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Prison officer

Alternative titles for this job include

Prison officers supervise inmates in prisons, remand centres and young offenders' institutions.

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter

to

£38,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a prison officer

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

Apprenticeship

You could complete an advanced apprenticeship as a custody and detention officer.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, in English and maths

More Information

Direct Application

You do not need qualifications to apply directly to be a prison officer. Personal qualities are more important.

You'll need to take an online test to check your judgement and your number skills. If you pass, you'll attend an assessment day where you'll:

  • take another number test
  • take a reading and writing test
  • take part in role plays to see if you have the right personal qualities for the job
  • take fitness tests
  • have a medical and eyesight test
  • be interviewed

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a prison officer from HM Prison & Probation Service.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • leadership skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • keep inmates secure
  • carry out security checks and searches
  • supervise prisoners and maintain order - this can involve authorised physical control and restraint
  • support vulnerable prisoners
  • promote anti-bullying and suicide prevention policies
  • go with prisoners on external visits like court appearances or hospital appointments
  • prepare inmates for release through rehabilitation programmes
  • update records and write reports on prisoners

Working environment

You could work in a prison.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience and training you could move into specialist projects, like rehabilitation work with specific groups of prisoners and their families.

You could become a supervising officer, custodial manager, head of function, deputy governor or governor.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a prison officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Public Services - Foundation Degree

  • Provider: BLACKPOOL AND THE FYLDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: Blackpool

Public Services Diploma level 2

  • Provider: ISLE OF WIGHT COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Newport

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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