- Position description
- Important information to consider
- Recruitment process
On this page
Once you’ve decided to become a prison officer there’s a few things you need to know to about the role before you apply.
Video transcript: Applying to become a prison officer
Description of video:
Throughout this video there is background footage of prison officers performing a range of activities such as walking through prison grounds, talking with prisoners and with other prison officers, in office, classroom and industry settings. They include male and female prison officers who are of diverse ages and backgrounds. Candidates for prison officer jobs are shown completing an online application and performing assessments.
Hi. If you're interested in becoming a prison officer, this video will help you decide if it's the right career for you.
I'm going to talk you through what this job is all about, walk you through the stages of the application process and explain how becoming a prison officer could be just the beginning of an exciting career at Corrections Victoria.
So, what is a prison officer?
We’re people who know that everyone deserves a second chance. Each day we set out to give men and women who've been sentenced, or placed on remand, the opportunity to make better life choices.
Every interaction is a chance to be a positive role model and support better outcomes. We support prisoners with their self-improvement and goal setting so that it's less likely they'll re-offend when they return to the community.
We also help the men and women to build skills to improve their relationships with important friends and family members.
We know how important a support network outside the facility is to people during their sentence and when they are released.
In addition, we make custodial facilities safe and secure environments.
Many of the people we work with have experienced trauma such as abusive family environments, disrupted education and alcohol and drug misuse.
This means there are many challenges and complexities we need to be aware of and try to help them overcome.
We keep the facility safe and secure through dynamic security, which encompasses all aspects of prison management. From the conversations we have and the observations we make to the cell searches we undertake and the intelligence we gather, everything we do ensures the prison is a safe environment for everyone.
We do all this in Victoria's 12 state-run adult custodial facilities.
By becoming a prison officer, you'll be joining the Corrections Victoria team who will support your career development. We'll help you follow a pathway that meets your career aspirations and helps you find a work/life balance.
Our staff also have numerous opportunities to progress in their career by taking on new roles, undertaking further study or even working at different locations.
Then, there's the wider workforce, which sits within the Department of Justice and Community Safety. Becoming a prison officer can be just the beginning of a compelling career. Over time, you will find out about the many opportunities that can arise.
There are pathways for promotion for those who will thrive in leadership positions, such as operational supervisors and operational managers.
We also have roles in agriculture, manufacturing, horticulture and food production.
If you've worked as a tradesperson, had experience working with machinery, or worked in restaurants or bakeries, then your skills could be applied to the industry sector in our facilities.
Many of the men and women in prison work in these industries in order to help them develop new skills and make their time in our facilities productive.
There are many other areas you could enter too, such as prison intelligence, the Emergency Response Group, business support, records management or workforce development and training roles.
We have teams of culturally and linguistically diverse people. This includes liaison officers and Aboriginal liaison officers who support the men and women to engage with their families, understand their cultural identities and community networks.
All these opportunities are within our Corrections workforce and within your reach once you become a prison officer. The largest team you'll be a part of is the Victorian Public Service, also known as the VPS.
There are many benefits to being a public servant. We know that we're serving the community, doing something that Victorians believe is important.
Being part of the VPS also gives us the chance to move to other roles within the Victorian Government.
Do you see becoming a prison officer as the start of a career that could lead you in many exciting directions?
If it's yes, then you'll want to know what we're looking for when we recruit prison officers.
The good news is you can come from a range of professional backgrounds and be a great prison officer. There's no specific qualification needed for you to make an application. It's your life experience that is likely to have already set you up to succeed in this role.
When we look back at your work experience, we're interested in seeing how you've worked well in a team. We are looking for clear, effective communicators who are naturally empathetic and non-judgmental.
We want to hear about how you've shown you can work well in challenging circumstances and how you've been able to display resilience to recover from setbacks and keep a positive frame of mind.
This is really important because you can learn everything else you need to know in the training.
As a new prison officer, you'll kick start your career with an eight-week training program that includes enrolment in a Certificate III in Correctional Practice.
This sets you up to succeed from your first day, as it also includes on the job training. The Certificate III will be highly regarded when applying for ongoing positions and more senior roles too.
After finishing your training, casual staff can nominate their availability to work and full-time staff move on to a rotating fortnightly roster.
The roster operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and our staff work a variety of shifts during the day and overnight. Sometimes shifts can be up to 12 hours long. These longer shifts are balanced out with a good amount of time away from work. This means that you can enjoy a work/life balance.
At times you'll need to work on weekends and public holidays, but you'll be paid penalty rates on top of your usual salary. You'll find that these penalty rates will significantly increase your take-home pay and that's how we know that most Prison Officers earn well above the base rate.
Fortnightly rosters are written up weeks in advance, meaning you can plan your life around your upcoming work.
There are several stages in the application process and at each stage our recruitment team will decide whether applicants progress to the next stage. The various stages can take up to 15 weeks and includes assessments, role plays and interviews.
You'll get more insight into the prison officer role as you progress through the application process and this will help you decide if the role is right for you.
First up in the application process is the online application. This will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
If you progress through the stages, you'll be asked to submit information for security and background checks.
You must declare any information from your past that may be of relevance. This could include any offences you've committed, including speeding fines or work that potentially poses a conflict of interest.
It's important to remember that being honest and declaring everything relevant is essential.
Following this, you'll be asked to do a medical and health assessment. This involves some physical ability tests and health checks, such as vision, hearing and medical history.
You can learn more on our website about what you'll be required to do so that you can start preparing now for the health assessment.
If you progress through all these stages, you'll be given a verbal offer.
This is the time to start preparing for your new career as a prison officer.
If you have any questions about the process, we encourage you to contact our recruitment team who are happy to help answer all your questions.
There are a few additional and important details about the role that you need to consider before you apply.
All prison officers are required to be clean shaven for the purposes of wearing breathing apparatus in case of an emergency.
There is a total non-smoking ban at all Victorian prisons. Staff cannot smoke or have tobacco related products or e-cigarettes in any area of the facility.
Thanks so much for taking the time to learn more about becoming a prison officer.
This is a rewarding job that is just the beginning of a meaningful career, helping people in prison build better lives.
Find out more at justice.vic.gov.au/careers
We hope you'll apply, and we look forward to seeing you on the team.
Put your skills to work with a career in Corrections.
Department of Justice and Community Safety
We recommend that you read the position description. It will give you an understanding of the expectations and responsibilities of a prison officer. This can help with your application process and give you a sense of the requirements of the job.
Important information to consider
The highest levels of integrity are expected from all employees. In your job application you are required to fully disclose any offences or convictions you have had, regardless of the type of offence or when they happened. It is an important indicator about the level of your integrity that you disclose the information at the start of the process.
For safety reasons, prison officers must not have facial hair. Note that there are exceptions on religious grounds.
At most prisons, you’ll be required to work on a 24 hour/ seven-day roster including public holidays. Each prison operates different shift lengths, start and finish times.
Prison officers are provided with a uniform that they wear during their shift.
There is a total smoking ban at all Victorian prisons. Staff and prisoners cannot have tobacco related products or e-cigarettes in any area of a prison.
To be eligible for appointment as a prison officer in a Corrections Victoria facility, you must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or hold Australian permanent residency. You must also possess a current Victorian driver’s license (minimum P2 category) and be willing to obtain a current first aid certificate.
While it is no longer a mandatory requirement for custodial staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, all staff are strongly recommended to maintain their vaccination status in line with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommendations.
The recruitment process takes approximately 6-10 weeks.
Register to attend a free one-hour online information session.
Listen to prison officers talk about what it's really like working inside a prison.
Get a better picture of how the roster system works and why penalty rates plus overtime can significantly increase your take-home pay.
It's a great chance to ask questions so you can decide if this is the career for you.
Locations across Victoria
For more information email Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Health and fitness
Learn about the health and fitness requirements