Federal Bureau of Prisons
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Company Website(link opens in new window)
320 1st St Nw
Washington,  DC
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(972) 352-4200
500 or more
Federal Bureau of Prisons

Correctional Excellence, Respect and Integrity

Federal Bureau of Prisons Welcome to the Federal Bureau of Prison's (BOP) career opportunity web pages, where you can learn about BOP careers, the employment progress, and current vacancies by using the links provided to the left.

The Bureau's real strength is derived from our staff. The BOP "family" is a diverse, well-trained and career-oriented team with the finest corrections professionals in the country. The Bureau employs approximately 38,000 highly motivated staff working in 117 correctional institutions across the county (Locate a Facility) and in a wide range of occupations to include, Health Service professions, Psychology Services (Drug Treatment), and Correctional Services (just to name a few). Why is it great to work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons? The Bureau of Prisons requires high standards of safety, security, and discipline, which promotes a sound physical and emotional environment for both staff and inmates. All Bureau of Prisons' staff share a common role as "Correctional Workers First". This requires a mutual responsibility for maintaining safe and secure institutions regardless of one's position or location. We encourage you to explore our web pages and consider a career in corrections with the Federal Bureau of Prisons!
Federal Bureau of Prisons

About Us

Federal Bureau of PrisonsThe Federal Bureau of Prisons was established in 1930 to provide more progressive and humane care for Federal inmates, to professionalize the prison service, and to ensure consistent and centralized administration of the 11 Federal prisons in operation at the time.

Today, the Bureau consists of 117 institutions, 6 regional offices, a Central Office (headquarters), 2 staff training centers, and 22 community corrections offices. The regional offices and Central Office provide administrative oversight and support to Bureau facilities and community corrections offices. In turn, community corrections offices oversee residential reentry centers and home confinement programs.

The Bureau is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 217,000 Federal offenders. Approximately 82 percent of these inmates are confined in Bureau-operated facilities, while the balance is confined in secure privately managed or community-based facilities and local jails.

The Bureau protects public safety by ensuring that Federal offenders serve their sentences of imprisonment in facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure. The Bureau helps reduce the potential for future criminal activity by encouraging inmates to participate in a range of programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism. Approximately 38,000 BOP employees ensure the security of Federal prisons, provide inmates with needed programs and services, and model mainstream values.
Federal Bureau of Prisons

Eligibility & Pre-Employment Statements

Age Requirements

The Attorney General has determined that the initial appointment of employees into Federal Bureau of Prisons law enforcement positions must be prior to their 37th birthday, with the following exceptions: Physician Assistant, Medical Officer, Dental Officer, Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, and Chaplains of some faith traditions. Psychologists may be waived up to the date immediately preceding their 40th birthday.

Background Information

Employment with the Federal Bureau of Prisons 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 based upon an individual's character or conduct that may affect how the agency accomplishes its duties or responsibilities.

Citzenship/Initial Eligibility Requirements

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

Employment Interview

Qualified applicants must have an employment panel interview prior to final selection. Normally, interviews are held within the general area (about 250 miles round trip) where the applicant resides. Applicants pay travel expenses to and from the interview site and to their first employment location.

Orientation Training

All persons appointed to the Federal Bureau of Prisons must successfully complete in-service training as a condition of employment, including 200 hours of formal training within the first year of employment. This includes orientation to the physical plant, familiarization with policies and procedures, and techniques for supervising and communicating with inmates in their daily activities.

Orientation training includes:
  • 80 hours of Institution Familiarization at the facility.
  • 120 hours of specialized training at our residential training center located at Glynco, GA, normally within the first 60 days after appointment and scheduled by the Employee Services Department. This training includes four components: Firearms, Self-Defense, Written Academic Test on policies and procedures, and the Physical Abilities Test (PAT).

Physical Abilities Test

This test consists of:
  • Dummy Drag - drag a 75-pound dummy 3 minutes continuously for a minimum of 694 feet.
  • Climb and Grasp - climb rungs of a ladder and retrieve an item - ideal requirement 7 seconds.
  • Obstacle Course - ideal requirement 58 seconds.
  • Run and Cuff - run one-fourth mile and apply handcuffs - ideal requirement 2 minutes, 35 seconds.
  • Stair Climb - participant, with a 20-pound weight belt, will climb up and down 108 steps - ideal requirement 45 seconds.

Physical Requirements

All applicants must meet the physical requirements for positions for which they are being considered. This examination will be made without cost to the applicant, usually by a Federal medical officer, and will include a urinalysis test for drug detection.
Federal Bureau of Prisons



Salaries are based on the position and location of the job you are selected to fill. The Law Enforcement Special Salary Rate and Locality pay scale may vary from the General Schedule and Locality pay scale. Salaries for positions such as Electrician, Mechanic, and Plumber, are found on the Federal Wage System (FWS) pay scale. View current Federal Government pay rates and locality pay on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's website at Those assigned to evening duty (i.e., 4:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.) are paid a percentage of their basic hourly rate above regular pay, and employees assigned to Sunday duty are paid 25 percent above regular pay for all work on Sunday. Contact the Employee Services Department at the institution where you are applying for further clarification.

Vacation, Sick Leave, and Holidays

Annual or vacation leave is earned on the basis of years of Federal service, including creditable military service. Full-time employees with 15 years or more of creditable military service accrue 26 days of annual leave per year; those with more than three but less than 15 years earn 20 days; and those with less than three years earn 13 days. All full-time employees earn 13 sick days per year. While requests for particular leave dates are accommodated as much as possible, it is occasionally necessary to schedule vacations to meet the needs of the organization and spread absences throughout the year. Occasional absences for short periods will be granted if possible. There are ten (10) paid Federal Government holidays during the calendar year.

Awards Program

The BOP's Awards Program was established to encourage employees to participate in improving Government operations and to provide a means of rewarding superior performance. The program is a systematic process for focusing attention on ideas and performance and for providing personal recognition and rewards for contributing to better Government. Awards can improve the employee's chance for advancement because awards are considered positively in competition for a promotion.

Commuter Subsidy

Staff who take public transportation to work can be reimbursed up to $230.00 per month in certain large metropolitan areas (for more information, check with the Employee Services Department staff at the institution where you are applying).

Life and Health Insurance

A variety of health insurance ( plans are available to Federal employees, with the Government paying about 60 to 72 percent of the cost and the employee paying 28 to 40 percent, depending on the health plan. Basic life insurance ( is automatic and effective on the first workday the employee is in pay and duty status, unless the employee chooses to waive life insurance coverage. The Government pays one-third of the cost for Basic life insurance. Basic life insurance is the employee's salary, rounded to the next higher $1,000, plus $2,000. The employee pays 15 cents per $1,000. Optional life insurance is available for purchase.


An employee who has completed 20 years of service in a position covered by "hazardous duty" law enforcement retirement provisions (this includes any full-time job working within a prison) is eligible to retire at age 50. Employees with 25 years of law enforcement service may retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) at any age. Visit the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) website for information.

Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees. The purpose of TSP is to provide retirement income. TSP offers Federal civilian employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under the "401(K)" plans. Visit the TSP website for additional information.

BOP Worklife Programs

Balancing work and family life today has become more difficult to accomplish. In an effort to support the workforce, the Bureau strives to provide worklife options, to the extent possible, that will not jeopardize the agency's mission, safety or security. Below are options currently available to staff. You may click on the links for further information regarding these options.
  • Compressed Work Schedules: Compressed work schedules allow full-time employees the option to complete their 80-hour biweekly work requirements in fewer than 10 workdays. With this option, an employee works longer hours each day to obtain one "off day" per week or per pay period.

  • Flexible Work Schedules: A flexible work schedule allows an employee to determine his or her own schedule within the limits set by the agency. The BOP currently allows employees to work "Flexitour" schedules. A "Flexitour" schedule is a type of flexible work schedule in which an employee is allowed to select starting and stopping times within a tour of duty. Once selected, the hours are fixed until the agency provides an opportunity to select different starting and stopping times.

  • Part-Time Employment and Job Sharing: Part-time and job sharing opportunities assist individuals who want to work fewer hours. Employees work between 16 and 32 hours per week, at the discretion of the local CEO and within the scope of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Department of Justice (DOJ) guidelines, consistent with office workload requirements. Job sharing is a form of part-time employment in which two employees cover a single full-time position.

  • Teleworking (Formerly Telecommuting): Teleworking allows an employee to work from a home office for an agreed upon portion of the work week. It affords a quiet, uninterrupted work environment and freedom from the time constraints and costs associated with commuting to a primary office site. (View BOP policy.)

Additional Benefits Resources

Federal Long Term Care Insurance

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program

Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program(FEGLI)
Federal Bureau of Prisons

General Career Information

Career Mobility

There are opportunities at various locations across the United States, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Generally, employees are expected to complete, at a minimum, a 12-month probationary period before applications for reassignment or promotion will be considered.

Promotion Potential

All employees are required and expected to fully demonstrate their suitability for prison work in the position to which they are initially appointed. Before they are considered for promotion or advancement into other lines of work, an acceptable performance evaluation is required. While it may be the practice of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to fill vacancies internally if at all possible, no positive assurance of advancement can be given to employees. The length of the waiting period for such advancement cannot be estimated. Each employee is in competition with others who are similarly qualified. Selections are made from those individuals considered best qualified based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Probationary Period

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 ([VRAs]), serves a one-year probationary period immediately following his or her appointment.

Work Schedule

Since institutions must operate around the clock, the day is divided into three work shifts of eight hours each. Employees rotate posts, days off, and shifts. All employees are "correctional workers first," regardless of the specific position to which an individual is hired (secretary, nurse, plumber, teacher, doctor, dentist, etc.). As correctional workers, staff may be called to work correctional posts at any time in emergency situations or as necessary.

Other Information

The Department of Justice provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the hiring/servicing personnel office. The decision of granting a reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis. Selection will be made without discrimination for any non-merit reason such as race, color, religion, national origin, age, physical disability, marital and/or parental status, membership in an employee organization, sex, or sexual orientation. The Bureau of Prisons is an equal opportunity employer.