careertrend article image
security officer blowing whistle image by Elke Dennis from

How to Prepare for the Corrections Officer Employment Test

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Prior to becoming a correctional officer, candidates are required to pass the pre-employment test. Candidates must also fill out an application and register with their state's law enforcement agency. The test questions are generally multiple-choice questions and intended to gauge the test taker’s proficiency within a number of key areas.

Designing a Study Plan

Become familiar with the format of the test and type of questions you’ll encounter. For example, questions will address your decision-making skills, grammar, mathematics, memory, reading comprehension and situational awareness.

Learn the various subjects/topics that the exam covers, including general knowledge and skills, equipment, ethics, regulations and legal issues, offender management and control, health and safety issues.

Create your own study guide by writing each of the topics above on a different sheet of paper.

List the various subjects that every major topic entails. For example, under the heading “General Knowledge and Skills,” write policies, agency mission, standards, communication and procedures. For your headings on “Ethics, Regulations & Legal Issues,” include the history of courts and corrections, state and federal laws, Prison Litigation Reform Act, searches and seizures, investigation methods (surveillance, monitoring behavior, interviewing), trials and appeals.

Review the study guide and commit the subjects to memory. Use flash cards and other materials to assist you. Take practice tests and assessments that contain the sort of questions you’d expect on your test.


Since test content and specifics can vary, contact the enforcement agency that administers the test to find out additional information and obtain any recommended study manuals or books. It’s a good idea to speak with someone who has taken and passed the same Corrections Officer Employment Test that you’ll be taking. They can provide additional insight and tips on what to expect.