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Classification & Qualifications General Schedule Qualification Standards

Correctional Officer Series, 0007

Individual Occupational Requirements

Education

Undergraduate Education: Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in any field leading to a bachelor's degree, in an accredited college or university, is qualifying for GS-5 level positions.

Graduate Education: One full academic year of graduate education with major study in criminal justice, social science, or other field related to the position is qualifying for GS-7. Graduate education may be prorated according to the grade level of the position to be filled, however, it is not qualifying for positions above GS-7.

OR

Experience

General Experience (for GS-5 positions): Three years of general experience, 1 year of which was equivalent to at least GS-4, are qualifying for positions at the GS-5 level. This experience must have demonstrated the aptitude for acquiring knowledge, skills, and abilities required for correctional work, and, in addition, demonstrate the possession of personal attributes important to the effectiveness of correctional officers, such as:

  • Ability to meet and deal with people of differing backgrounds and behavioral patterns.
  • Ability to be persuasive in selling and influencing ideas.
  • Ability to lead, supervise, and instruct others.
  • Sympathetic attitude towards the welfare of others.
  • Ability to reason soundly and to think out practical solutions to problems.
  • Ability to make decisions and act quickly, particularly under stress.
  • Poise and self-confidence, and ability to remain calm during emergency situations.

Qualifying general experience may have been gained in work such as:

  • Social case work in a welfare agency or counseling in other types of organizations.
  • Classroom teaching or instructing.
  • Responsible rehabilitation work, e.g., in an alcoholic rehabilitation program.
  • Supervising planned recreational activities or active participation in community action programs.
  • Management or supervisory work in a business or other organization that included directing the work flow and/or direct supervision of others.
  • Sales work, other than taking and filling orders as in over-the-counter sales.

Specialized Experience (for positions above GS-5): One year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower level in the normal line of progression is qualifying for positions at grade GS-6 and above. Specialized experience must have equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position to be filled. Experience may have been gained in work such as police officer, mental health counselor in a residential facility, or detention officer.

Employment Interview

The personal qualities and characteristics of the applicant are the most critical of all the requirements for Correctional Officer positions. The applicant must be willing to perform arduous and prolonged duties on any of three shifts. In addition, the applicant must possess certain personal qualities in order to relate to inmates effectively in a correctional setting. These include empathy, objectivity, perceptiveness, resourcefulness, adaptability and flexibility, stability, and maturity.

Before appointment, candidates may be required to appear before a panel of specialists in correctional administration for an employment interview to determine the extent to which the candidates possess these and other qualities necessary to perform Correctional Officer duties adequately. The interview will also serve to acquaint applicants with further details of, and the environment surrounding, the position. A determination by the panel that a person who is otherwise qualified does not possess such personal characteristics to the required degree may result in removal of his/her application from further consideration.

Medical Requirements

The Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons has established the following medical requirements for Correctional Officer positions:

The duties of these positions involve unusual mental and nervous pressure, and require arduous physical exertion involving prolonged walking and standing, restraining of prisoners in emergencies, and participating in escape hunts. Applicants must be physically capable of performing efficiently the duties of these positions, and be free from such defects or disease as may constitute employment hazards to themselves or others. The duties of a Correctional Officer are arduous; and sound health as well as physical fitness is required.

Vision: Must have at least 20/30 vision with or without correction. If only one eye is present or functional, the examining health care practitioner shall determine if an applicant can safely perform the physical ability test, the firearms component, and the self-defense component at the training center.

Hearing: Must be capable of hearing conversational voice, with or without a hearing aid, in at least one ear, as measured by normal findings in the decibel ranges of 500, 1000, 2000. This determination is made via a hearing booth test.

Mental/Emotional Stability: Must display mental and emotional stability. The examining health care practitioner shall evaluate mental and emotional stability based upon a thorough medical/psychiatric history as well as a current medical/psychiatric examination. Additionally, any history of psychiatric hospitalizations and outpatient psychiatric treatments shall be considered when evaluating an applicant's mental health.

Active Disease: Active diseases that are infectious and may be spread by routine means, such as handshakes, skin contact, and breathing, preclude an applicant from employment. Once this disease is cured or is considered by the examining health care practitioner to be no longer infectious, the applicant may be considered for employment. Active disease processes or conditions cannot(solely on the basis of the existence of such process, disease, condition, impairment or disability) exclude an otherwise qualified applicant from consideration for employment(i.e. HIV positive, AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease, and loss or injury of one or more limbs).

Disability: Similarly, history of a disease, medical condition, or impairment, particularly if deemed a permanent "disability", cannot, solely on the basis of the existence of such disease, condition, or impairment, exclude an otherwise qualified applicant from consideration for employment. If the applicant is otherwise qualified and can, with or without reasonable accommodation, safely perform the essential functions of the position, the physical ability tests, the firearms component, and the self-defense component at Glynco, then the individual may be considered for employment.

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