More than 11,000 correctional officers work in North Carolina prisons to supervise inmates, ensure a safe, secure and orderly prison operation, and provide an effective response to emergency situations. Correctional officers maintain public safety in the face of daily hostility, risks and difficulties.

Tab/Accordion Items

To become a Correctional Officer, candidates must:

  • Be at least 20 years of age and a citizen of the United States
  • Have their High School or General Educational Development (GED) diploma, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Be eligible for certification by the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. 
  • Have a valid driver license
  • As part of the Criminal Justice Background investigation process, applicants with military experience must submit an unaltered copy of the DD-214, Report of Separation (long form) along with their application. Applicants seeking Veteran’s Preference must attach a DD-214.
  • Applicants in the National Guard must also submit Form NGB-23A.
  • Pass psychological testing as required by NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.
  • Pass physical examination as required by NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.
  • Pass drug screening as required by NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.
  • Attend and successfully complete six weeks of Basic Correctional Officer Training (BCOT) at a Training Facility. Employees shall be scheduled for BCOT during their second week of employment.

Work Environment

Employees must be able to work any shift including rotating, fixed shift or split shift. All shifts may include days, nights, weekends, holidays and mandatory overtime as required.  

Dress Code
Department of Adult Correction policy on personal grooming is enforced during Basic Training. Officers wear their duty uniform every day for class.

"No alcohol" policy. Cell phones, cameras and/or recording devices are not allowed in any building, classroom, gymnasium, or firing range where training is being conducted. Failure to follow the dress code or rules of conduct could result in immediate separation from training and disciplinary action, including dismissal. 



Training Schedule
New correctional officers are scheduled to attend a six-week Basic Correctional Officer Training class beginning the second week of employment. Officers should be prepared to stay overnight in a dormitory at the training academy during this six-week training period. Classes begin at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Trainees must be on time for all classes. There are no approved absences.

Trainees must successfully complete the required 160 hours (4 weeks) to sit for the state exam. A score of 70% is required on the final exam to be certified by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.

Trainees must report to the assigned training center/academy on a Sunday and must be in duty uniform. The Office of Staff Development and Training (OSDT) provides student handouts and notebooks; however, students must provide their own pens/pencils and paper for note taking.

  1. All applications are immediately screened to verify the applicant:
  • Is at least 20 years old
  • Has a high school diploma or equivalency
  • Has a valid driver’s license
  • Is a U.S. citizen

This process typically takes about a week. If all of the above requirements are met, applicants move to step 2.

  1. A background check is conducted to determine employment/certification eligibility. If the results are positive, NCDAC will contact the applicant to schedule an interview. Interviews are typically held on-site at the prison facility.

This process may take 2-3 weeks depending on whether there are issues with the criminal background or previous employment/certification issues. If not contacted within four weeks of submitting the application, the applicant may contact the regional employment office (REO) closest to their residence address:

  1. If the interview goes well, the applicant will meet with a Prisons representative to discuss next steps in the hiring process. If a conditional offer of employment is extended, additional appointments are required for further testing and completion of paperwork.
  2. After the interview, the selected applicant completes a medical examination, drug screening, and tuberculosis screening, as applicable, at a medical provider location authorized by NCDAC.
  3. Following the medical examination, the selected applicant schedules an appointment to meet with a regional employment office representative for completion of required employment and criminal justice forms and assessments. During the REO appointment, the applicant shall be required to provide documents such as a driver's license, social security card, proof of education, photo ID, and a few other documents.
  4. Following the REO appointment, the selected applicant will be contacted to schedule a psychological screening examination. (Note: This step may not be required if reinstating to the same certification within one year and left in good standing).

This process typically takes about two weeks. If the REO appointment has been completed, but the psychological screening examination has not been scheduled, the selected applicant may contact the same REO location where the REO appointment was held.

  1. If the applicant meets all agency and Criminal Justice Standards requirements, the applicant is contacted by a Prisons representative to establish a start date for employment and schedule pick up of uniforms. Employment begins with a week of orientation at the facility, then employees are scheduled as soon as possible for a six-week Correctional Officer Basic Training (COBT) class at one of the NCDAC training academies.