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Career and Education Opportunities for Correctional Officers in Birmingham, Alabama

Correctional officers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Birmingham, Alabama area. There are currently 6,220 working correctional officers in Alabama; this should grow by 23% to 7,680 working correctional officers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for correctional officers, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.4% over the next eight years. Correctional officers generally guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures.

Income for correctional officers is about $14 hourly or $31,040 yearly on average in Alabama. Nationally, their income is about $18 hourly or $38,380 per year. Incomes for correctional officers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Correctional in Alabama, and better than the overall Correctional category nationally. People working as correctional officers can fill a number of jobs, such as: correctional sergeant, youth corrections officer, and jail officer.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Birmingham area, including one within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree to start your career as a correctional officer. The most common level of education for correctional officers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a correctional officer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Correctional Officer

Correctional Officer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, correctional officers guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures. They also may guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, or other point.

Correctional officers perform head counts to insure that each prisoner is present. They also track conduct of prisoners in housing unit, or during work or recreational efforts, in line with established policies and procedures, to inhibit escape or violence. Equally important, correctional officers have to examine conditions of locks and gates at correctional facilities to insure security and help avoid escapes. They are often called upon to search prisoners and vehicles and conduct shakedowns of cells for valuables and contraband. They are expected to record data, such as prisoner identification and incidences of inmate disturbance, and keep daily logs of prisoner efforts. Finally, correctional officers take prisoners into custody and escort them to locations within and outside of facilities, such as visiting rooms or airports.

Every day, correctional officers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to speak clearly. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for correctional officers to drive passenger vehicles and trucks used to move inmates to other institutions and work sites. They are often called upon to serve meals, distribute commissary items, and dispense prescribed medication to prisoners. They also guard facility entrances to screen visitors. They are sometimes expected to manage records of prisoners' identification and charges. Somewhat less frequently, correctional officers are also expected to participate in required job training.

Correctional officers sometimes are asked to arrange daily schedules for prisoners including library visits and counseling appointments. They also have to be able to use nondisciplinary tools and equipment such as computers and settle disputes between inmates. And finally, they sometimes have to record data, such as prisoner identification and incidences of inmate disturbance, and keep daily logs of prisoner efforts.

Like many other jobs, correctional officers must be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Bailiff. Maintain order in courts of law.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Correctional Officer Training

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Corrections and Criminal Justice, Other Specialties which graduated eighty-six and three students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Corrections Executive: This category includes individuals at the highest level of adult and juvenile corrections who oversee the development and implementation of policies and procedures.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Manager: This category includes individuals who manage major units or programs within a correctional setting.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Supervisor: This certification is for indifviduals who works with both staff and offenders in a correctional setting.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Officer: This category includes all personnel who work directly with offenders.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Executive/Juvenile: This category includes individuals at the highest level of juvenile corrections who oversee the development and implementation of policies and procedures.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Manager/Juvenile: This category includes individuals who manage major units or programs within a Juvenile correctional setting.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Supervisor/Juvenile: This category includes individuals who work with both staff and offenders in a Juvenile correctional setting.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Officer/Juvenile: All personnel who work directly with offenders.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Supervisor - Security Threat Groups: The American Correctional Association and the National Major Gang Task Force have collaborated to develop within the Corrections Certification Program a Security Threat Group specialization.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Corrections Officer/Provisional: Individuals in this category will work directly with offenders.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.