Our Hiring Process
What you can expect from the time you apply through your first year of employment.
What to expect after you have applied for a position.
If during any part of the application and hiring process you need a special accommodation for your disability, please notify the hiring/servicing personnel office who will make reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis. Please note that anyone with a disability may be employed in a law enforcement position if they meet the medical and physical requirements (see below) for correctional work, with or without reasonable accommodations.
Equal Opportunity Employer
The Bureau of Prisons is an equal opportunity employer and does not tolerate discrimination. Our selections are based on merit and not your:
- National origin
- Physical disability
- Marital and/or parental status
- Membership in an employee organization
- Sexual orientation
We'll keep in contact
You will receive notifications or be contacted at various times throughout the hiring process, such as:
- When we have received your application
- When your name appears on a certificate of eligible candidates
- If you are receiving consideration for a position
If you are a qualified applicant, you must have an employment panel interview prior to final selection. Normally, interviews are held at a BOP location within the general area (about 250 miles round trip) from your home. You must pay any travel expenses to and from the interview site.
What to expect if you have been selected for a position.
Your employment with our agency is subject to satisfactory completion of a background investigation to determine suitability for employment as a law enforcement official. Its scope includes law enforcement and criminal record checks, credit checks, and inquiries with previous employers and personal references. Suitability determinations are made on a case-by-case basis and are based upon an individual's character or conduct that could affect how the agency accomplishes its duties or responsibilities. Be honest and forthright concerning your background during the interview process.
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.
The Attorney General has determined that the initial appointment of employees into Federal BOP law enforcement positions must be prior to your 37th birthday. This requirement only applies to positions in the correctional institutions; however, exceptions are made for hard-to-fill positions such as:
- Physician Assistant
- Medical Officer
- Dental Officer
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Practitioner
- Catholic, Islamic, and Jewish Chaplains
The BOP is firmly committed to a drug-free workplace and has a zero tolerance for illegal drug use. During your Medical Examination you will be given a urinalysis test for drug detection.
Medical and Physical Examination
If you are hired for a position in a correctional institution, you must be able to perform correctional work regardless of your specific occupation. Therefore, before you can be appointed, a physical examination is required. It will usually be performed by a Federal medical officer at no cost to the applicant. A determination will be made on your ability to perform the duties of the position based on your medical history report and physical examination. Your height, weight, or disability is not a factor that we take into consideration when hiring, only that you can pass the PAT.
What to expect during your first year after being hired.
Orientation & Correctional Training
When beginning work at your location, you will initially receive training in Introduction to Correctional Techniques Phase I where you will:
- Become familiar with your facility
- Learn BOP policies and procedures
- Learn techniques for supervising and communicating with inmates in their daily activities
Specialized Correctional Training
Within the first 60 days after appointment you will be sent to the Staff Training Academy located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA, where you will be trained in Introduction to Correctional Techniques Phase II. This specialized training includes four components: Firearms, Self-Defense, Written Academic Test on policies and procedures, and the Physical Abilities Test (PAT). The PAT will measure your ability to perform the essential functions of a correctional worker. Specifically, you must be able to perform the following tasks:
- 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
- Lift, drag, and carry objects
- Smell smoke and drugs
- Complete an obstacle course within 58 seconds
- Drag a 75-pound dummy 3 minutes continuously for a minimum of 694 feet
- Climb rungs of a ladder and retrieve an item within 7 seconds
- Run one-fourth mile and apply handcuffs within 2 minutes and 35 seconds
- Climb up and down 108 steps with a 20-pound weight belt within 45 seconds
Each new permanent employee who receives a career or career conditional appointment, serves a one-year probationary period immediately following his or her appointment. This period is used to determine the qualifications of the employee for continued employment. During this time, the supervisor monitors and provides guidance to the employee. For continued employment, the supervisor must favorably evaluate the performance and conduct of the employee. This time period also helps employees determine whether the work is compatible with their skills and aspirations. In addition, each new permanent employee who receives an excepted service appointment, including appointments which can be converted to permanent positions (i.e., Veteran's Recruitment Appointments), serves a one-year probationary period immediately following his or her appointment.
What to expect after your first year of being hired.
Additional Training Opportunities
Every year of employment, you will receive 16 to 40 hours of subsequent training depending upon your assigned duty location. There are also numerous required and optional specialty training courses designed to enhance career development based on your occupation.