in-person instruction, online learning, fitness classes, training in the use of force, and a thorough Field Training Evaluation Program (FTEP). The program has DPSST certification and is transferable to other Oregon correctional agencies. The program’s content is not changed at the institutional level.

Topics covered during the BCC include:

  • Week One: Academics and Competencies Basic Interpersonal Communications, Prohibited Inmate Conduct, Basic Defensive Tactics, Blood Borne Pathogens, Communicable Diseases, Employee Wellness and Health & Fitness, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), Respectful Workplace, Boundaries, CORPAT, Correctional Case Management (CCM), Employee Wellness and Health & Fitness.
  • Week Two: Academics and Competencies Basic security procedures, inmate supervision, CPR/First Aid/AED, evidence handling/crime scene preservation, introduction to mental health issues, interpersonal communication (communicating with inmates), suicide prevention, legal concerns, health and fitness, and threat management for security are all covered (STM).
  • Week 3: Academic studies, practical knowledge, and online classes The following online courses are also available: Behavioral Expectations, Emergency Preparedness, Inmate Access to Health Care, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Officer in Court, OSHA, Professional Standards, Extortion, PREA, CCM, DOC400, and Urinalysis. Defensive tactics (Self-Defense/Control/Restraints), Health & Fitness, OC Pepper Spray, Critical Practicum Scenarios, Report Writing, Defensive Tactics (Weapons Critical Practicum Scenarios, Online Courses, and Other Training in
  • Week Four: Defensive tactics (Ground Defense), reality-based training, crucial practicum scenarios, and online training are all topics covered by the DOC. Critical Practicum Scenarios, Additional Training, and Post Assignments in
  • Week Five: Minimum Security Correctional Officers are assigned posts, DOC Policies, Rules & Post-Orders, Online Classes, and Critical Practicum Scenarios. Critical Practicum Scenarios, Additional Training, and Post Assignments in
  • Week Six: Posts are assigned for DOC Policies, Rules & Post-Orders, Online Classes, and Medium and Above Security Officers.


Oregon considers reciprocity under the following conditions:

The introductory training course may be waived for law enforcement officers who have worked for a public or private safety organization in another state and have already finished one that the department determines meets or exceeds Oregon’s minimum training requirements. 


The Oregon DOC does not require a college degree or credits to qualify for a Correctional Officer position. However, having a degree or credits in a related field will be considered during the selection process.


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Oregon as $68,790.

As an employee of the state of Oregon, you will be eligible for the full range of benefits if you join the DOC team. In addition to paying competitive salaries, DOC also provides deferred compensation plans, paid vacation days, employee assistance programs, retirement and medical benefits, and a state employee credit union. Other benefits include: 

  • Medical advantages
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Oregon Savings Growth
  • Paid Leave
  • Options for Insurance Benefits
  • Employee Training
  • Retirement


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


Oregon Department of Corrections

Federal Bureau of Prisons