Every correctional services worker (CSW) helps ensure that Albertans have secure and safe communities in which to live, work and raise their families.
CSWs perform a variety of security-related duties in:
What's in it for you
As a CSW, you get:
- a pension, excellent benefits and job security
- provincewide career opportunities
- a rewarding, challenging and dynamic work environment
- to be a part of a team with a high level of professionalism
- paid training opportunities
- promotion opportunities
- a chance to help people become contributing members of society
Find out about the advantages of working for the Alberta Public Service.
Learn more about salaries and benefits for specific jobs at Research Alberta Public Service Careers.
CSWs provide case planning, supervision, security and support services for people in provincial correctional centres. The role includes the development of case plans and program delivery that aims to guide and support clients in reducing their interactions with the criminal justice system to ensure strong communities.
Your days as a CSW are varied, often exciting and always meaningful. Your job duties may include:
- determining placements within provincial correctional centres
- monitoring behaviour and interactions
- assessing client’s risks and needs in order to develop appropriate case plans
- completing records and updating casework documentation
- responding to questions, concerns and complaints
- monitoring and responding to situations in the living unit and the centre
- role modeling appropriate interactions and resolving conflicts
- preparing reports for in-centre and court use
- initiating program and service referrals
- collaborating with centre staff, justice and community partners, and the various supports in a client’s life
- promoting recreational activities
- preparing release plans, including referrals to community programs for support
CSWs work primarily in correctional centres throughout the province. They may be required to attend community meetings or facilitate escorts for clients. Some caseworker positions are required to work varying shifts in a 24-hour period while others maintain regular business hours.
CSWs may sometimes be required to assist in physically controlling someone engaged in dangerous behaviour.
All successful candidates are hired at the CSW 1 classification.
- 2-year diploma in a related field plus 2 years of related experience
- related one year certificate and 3 years of related experience
Related experience may come from a wide range of positions, including:
- security and law enforcement work
- roles with a focus on managing conflict
- working in a team environment
- client/customer relations
Related education may include programs in these sectors:
- human services
- security/law enforcement
- customer relations
- Canadian citizen, permanent resident or eligible to work in Canada
- valid Class 5 driver's license
- current 5-year commercial driver's abstract (issued within the past month)
- current standard first aid
- current CPR Level-C certification
- current certified criminal record check with fingerprinting (issued within the last 6 months)
- vulnerable sector check (issued within the last 6 months) – only for positions at young offender centres
- successful completion of the Correctional Officer Physical Abilities Test (COPAT)
Skills and abilities
- strong time management abilities
- ability to prioritize workload demands
- excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
- ability to work independently
- problem-solving and decision-making skills
- ability to work as a team member
- data entry and report-writing skills
- ability to be agile and multitask
- investigation and interviewing skills
- able to function effectively in an environment where the clients may be unpredictable or hostile
- able to accommodate shift work, including weekends and holidays
The process to become a correctional services worker (CSW) includes several steps. Certain documents are required to move from one step to the next. Keep in mind that obtaining these documents – particularly the certified criminal record check – can be a lengthy process. You are encouraged to start the process of document gathering as soon as you know you plan to apply.
Step 1. Resume review
Once you have submitted your resume and requested documents through the Government of Alberta Jobs website, we will review your education and work experience.
Step 2. Completion of the COPAT or PARE test equivalent
- You must successfully complete the Correctional Officer Physical Abilities Test (COPAT) or an equivalent of the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) test (issued within the last 6 months).
- We will email you additional information on your options for taking either test:
- You may register to complete the testing free of charge at a correctional centre.
- We accept the results of testing completed at private testing facilities.
- If you live outside Alberta, we accept the successful completion of the COPAT or PARE test equivalent from the province you currently live in.
Medical Consent and COPAT form (required for COPAT at correctional facilities) (PDF, 1 MB)
COPAT Applicant Consent and Test Record form (PDF, 1 MB)
Step 3. Interview
For the interview, you must bring 3 references from work-related supervisors or managers:
- one from your current or most recent employer
- 2 from your next most recent employers
Use academic references instead of work-related ones if either:
- you do not have any work experience
- your work experience is very limited
The interview panel normally consists of 2 or 3 members. They usually include the immediate supervisor, manager or director of the position. A talent acquisition consultant may also be present. Interviews may be in person or virtual.
Step 4. Checks and references
After your interview, we:
- check your references
- verify your academic credentials
- request a certified criminal record check (fingerprint-based criminal record check)
- request a vulnerable sector check – only for positions at young offender centres
Step 5. Offer of employment
- After you have successfully completed all the previous steps, we will contact you with the results.
- Before we make a final decision about your application, we may invite you to attend a short pre-employment orientation.
Our ministry’s Correctional Services Induction Training is a paid and comprehensive multi-week training program designed for you – the new CSW recruit.
The program provides you with inmate management and security skills, including:
- relevant legal and legislative context
- use of force
- strategic communication
- Visit the Government of Alberta jobs website.
- Select the Job Board – where you can search all opportunities or search by keyword or job requisition ID.
- In the Search Jobs box, search for the keyword ‘correctional’.
- From the Search Results list, find the CSW position you want to apply for and click its link.
If you are being considered in the competition process, we will email you a request to provide these documents:
- valid standard first aid certificate
- CPR Level-C certification
- current commercial driver's abstract (issued within the past month)
- current certified criminal record check (also known as a fingerprint-based criminal record check)
If you live outside Alberta, you can obtain these documents from the province you live in. We only accept documents within 6 months of their issue date.
You are responsible for any fees you incur to obtain the documents.
First aid and CPR-C certification
A CSW must have valid first aid and CPR certification. To learn how to get certified or recertified, visit First Aid Agencies.
Commercial driver's abstract
A CSW may have to operate a government vehicle to transport inmates throughout Alberta. For this reason, you’re required to provide a current commercial driver’s abstract that includes the last 5 years of your driving history.
Obtain your driver’s abstract from a registry agent.
Certified criminal record check
Wait times to get a fingerprint-based criminal record check are long. Applicants who are invited for an interview are encouraged to request this check from their local police agency before their interview.
We cannot accept online criminal record checks. Instead, you can make an appointment to have a fingerprint-based check completed at an RCMP-accredited private fingerprint company. Any associated costs will be your responsibility.
You are only required to provide this check if we request it.
Was this page helpful?
Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on Alberta.ca.