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Prison officer Average UK Salary & Prospects

Prison officers supervise inmates in prisons, remand centres and young offenders' institutions.

  • Conduct head counts to ensure that each prisoner is present.  
  • Inspect conditions of locks, window bars, grills, doors, and gates at correctional facilities to ensure security and help prevent escapes.  
  • Monitor conduct of prisoners in housing unit, or during work or recreational activities, according to established policies, regulations, and procedures, to
Read more about Prison officer

Prison officers typically work around 37 to 39 hours per week.

As a Prison officer you will typically work evenings / weekends / bank holidays.

This occupation tends to be:

  • Realistic — 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
  • Read more about Prison officer
    * from ONETonline
    Average salary
    26,691 GBP *
    per year
    20,750 GBP
    38,000 GBP
    5+ Experience
    * data taken from the Office of National Statistics (
    Average salary for Prison officer

    Men make 6% more than Women
    35% of Prison officers are men
    • 27,659 GBP
    • 25,936 GBP
    Average salary for part-time Prison officer
    Average salary for full-time Prison officer

    • 14,113 GBP
    • 13,825 GBP
    • 15,978 GBP
    • 26,691 GBP
    • 25,936 GBP
    • 27,659 GBP
    Pay over time for Prison officer

    Pay for this role has increased over time
    • 23,925 GBP
    • 24,568 GBP
    • 24,611 GBP
    • 25,792 GBP
    • 26,777 GBP
    • 27,545 GBP
    • 26,691 GBP
    • 27,307 GBP

    Future outlook for Prison officers

    Balanced outlook
    188 000+ jobs available
    Balanced outlook
    2% yearly wage growth (on average)

    Prison officer - Your future job?

    Which qualifications do I need?

    Find out what you need to know in order to become a Prison officer and the highest average level of education for people in this role.

    In terms of people already doing this job:

    • 89% of people in this role have GCSEs or equivalent
    • 9% of people in this role have a post-secondary qualification such as a Higher National Diploma
    • 2% of people in this role have a Diploma of Higher Education or equivalent

    You do not need qualifications to apply directly to be a prison officer. Personal qualities are more important.

    You'll need to take an online test to check your judgement and your number skills. If you pass, you'll attend an assessment day where you'll:

    • take another number test
    • take a reading and writing test
    • take part in role plays to see if you have the right personal qualities for the job
    • take fitness tests
    • have a medical and eyesight test
    • be interviewed

    Get the right qualification to begin your journey to becoming a Prison officer

    Police & Military

    What soft skills do I need?

    Rise above the competition by brushing up on the 5 most important soft skills you need to become a Prison officer.
    Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do
    Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively
    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
    Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action
    Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems

    What technical skills do I need?

    Technical skills are programmes, softwares and things you need to know in order to be a successful Prison officer. Check that you know:
    Data base management system software Corrections housing software
    Data base user interface and query software 3M Electronic Monitoring; Guardian RFID; Jail management software; Microsoft Access
    Office suite software Microsoft Office
    Spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel
    Word processing software Microsoft Word
    Improve your skills today

    Police & Military

    Things to highlight for your Prison officer interview

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

    Not sure if you are in the right job?

    Take our career change quiz