How to Become a Prison Guard

Working as a prison guard is not for everyone. It requires working difficult hours with hardened criminals. However, for those with a strong determination to enforce the law, a career as a prison guard is an excellent choice. Prison guards receive a reasonable salary with excellent benefits. Read the tips listed below and see if you have what it takes to become a prison guard.

  • Basic Requirements The American justice system has some basic requirements that you must fulfill in order to become a prison guard. You must be a United States citizen and be at least 37 years old. Contact the penitentiary that you would like to work at to find out what other basic requirements they have [source: Legal Criminal].
  • Education The educational requirements for prison guards vary from state to state. Some states require a bachelor's degree or college diploma. Other states prefer law enforcement training from an accredited college or police academy [source: bls].
  • Testing Your local jail or penitentiary will administer rigorous testing to determine whether you are a desirable candidate for a position as a prison guard. This will include a thorough background check to ensure you've never been convicted of a felony and that you have no history of drug or alcohol abuse. As well, a federal medical officer will give you a medical and physical examination. Working as a prison guard may sometimes get physical. You must therefore be physically fit, so you're able to deal with any possible disturbances. Also, you will be required to take a psychological test to see that you are mentally stable.
  • Training If you are deemed to be a desirable candidate, the prison that you applied to will provide you with orientation training. This will allow you to become familiar with their codes of conduct, procedures and the actual facility. Training will also include instructions in self-defense, firearms and physical enforcement. Depending of your place of employment, you may have to pass a test at the end of the training session in order to be hired as a prison guard.