This page provides information for people seeking to apply to become a prison officer with Corrections Victoria. You can learn more about applying to become a prison officer on this website. 


Prison officers require a level of health and fitness to be effective in their role.

Physical tasks

Physical tasks include but are not limited to:


  • prisoners / people in custody
  • accommodation / cells
  • work areas.

Responding to incidents

  • self defence
  • restraint techniques.


Pre-service training involves various training modules that include a physical component:

These are:

  • Tactical options
  • On the job placement
  • Fire awareness
  • Restraints
  • Searching.

Pre-service health assessment

To ensure you can safely undertake the requirements of the prison officer role and pre-service training, without risk of injusry to yourself or others, you must pass a Health Assessment.

The Health Assessment happens at the end of the recruitment process and consists of these components:

Body Mass Index (BMI)

A BMI between 18.5 and 35 and a waist circumference of 88cm or less for women and 100cm or less for men is the requirement. 

Note: In exceptional circumstances, applicants who do not meet the BMI and waist circumference requirements may be considered if they are able to provide strong objective evidence of their physical capability including strength, good flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and overall body fat levels.

Blood pressure

Blood pressure (treated or untreated) needs to be within normal range of less than or equal to 140/90.

Medical assessment

  • supervised urine drug screening
  • audiology (hearing test)
  • vision and colour vision (basic eye test)
  • lung function test (spirometry)
  • cardiovascular health
  • general health
  • a brief past history of illness
  • task based assessments
  • psychological assessment.

Physical capability assessment

  • lumbar and hamstring flexibility
  • body composition
  • cardiovascular fitness (aerobic fitness capacity – step test)
  • upper body strength
  • abdominal strength.

Candidates will be assessed by doctors and other trained medical professionals.

Preparing for the pre-service health assessment

Candidates who perform exercise regularly and maintain a base level of fitness should not find the assessments difficult.

Candidates who do not exercise regularly should start fitness training activities for at least four weeks prior to assessment. This may involve a brisk walk daily for at least 30 minutes. There are a variety of fitness programs that individuals may follow and it is left to each candidate to perform activities that suit their own personal circumstances. 

Candidates who have pre-existing medical conditions that might impact on physical training should consult their doctor for advice prior to starting training.

Capabilities required to pass the pre-service health assessment
Capability Tasks you may be required to undertake on the job How you will be assessed What you'll need to achieve  Training tips

Lower limb function

  • Fitness to walk, move quickly, over distances and respond to emergency situations
  • Perform a variety of squatting exercises designed to test leg strength
  • Kneel with hands behind back for 20 seconds
  • Ability to squat and bounce
  • When squatting, focus on keeping your chest up, your hips back and your knees out
  • Building strong core muscles will make these exercises easier

Upper body strength

  • Carry and use emergency equipment, riot shields, restraint devices
  • Drag an adult body in an emergency rescue situation
  • Squeeze a grip strength dynamometer with each hand
  • Press weighted bells above your head while standing
  • Perform consecutive push ups


  • Grip strength: 25-32kg depending on age and dominant hand
  • Overhead press: 10kg
  • Push ups: 5-15 repetitions depending on age


  • Grip strength: 41-55kg depending on age and dominant hand
  • Overhead press: 10kg
  • Push ups: 8-22 repetitions depending on age
  • Training with weights will help improve grip and press strength
  • When doing push ups, it’s recommended you squeeze your core and glutes to avoid rounding your spine

Range of motion

  • Hold and restrain prisoners / people in custody
  • Negotiate heights for control room operations
  • Complete a series of stretch exercises to demonstrate flexibility, mobility and reach
  • Neck flexion, extension and rotation
  • Trunk rotation
  • Lumbar flexion and extension
  • Straight leg raise
  • Frequent, controlled muscle stretching is recommended to increase range of motion
  • Stretch after workouts and before bed


  • Carry 25kg weights, including boxes, equipment, breathing apparatus
  • Handle batons and firearms under appropriate controls
  • Static hold and restrain of prisoners
  • Hoist weight up and down repeatedly over one minute
    Carry this weight a distance of five metres
  • Repeated lift of 25kg
  • Lift and carry weight five metres: achieve by second attempt
  • Regular weight training in the gym will set you up well to achieve the benchmark

Core strength

  • Perform static tasks, like sitting for surveillance operations
  • Climb steps, stairways and ladders
  • Perform trunk curls
  • With hips at 45°, sit up with hands across chest
  • When working out, keep your abdomen tight and contracted throughout
  • Bridge, side plank and lunge exercises are also beneficial to core strength development

Learn more:

You may need Adobe® Acrobat® Reader or Libre Office to view the document(s) on this page.

Get Adobe® Acrobat® Reader (External link)

Get Libre Office (External link)