Frequently-Asked Questions About Employment With The BOP

This page provides responses to employment-related questions. Please note, these are general guidelines and some answers may vary depending on your individual circumstances.

General Qualifications and Requirements
Correctional Officer National Register


What kinds of jobs are available in the BOP? (top)

Please view job descriptions.

Where are the jobs located? (top)

Each announcement will list the duty station for that position. For open continuous announcements, you will have the opportunity to identify a maximum of three institutions of choice.Select maps to view institution locations across the United States.

How do I apply for a BOP position? (top)

You can apply for a position with the BOP by using any of these following sites: Application Steps, USAJOBS.

Do prison positions have any special compensation or restrictions due to the prison environment? (top)

View salary/benefits information. For restrictions, review FAQs.

Do BOP positions require U.S. citizenship? (top)

You must be a U.S. citizen to be employed by the BOP. On very rare occasions, waivers are available for hard-to-fill positions when no qualified U.S. citizens are available.

Is there an entry age requirement? (top)

Public Law 101-509 establishes a mandatory retirement age of fifty-seven for persons in Federal law enforcement positions. The Attorney General has determined that the initial appointment of employees into Federal BOP law enforcement positions must be prior to their 37th birthday, with the following exceptions: Physician Assistant; Medical Officer; Dental Officer; Registered Nurse; Nurse Practitioner; Psychologist; and Catholic, Islamic, and Jewish Chaplains.

There are positions in our Regional and Central Offices and our Training Centers that are not law enforcement, but positions in the institutions are covered by Federal law enforcement retirement.

Will military time count towards meeting the entry age requirement? (top)

Military service does not satisfy the age requirement because you did not previously serve in a Federal civilian law enforcement position covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS).

Does my military time count as Federal Service? (top)

No. Employees covered by the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) are required to make a deposit for all post-1956 military service to be credited as Federal service. Without a deposit, military time is only credited towards annual leave accrual.

Can I still apply and get hired if I have six months of military service left? (top)

Yes. You may apply for a position and be hired while on terminal leave.

What are the medical and physical requirements for correctional work? (top)

All positions located in a correctional institution perform correctional work regardless of the employee's specific occupation.

Before an applicant is appointed, a physical examination is required. A BOP Medical Officer determines an applicant's ability to perform the duties of the position based on a medical history report and physical examination. Once employed, all staff must pass the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia. This test is designed to measure your ability to perform the essential functions of a correctional worker.

You must be able to perform the following:
• walk/stand up to an hour
• see a human figure at a distance of one quarter mile or a target at 250 yards
• hear and detect movement
• use firearms
• perform self-defense movements
• run an extended distance
• climb stairs
• lift, drag, and carry objects
• smell smoke and drugs

Is there a height/weight requirement? (top)

No. Each applicant shall be evaluated by the physical standards noted previously.

Can I get a job if I have a disability? (top)

Yes, if you can perform the functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodations. A disabled person may be employed in a law enforcement position if they meet the medical and physical requirements for correctional work.

How does my credit rating affect my ability to be hired with the BOP? (top)

Employment eligibility may be affected by an applicant's financial history. During the interview process, your credit report will be evaluated and employment consideration will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Would having a criminal record affect one's chances of getting a job with the BOP? (top)

Applicants with a criminal record are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Be honest and forthright concerning your background during the interview process.

What is your policy on prior drug use? (top)

The BOP is firmly committed to a drug-free workplace and has a zero tolerance for illegal drug use. An applicant's prior drug use will be evaluated during the pre-employment process.

Is eligibility for employment affected by having a family member in prison? (top)

Candidates are not disqualified from employment based on the status of relatives. Any information regarding the incarceration of relatives must be provided to eliminate potential conflicts of interest.

If I have a higher-paying job offer, will the BOP match the salary? (top)

Salary compensation may be considered for hard-to-fill positions.

Will the BOP pay for my move? (top)

Only under rare circumstances (such as hard-to-fill positions). New hires must initially relocate at their own expense.

Is it mandatory to work shifts and weekends? (top)

Correctional institutions must operate 7 days a week, 24-hours a day. Shift work and weekend schedules are mandatory for many positions.

What kind of training do you offer? (top)

Upon initial appointment to a position in a correctional institution, employees will receive Institution Familiarization Training. In addition, they must pass a three-week course, Introduction to Correctional Techniques, at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA.

There are numerous required and optional speciality training courses designed to enhance career development based on your occupation.

What if I need help applying? (top)

Contact the BOP's Consolidated Staffing Unit or call 972-352-4200.

Does the BOP hire attorneys and/or law students? (top)

The BOP hires experienced attorneys, new attorneys (through the Attorney General's Honors Program), and interns through the Summer Law Intern Program. For more information, see the Attorney Recruitment and Students section.

What is my standing on the correctional officer register? (top)

Your relative standing on the register will constantly vary and will depend on any additions and/or suspensions from the register.

How long can I stay on the correctional officer national register? (top)

One year from the date of your notice of results.

I have been on the correctional officer register for a year and still have not heard from anyone. What should I do? (top)

Your name is referred to employing facilities based on the need to fill positions at your location preferences. You must reapply to the register one year from the date of your eligibility if you desire further consideration. You may also apply for an extension.

I have completed my application and received my rating/confirmation of application received. What happens next? (top)

You must wait to be contacted by an institution for employment consideration.

How will I know when my rating is reached on the register for employment consideration? (top)

You will be contacted when your name appears on a certificate of eligibles. You should contact the institution(s) where you desire employment to inquire about current or anticipated vacancies.

If an institution contacts me, does this mean I have been selected? (top)

No. It means you are receiving consideration, along with other applicants, for possible employment. It does not represent a guarantee of employment.