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How To Become a Correctional Officer in Massachusetts?

If you want to become a correctional officer in Massachusetts, there will be a variety of assessments you will have to take. You must also excel in a multitude of skills that may require a good amount of practice before applying for the job.

In this guide, you will find some information about the correctional officer exam, how to prepare for it, what to expect, and how to pass it. With this information, you will be able to feel more confident about taking the exam and moving forward with your career.

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The Correctional Officer Application Process

Initial Application

Once you are certain you meet the basic requirements, you may put in an application. When putting in the application, you will be giving the authorization to have a background check done on you. This is called the Release and Certification form, which will allow the agency to see if you have any history of drug use, criminal records, etc.

Correctional Officer Assessments

The correctional officer exam is a series of assessments that will be used to evaluate your abilities and capability of handling being a correctional officer. Before the interview process, you will need to pass the correctional officer exam. It will determine whether or not you get to move on to the interview stage.


You should bring all of the documents you will need to this interview so you can be ready to hand them over to the hiring official. After the interview, you will be asked to participate in the ten-week training program. You will go through a physical training test, DOC policy and procedure training, and hands-on training.

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Requirements for the Exam

Before even taking the exam, you must first meet the basic requirements for the state of Massachusetts as a correctional officer. These requirements are a high school diploma or GED, being a U.S. citizen or providing naturalization paperwork, and having a valid driver’s license.

A license to carry a firearm will also be required. As far as the education factor goes, it can be bypassed with at least three years of service in the U.S. armed forces with an honorable discharge.

Furthermore, applicants should be able to display excellent moral character, a strong sense of communication, and excel in the skills that are required for the job.

Preparing for the Correctional Officer MA Exam

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You can prepare for the exam by taking online study guides and practice tests like Job Test Prep. They are designed with questions, answers, and detailed explanations that will help you prepare for the actual assessment.

Adhering to a good exercise routine may be able to help you prepare for the physical portions of the training program. You will be required to display your:

  • Strength
  • Agility
  • Dexterity
  • Determination

The job of a correctional officer is physically demanding and you should be as prepared for it as you would be for an interview or written tests.

Overall, it helps to understand the nature of the job and what skills are required. These include excellent communication skills, the ability to respond quickly and effectively to urgent situations, good physical fitness, strong observational skills, and awareness of situations as well as the ability to remain impartial.

Understanding what skills are expected of you will help you answer the questions from an ideal angle as you will be able to figure out what the agency is looking for.

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What Is Included in the Assessments?

The recruitment process for correctional officers has several steps that you must complete successfully in order to move forward in your career.

Massachusetts Correctional Officer Exam

First, you will take the Massachusetts Correctional Officer Exam. You will be able to access the exam by visiting the Massachusetts Civil Service website. It will be best to sign up for the examination early because it gets more expensive when it gets closer to the deadline.

There will be a list of requirements that you will have to follow in order to pass this stage. You must pass a drug screening, a psychological test(s), a physical fitness test, and a training program.

The Physical Abilities Test (PAT)

The PAT (Physical Abilities Test) will assess your physical abilities and determine whether or not you are physically fit enough to be a correctional officer. You will be timed in each of the three physical tests you will participate in: sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1.5-mile run.

For the first two, you will be timed on how many you can do within a minute. For the last one, you will be timed on how fast you can complete the run.

Interview Section

After you have passed the entrance exam, you will move on to the interview portion of the exam. You will need to bring a variety of legal documentation with you on the day of the interview. This will include your birth certificate, high school diploma or GED, social security card, and many other essential documents.

You will be asked many different questions and given situations in which you will be evaluated on how you would handle certain situations within the field.

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Massachusetts Department of Correction Entry-Level Exam

There will be 80 multiple-choice questions that you will have three hours to answer. You will be assessed on your ability for reading and writing comprehension, accurate record-keeping, and gathering information.

There will be many tasks that you must fulfill as a correctional officer.

You will be expected to:

  • Prevent violence or other disturbances within the facility
  • Give meals to inmates
  • Monitor inmates
  • Perform security checks
  • And more

All of these tasks are essential to keeping the facility running smoothly and helping the inmates re-enter society.

Sample Questions

Here are some sample questions you can expect to be asked:

  • Explain a situation where you would be permitted to physically restrain an inmate.
  • Cell extraction officers are ____.
  • Who do you call first if an inmate contracts an infectious disease or illness?
  • What will you do if a riot arises within the facility?
  • What would you do if you learned an inmate was planning to escape/was in the process of escaping?
  • What information must you include when you are making an incident report?
  • How would you logically sequence this set of inmates according to their booking numbers?
  • What procedure would you follow if there was a phoned-in bomb threat at the facility?
  • What is the purpose of signing incident reports?
  • What time of the day is it in this painting?
  • What type of weather is displayed in this photo?
  • Which statement is untrue about correctional facilities?
  • What is not included in the regular routine of correctional officers?
  • How many yellow cars can be found in this image?
  • What is the sum of these numbers: 754.4 + 809.3 + 192
  • How many inmates out of 80 are you escorting to another location if 49 were escorted to the hospital due to a medical crisis?
  • Which of the following words are misspelled?
  • What would be the correct term to use in this situation?
  • Choose the phrase that is grammatically correct.
  • What would correctional officers get paid annually if their weekly pay is $947 weekly?
  • What federal and state laws are not needed when you physically restrain an inmate?
  • What is 750 divided by 25?
  • What is 75% of 1,000?
  • What is cell extraction and why is it necessary?
  • Who will you contact first if a riot has ensued and has left correctional officers and other inmates alike injured?
  • What should correctional officers do if reporters try to get an ambush interview out of you or an inmate about the facility?

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How Do I Pass the Correctional Officer Assessments?

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Passing the correctional officer exam requires a good amount of preparation and brushing up on the qualities you will be expected to show. Among these qualities, it is important that correctional officers have amazing observational skills, exceptional communication skills, and the ability to respond quickly and effectively when situations arise.

Displaying these qualities can help you communicate with inmates and maintain a peaceful environment within the facility.

Passing each assessment and showing that you excel in these skills can help put you on the path to success. It will do well to receive a decent education and display a strong sense of morality when moving forward into this career field.

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Take time to practice with Job Test Prep so you can familiarize yourself with the questions and answers. Job Test Prep can help you excel in each component of the written test with their exclusive Massachusetts Department of Corrections-style study materials. You will be able to study smart, enhance your learning process and get better test results.

Meanwhile, it is just as important to work on your physical strength. Bringing your physical fitness up to par will help you gain an advantage over other applicants in your fitness tests.


There are a lot of requirements to becoming a correctional officer in the state of Massachusetts. Passing the exams and making it through the training program are the first steps as you embark on your career as a correctional officer.

Be sure to prepare adequately for your assessments with Job Test Prep and practice with their extensive pack of more than 800 questions on various topics so you will be in the best position to excel.

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