Prison instructor

Alternative titles for this job include Instructional officer

Prison instructors help prisoners gain skills to help them find employment after their release.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£31,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become a Prison instructor

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course


You'll need to have, or be prepared to work towards, a recognised teaching qualification like:

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training
  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training
  • Level 5 Education and Training Diploma

You'll need access to 100 hours of teaching practice. You'll also need experience and a level 3 vocational qualification in your subject area or trade.

You may find it useful to have qualifications in assessment, such as the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths

More information

More information

Further information

You can find out more about teaching qualifications from FE Advice.

See Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS) for more details on this role.


What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

You would also need to meet the usual Prison Service entry requirements which include nationality and security checks. See Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS) for more details.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • finding out the skills and training needs of each prisoner
  • planning training sessions
  • preparing teaching materials
  • providing group or one-to-one instruction
  • updating prisoners' individualised learner records (ILRs)
  • supporting prisoners working towards qualifications
  • making sure prisoners are supervised at all times
  • keeping the working area safe 
  • making sure tools and materials are counted to avoid security risks
  • searching prisoners - known as a 'rub down' or 'pat down'

Working environment

You could work in a prison.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and physically and emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to senior or principal officer, or move into other areas of training or instructing.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Nursery School Assistant Apprentice Level 3

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Nursery Apprentice Level 2

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Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a Prison instructor?

Search for training courses near you.

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