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Juvenile corrections officers salary & career outlook

Juvenile corrections officers work in juvenile correctional facilities, detention centers and occasionally specialized treatment centers. They are responsible for preventing escapes, assaults and other disturbances by enforcing rules and maintaining security. On a given day, a juvenile corrections officer might supervise inmate activities, search living quarters, offer rehabilitation services, inspect locks and windows, and keep a detailed activity log.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most correctional officers are employed by local and state government, though some work for the federal government in federal prisons. Because the inmate population is in constant flux, correctional officers must be ready for unexpected disturbances and be comfortable working with unpredictable inmates. They must be able to think on their feet and communicate effectively with other officers and government officials. Physical health and self-defense skills are also important.

Juvenile corrections officer salaries

The median salary for correctional officers and jailers, including juvenile corrections officers, was $39,550 in 2013, as reported by the BLS. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,620 and $55,380, while the top 10 percent earned more than $71,720.

Correctional officer salaries in 2013 were influenced by government branch and location. The BLS reports that the federal executive branch paid the most, with an average annual salary of $53,240. Texas, California and Florida employed the most correctional officers in 2013, and average annual salaries were highest in the following metro areas:

  1. Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.: $74,990
  2. Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville, CA: $73,860
  3. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA: $72,650
  4. New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.: $72,540
  5. Salinas, CA: $72,350

Of these cities, the New York City metro area employed the most correctional officers in 2013, but it's ranked as the most overpriced city in the country in 2014, according to Forbes, which can make it a challenging place to pursue a career as a juvenile corrections officer. By contrast, the state of Mississippi, which has the highest concentration of corrections officers employed, is also ranked No. 1 for cost of living by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

Correctional officers can also seek higher salaries through advancement to correctional sergeant or supervisor positions. According to the BLS, supervisors of correctional facilities earned a median income of $57,700 in 2013. Additionally, the BLS notes that promotion opportunities can be influenced by one's education. Juvenile corrections officer training is available in a number of settings including online where officers can earn college credits while continuing to work full time.

Training for juvenile corrections officers

Required training for juvenile corrections officers varies by government agency and facility, but a high-school diploma or GED is always required. The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires correctional officers have a bachelor's degree and/or three years of full-time experience providing supervision, counseling or assistance. In state and local facilities, individuals without prior experience can increase their employment opportunities by earning college credits through traditional or online degree programs, including juvenile corrections officer training online.

Upon being hired, correctional officers receive thorough on-the-job training. Federal corrections officers are required to undergo 200 hours of formal training, while state and local officers work as trainees for several weeks or months under the supervision of an experienced officer.

Correctional officer career outlook

The BLS reports that employment of correctional officers, including juvenile corrections officers, is expected to grow by 5 percent between 2012 and 2022. This growth is slower than the national average; though there is some demand for corrections officers, budget cuts and declining crime rates are expected to slow the job growth. Job prospects should be stronger in the private sector, however, as state and federal authorities contract with private companies to staff facilities.

More career outlooks from Schools.com:

Sources:

"America's Most Overpriced Cities," Erin Carlyle, Forbes.com, Feb. 26, 2014,
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2014/02/26/americas-most-overpriced-cities/

Cost of Living Data Series: First Quarter 2014, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center,
http://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/index.stm

Occupational Employment and Wages: Correctional Officers and Jailers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2013,
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm

Correctional Officers, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Jan. 8, 2014,
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/correctional-officers.htm