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Career and Education Opportunities for Correctional Officers in Chicago, Illinois

If you want to be a correctional officer, the Chicago, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 14,370 jobs for correctional officers in Illinois and this is projected to grow by 14% to about 16,380 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for correctional officers are expected to grow by about 9.4%. In general, correctional officers guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures.

Correctional officers earn approximately $26 hourly or $54,190 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $18 hourly or $38,380 annually. Earnings for correctional officers are the same as earnings in the general category of Correctional in Illinois and better than general Correctional category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: detention officer, deputy sheriff, and cottage supervisor.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a correctional officer. The most common level of education for correctional officers is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be 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 Chicago 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.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.
  • 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.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • 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

Brown Mackie College-Merrillville - Merrillville, IN

Brown Mackie College-Merrillville, 1000 E 80th Place, Suite 101N, Merrillville, IN 46410. Brown Mackie College-Merrillville is a small college located in Merrillville, Indiana. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 780 students. Brown Mackie College-Merrillville has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Corrections and Criminal Justice, Other Specialties which graduated zero and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has an associate's degree program in Corrections which graduated two students in 2008.

Saint Xavier University - Chicago, IL

Saint Xavier University, 3700 W 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60655. Saint Xavier University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,307 students and an admission rate of 71%. Saint Xavier University has one to two year, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Corrections and Criminal Justice, Other Specialties.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has a master's degree program in Corrections and Criminal Justice, Other Specialties.

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.

LICENSES

COUNTY CORRECTIONS OFFICER

Licensing agency: Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board
Address: 600 S. Second St., Suite 300, Springfield, IL 62704-2542

Phone: (217) 782-4540
Website: Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.