Is it in you to be a prison officer?
Like anything worth doing, this job isn't easy.
But if you have what it takes, it could be a very rewarding career. To begin with - depending on your contracted hours – prison officer jobs attract potential salaries of up to £30,000 in London and the South East. They start from £23,052 elsewhere in England and Wales. (See FAQs.) In addition, you'll receive a number of benefits including a pension and the ability to earn through overtime.
What does it take?
Do you have the right personal qualities?
- Communication Skills
These are just some of the qualities you'll need to work with offenders and support their rehabilitation. At our recruitment assessment day, we'll test if you have what it takes in a series of role-play exercises.
How's your maths?
You'll need a decent level of maths to be a prison officer. As well as being able to do prisoner headcounts, you'll have to write reports. As part of your application, you'll take an online maths test. Here are some practice questions.
You can test your maths skills here.
Are you physically fit enough?
Being a prison officer is a physically demanding job. For starters, you’ll be on your feet for much of the day. You’ll also have to respond quickly in emergency situations. As part of your recruitment assessment day, you’ll have to pass a fitness test.
Have a look at our video to learn more about the fitness test that prison officer candidates complete at a RAD.
What's your eyesight like?
Good eyesight is crucial. You’ll need to meet a minimum standard in both eyes of not less than 6/36 in each eye on the Snellen scale (uncorrected) and not less than 6/12 in the best eye (corrected with glasses/contact lenses if necessary). You also need to have normal binocular field vision with at least 120 degrees of vision in the horizontal plane. Your eyes will be tested at the assessment day.
We’ll also give you a general health check and measure your blood pressure before you’re allowed to do the fitness test - your blood pressure must be lower than 170/100 on the day.
What's your employment history?
If you pass our assessment day, you'll go into our vetting process. This is where we ask for your employment history, and do a thorough background check, so it can take a while to complete – between three and six months. Please bear with us during this time. It's definitely a career worth waiting for.
What we can offer you
So what's in it for you?
- Training: including the Prison Officer Entry-Level Training (POELT) course. On this comprehensive training programme (which is either residential or local depending on your location) you'll develop the interpersonal skills that will help you manage people in custody.
- Benefits: The starting salary for a prison officer is up to c. £30,000 plus pension and benefits for London and the South East, and £22,420 plus pension & benefits in other areas, depending on contract hours. Officers have the ability to earn extra through additional overtime.