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Career profile Correctional Supervisor

Also known as Correctional Officer Captain, Correctional Supervisor

Correctional Supervisor

Also known as Correctional Officer Captain, Correctional Supervisor

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$37,720 - $107,780 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Take, receive, or check periodic inmate counts.
  • Maintain order, discipline, and security within assigned areas in accordance with relevant rules, regulations, policies, and laws.
  • Maintain knowledge of, comply with, and enforce all institutional policies, rules, procedures, and regulations.
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What does a Correctional Supervisor do?

Correctional Supervisors directly supervise and coordinate activities of correctional officers and jailers.

What kind of tasks does a Correctional Supervisor perform regularly?

Correctional Supervisors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Take, receive, or check periodic inmate counts.
  • Maintain order, discipline, and security within assigned areas in accordance with relevant rules, regulations, policies, and laws.
  • Maintain knowledge of, comply with, and enforce all institutional policies, rules, procedures, and regulations.
  • Respond to emergencies, such as escapes.
  • Supervise and direct the work of correctional officers to ensure the safe custody, discipline, and welfare of inmates.
  • Supervise or perform searches of inmates or their quarters to locate contraband items.
  • Monitor behavior of subordinates to ensure alert, courteous, and professional behavior toward inmates, parolees, fellow employees, visitors, and the public.
  • Restrain, secure, or control offenders, using chemical agents, firearms, or other weapons of force as necessary.
  • Carry injured offenders or employees to safety and provide emergency first aid when necessary.
  • Complete administrative paperwork or supervise the preparation or maintenance of records, forms, or reports.
  • Supervise activities, such as searches, shakedowns, riot control, or institutional tours.
  • Conduct roll calls of correctional officers.
  • Instruct employees or provide on-the-job training.
  • Resolve problems between inmates.
  • Set up employee work schedules.
  • Examine incoming or outgoing mail to ensure conformance with regulations.
  • Transfer or transport offenders on foot or by driving vehicles, such as trailers, vans, or buses.
  • Review offender information to identify issues that require special attention.
  • Develop work or security procedures.
  • Convey correctional officers' or inmates' complaints to superiors.
  • Supervise or provide security for offenders performing tasks, such as construction, maintenance, laundry, food service, or other industrial or agricultural operations.
  • Conduct evaluations of employees' performance.
  • Rate behavior of inmates, promoting acceptable attitudes and behaviors to those with low ratings.

The above responsibilities are specific to Correctional Supervisors. More generally, Correctional Supervisors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

What is a Correctional Supervisor salary?

The median salary for a Correctional Supervisor is $60,910, and the average salary is $67,600. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Correctional Supervisor salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Correctional Supervisors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Correctional Supervisors earn less than $37,720 per year, 25% earn less than $46,610, 75% earn less than $85,160, and 90% earn less than $107,780.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Correctional Supervisors is expected to change by -2.7%, and there should be roughly 4,100 open positions for Correctional Supervisors every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$37,720 - $107,780
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Correctional Supervisors?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Correctional Supervisor are usually higher in their Enterprising, Conventional, and Realistic interests.

Correctional Supervisors typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Correctional Supervisors typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Correctional Supervisors typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Correctional Supervisors typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Correctional Supervisor tend to value Support, Independence, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Correctional Supervisors very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Correctional Supervisors strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Correctional Supervisors moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Correctional Supervisors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, self-control, and stress tolerance.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Correctional Supervisors, ranked by importance:

Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

What education and training do Correctional Supervisors need?

Correctional Supervisors often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Correctional Supervisors usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Correctional Supervisors

  • 1.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 25.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 31.1% completed some college coursework
  • 12.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 22.7% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 6.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Correctional Supervisors

Correctional Supervisors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as public safety and security, law and government, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Correctional Supervisors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

Important Abilities needed by Correctional Supervisors

Correctional Supervisors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Correctional Supervisors need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Correctional Supervisors, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Correctional Supervisors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Correctional Supervisors frequently use skills like active listening, critical thinking, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Correctional Supervisors, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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