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Correctional Officer Academy

Ready to begin a career in law enforcement? 

Becoming a Correctional Officer offers a stable and long-term career in law enforcement. You will have the ability to write your future and climb the ranks during your career.

The WCSO Basic Recruit Training Academy is a 13-week full-time paid opportunity.

WCSO Basic Recruit Training Academy


  • General Requirements
    • – Must possess a valid driver’s license by the start of the academy
    • – Ability to acquire a valid MA License to Carry
    • – Must be 19 years old by the start of the academy
    • – Must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Education and Experience
    • – Associate’s Degree, or higher education; or documentation of 60 credits towards a Bachelor’s Degree at an accredited college or institution of higher learning;
    • – Two years of military service;
    • – Two (2) years of relevant work experience may be used to substitute for a degree or (2) years of military service.
  • Special Requirements
    • – Physical ability and capacity to maintain custodial care and control of
    • inmates, and use lawful force and weapons.
    • – Mental capacity to handle stressful situations, physical danger, risk of serious injury to person and others.
    • – Ability to work in a semi‑military organization.
    • – No prior criminal record that includes a guilty finding or guilty plea of a felony, or incarceration in any jail, house of correction, or prison.
    • – Candidate must also pass a background investigation that may include interviews of references, former employers, and relatives.

Application Timeline & Important Deadlines

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office runs two 13-week Basic Recruit Training Academies (B.R.T.A.s) per calendar year. Typically, the spring academy starts in March, and the Fall academy in September. The academies are full-time paid opportunities that run M-F. 

Spring Academy Timeline

  • Applications are collected year-round on a rolling basis. 
  • Spring Academy Application Deadline – Approximately January 15th  
  • Applicants invited to attend Physical Fitness Test & Written Exam – (Multiple Dates) 
  • Applicants invited to take psychological test – (Single Date) 
  • Applicants invited for health exam and gear try on 
  • Applicants invited to meet with the Sheriff 
  • 13-Week Spring B.R.T.A. begins early March 
  • Spring B.R.T.A. Graduation held late May/early June  
  • Full-time work begins 

All applicants who applied after the Spring B.R.T.A. application deadline (Approx. January 15th) will be considered for the fall Academy.  

Fall Academy Timeline

  • Fall Academy Application Deadline – Approximately July 15th  
  • Applicants invited to attend Physical Fitness Test & Written Exam – (Multiple Dates) 
  • Applicants invited to take psychological test – (Single Date) 
  • Applicants invited for health exam and gear try on 
  • Applicants invited to meet with the Sheriff 
  • 13-Week Fall B.R.T.A. begins early September 
  • Fall B.R.T.A. Graduation held early December 
  • Full-time work begins 

All applicants who applied after the Fall B.R.T.A. application deadline (Approx. July 15th) will be considered for the spring academy of the following year. 

Week by Week Academy Description

  • Week #1: Introduction to the Workplace & Academy Procedures 
  • Week #2: Report Writing, Programs, & State Ethics Laws 
  • Week #3: De-Escalation, Use of Force Training, & Defensive Tactics 
  • Week #4: De-Escalation, Defensive Tactics, & Oleoresin Capsicum Training 
  • Week #5: Critical Incident/Emergency Procedures, Communication & Counseling Techniques, & Mental Health First Aid 
  • Week #6: AHA Healthcare Provider, AED, CPR, & First Responder Training 
  • Week #7: Policies & Procedures, Fire Safety, & Cultural Diversity/Social Lifestyles of Inmate Population 
  • Week #8: Firearms Training 
  • Week #9: Special Operations Group, Substance Abuse Awareness & Refresher Classes 
  • Week #10: Inmate Programs, Jail Operations, Hostage Training, & Courtroom Management 
  • Week #11: Inmate Transportation, PREA, Area Hospital Tours, & Jail Operations 
  • Week #12: IT Programs Training
  • Week #13: MSA Deputy Sheriff Legal Training & Graduation

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Basic Recruit Training Academy operates on a Monday-Friday schedule from approximately 0730-1530. There are some days that recruits will finish their day later than 1530. There are multiple on-the-job (OTJ) training shifts in which recruits will be behind the walls of the correctional facility and shadowing already established correctional staff. 

Every day begins with group physical fitness activities before settling into the classroom or hands-on training. Every Monday, an exam is held for the information learned and taught during the week prior. 

** The academy schedule and overall duration are subject to change ** 


Do I have to have a background in law enforcement to be a Correctional Officer?

No, applicants will attend a 13-week paid academy that prepares them for working inside a correctional facility.


Will I be able to make a difference in the lives of others?

Yes, you will work to make a difference in the lives of incarcerated individuals in Worcester County. The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office is also heavily involved in the communities it serves.


What is the compensation package? Bonuses, etc.?

The fall 2024 academy salary is $28.43 an hour ($59,131.67/yr). Upon graduation, there is a step raise and a step raise every year thereafter for the next seven years.

Officers also receive a clothing allowance, education bonus, vacation time, personal time, and sick time. Graduates receive prorated stipends and will be reimbursed for the costs incurred to purchase uniforms for the training academy.

  • Education Bonus: Master’s: $2,500/yr, Bachelor’s $2,000/yr, Assoc.’s $1,000/yr
  • Clothing Allowance: $1,058/ yr
  • Sick Time Buy Back Up To 40 Hours
  • Potential for up to 4 Bonus Personal Days

For example:

An officer in the Fall 2024 Academy will earn a base salary of $59,131.67.

Upon graduation, the step raise would bring that to $61,302.04. 

(Step 6 September 9th, 2025, and continued steps every September 9th, until max out at Step 12)

Cost-of-Living Adjustments* will be implemented on January 1st, 2025. A fall 2024 graduate base salary would be $63,754.12 after the adjustment.

The above figures do not include bonuses, stipends, or overtime.

*Cost of living adjustments vary and are dependent on the current union contract.


How big of a commitment is the academy?

The academy is a significant commitment. For 13 weeks, the recruits attend training Monday through Friday from approximately 0730 till 1530. During those 13 weeks, the recruits are challenged both physically and mentally. 


How can I prepare for the written exam?

The written exam for the academy is basic reading comprehension and math.


How can I prepare for the psychological exam?

The psychological exam is not a test that you must study for. Questions are asked based on generalized life experiences, to which you answer truthfully.


Do correctional officers have overtime opportunities?

Yes, there are overtime opportunities at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. Overtime is paid at time and a half or may be used as comp time.


What are the weekly schedule and shifts at the WCSO? 

Correctional Officers work four days on and two days off, also known as a rotating schedule. For example, if your first day working is a Monday, you will have Friday and Saturday off and resume your next work week starting on Sunday.


Is there an opportunity for growth?

Promotions and growth are based on merit, work ethic, and dedication to duty. Officers write their futures at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers are eligible for promotion to Sergeant after three years. Positions beyond that include Lieutenant, Captain, etc.


Are there specialty posts at the Sheriff’s Office?

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has multiple specialty positions including Training Department, Special Services, Maintenance, Receiving, and Transportation. These specialty posts are assigned to those who are interested and those who demonstrate excellent work ethic and professionalism.


Will I be a part of a union as a correctional officer?

Yes, all correctional staff are in a union.


How does the pension system work? Other retirement accounts?

Correctional Officers are classified as group 4 by the Massachusetts State Retirement Board (MSRB). 

The minimum pension eligibility requirement is 20 years of creditable service to receive 50% of your base salary. The percentage of pay increases every year after the 20-year mark, depending on your age and time served.

In addition to the pension, other retirement account options are available through the Massachusetts Deferred Compensation SMART Plan.

More information on the MSRB: Click Here


Will WCSO help me get a higher education degree?  

The commonwealth’s primary educational offering is a tuition remission program available to eligible state employees and their spouses. It provides partial to full remission of tuition for programs and courses taken on the employee’s own time at public community colleges, state colleges, and state university campuses.

More information on the state’s Tuition Benefit: Click Here

To Protect & Serve


Call 508.854.1800 if you have questions about a career at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.