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How to Become A Corrections Officer for The Illinois Department Of Corrections

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Hello, I am a Corrections Officer at the Illinois Department Of Corrections. In basic terms a "Prison Guard". Below i will detail how to get a job as a "Corrections Officer" in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Though it is not particularly hard to become one, there are several steps to it. This is kind of one of them jobs where many people just don't know how to get into unless they currently have family working in the field who can steer them along. Although with everything being put on the internet things are definitely becoming easier. So this is how to do it.

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Go to or do a google search for Illinois Department of Corrections.

On the left Sidebar there will be a tab for "Jobs @ IDOC".

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This will bring you to "Careers at IDOC" page. This page tells you that you must meet this criteria -Illinois Resident -18 years of age -Valid driver's license -High School Diploma or GED certificate -U.S. citizen or authorized alien with proof of a permanent resident card -Speak, read, and write English

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And underneath this criteria is how to submit an application. You can either print and send completed application to IDOC. Or submit Electronically On this website. The application is very basic. They hardly ask you anything. Just name, Address, SSN# and Driver license#. The rest they will find out later as you are tested.

After you submit the application the waiting game begins. When i went through this myself it took a total of 6 months for me to land on the hiring list after going through what i am about to go into. Within about a month of when IDOC receives your application they will send you a packet telling you when your test date will be and what is expected at the testing. They have different testing sites throughout the state. But they only typically run one testing site a month at one location. Which means if they tell you Chicago National Guard Armory, then you either go there or reschedule for the next test date a month later that still might not be anywhere near where you live. My test date was a month and a half from when i got my packet and i tested at the National guard armory in Chicago.

At the testing you will complete a timed written test. Which is almost entirely reading comprehension. Basically read a short story then answer 8 multiple choice questions. (example: where did bobby go after school?) and one of the multiple questions might be (what is another word for "conclusion"). Not hard. I myself felt that a little common sense came to play with this also. Like the fact that on the test booklet the left page is the story you must read and on the right page is the 8 multiple choice questions. If you don't know the answer to a question, just skim back through the story again(its right in front of you). Also something i did that i think gave me an edge is, i read the multiple choice questions before reading each story. Then while reading the story, i was reaching over and answering questions. I finished with five minutes left over. I spent this time going back through and rechecking my answers and rereading some of the stories to be sure of my answers. After the test was over they make you wait about ten minutes while they grade the test. Anyone who didn't meet the minimum score was showed the door. The rest moved on to the next test.

The next test involved watching a video with a blank piece of paper in front of you for note taking. Then "after" the video was turned off, you had to take a test on what you remember seeing. (example:"Tall" "white" inmate with "blonde" hair stabbed "short" "tattooed" "Hispanic" guy with a "screwdriver" and officer "Johnson" responded). The things you should have written in your notes -time on the clock on wall -detailed description of "all" people at scene -the weapon -names of people if shown -what happened

Next is the physical agility test(timed but somewhat generous). Which involves 17 "perfect" pushups(all the way up and down with good form)i ended up doing 35 but i think the instructor was playing with me. Sit ups(i think 50)in i think 2 minutes. Also 4 minutes stepping to the beat on a plastic step(left foot up then right foot up,left foot down then right foot down to the beat of music). That one i found to be hard although i saw a three hundred pound guy do it and survive. Next is a cone obstacle course on the gym floor. This course was very small and involved running around a handfull of cones in different directions as specified in your test date packet(bring this picture with arrows with you so you can refresh yourself right before doing it). There will be an instructor that will stand in the middle of this course who will point at cones and say "circle around left" "circle around Right" as he points at these cones. You get 60 seconds to complete this. I finished it in 23 seconds(best time of day). Although there where a few in my group that couldn't complete it(once you go round a cone the wrong way its hard to get back on track even with someone yelling where to go). With all of these test you get a "retry" if you fail. Then if you still can't get it, you are shown the door.

Then is the oral interview. This is not done by the person doing the hiring. This is 2 Corrections Officers asking you "what if questions".(example: if your supervisor told you to place a shank(knife) under an inmates pillow, to frame the inmate, what do you do?) (If an inmate punches another inmate and runs, what do you do?

Next i had to be fingerprinted and eye scanned by an FBI agent (present at the testing)

Then in the last room of the testing you will be told that you have like 3 hours to pee in a cup for drug testing. If you refuse to pee or can't pee in the time limit, then you will be barred from ever testing for this job again. Under their guidelines if they give you 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes for the entire time limit you will pee unless you are holding it.

After this testing is done you will start the waiting game again. It took me more that three months before i landed on the hiring list. And once you are on the hiring list you will not be called unless the institutions you listed yourself for wanting, are hiring. And you will be listed on the hiring list based on your point score for the testing date you did and based on previous military, supervisory roles, and law enforcement experiences that will give you extra points for the testing score.

After you are on the hiring list your name will stay listed for 1 year. After 1 year you will have to go through this all over again to get back on the list.

And thats it. I myself am very happy in this career field. My income doubled coming to this job. I have been a corrections officer for about 6 years and am making about $55,000 a year. When hired I had some collage (not required) and 4yrs military experience (not required). Many of the people i work with came here right out of high school with no experience of any kind, so don't be discouraged.

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Thats it.


If you have ever been convicted of a felony. They will not let you complete testing to become a corrections officer.

  • If you have ever been convicted of a felony. They will not let you complete testing to become a corrections officer.

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