Correctional officers oversee those who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. Bailiffs are law enforcement officers who maintain safety and order in courtrooms.
Working in a correctional institution can be stressful and dangerous. Correctional officers and jailers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, often resulting from confrontations with inmates. Officers work in shifts that cover all hours of the day and night, including weekends and holidays. Bailiffs’ hours are determined by when court is in session.
Correctional officers go through a training academy and then are assigned to a facility for on-the-job training. Although qualifications vary by state and agency, all agencies require a high school diploma and have an age requirement. Some federal agencies also require some college education or related work experience.
The median annual wage for bailiffs was $47,830 in May 2019.
The median annual wage for correctional officers and jailers was $45,180 in May 2019.
Employment of correctional officers and bailiffs is projected to decline 7 percent from 2019 to 2029. State and local budget constraints and prison population levels will determine how many correctional officers are necessary. Bailiffs will continue to be needed to keep order in courtrooms.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for correctional officers and bailiffs.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of correctional officers and bailiffs with similar occupations.
Learn more about correctional officers and bailiffs by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.