How to Become a Jail Warden

Jail Warden Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $40,250
Avg. Pay / hour $19.35
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 7%

Jail Wardens are responsible for overseeing and managing a variety of aspects in a state run correctional facility.

Jail Wardens perform a similar role to that of a Prison Warden, with one major difference.

Jails are run by state funds while prisons can be financed through private funds or the federal government.

Jail Wardens manage a variety of tasks to ensure that long term and daily goals are met.

In addition, their management skills help operate and run their correctional facility.

Some of their responsibilities include training and managing Correctional Officers in order to ensure the public safety.

They are also responsible for handling finances, funding programs offered to inmates and provide food and clothing.

If a career in law enforcement interests you and you want to become a Jail Warden , you may also be interested in the following similar careers.

If you are interested in becoming a Jail Warden, read the following information below to learn about the education requirements, a general job description, salary and wage information as well as the future employment outlook.

Education Requirements to Become a Jail Warden

In order to become a Jail Warden, you will need a combination of experience and education.

If you want to make the steps to become a Jail Warden, you may consider training as a Correctional Officer beforehand to fulfill the necessary experience.

Requirements to become a Correctional Officer will depend on the jurisdiction you are seeking to work in.

Some employers located in larger jurisdictions may require candidates to complete a college education to attain a Bachelor’s degree.

A candidate should join a program that focuses on Correctional Management, Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Counseling, Criminology or Psychology.

After completing a program at an accredited college or university, candidates need several years of experience.

Employers look for candidates who have completed this requirement at a correctional facility, jail, prison, corrections or related field.

In addition, at least five years working in a mid management position at a correctional facility or related field is necessary to be a competitive candidate.

Jail Warden Job Description

A Jail Warden is responsible for managing a state run correctional facility.

They oversee all employees, establish and run programs established for inmates and make sure all state and federal regulations are being met by employees.

A Jail Warden sets policies, rules and trains employees in order to provide a safe environment for both employees and inmates.

Some day to day activities Jail Wardens oversee include supervising employees, coordinating meals and activities for inmates.

Administrative tasks Jail Wardens are responsible include creating budgets, hiring and training employees such as Corrections Officers, implementing policies and managing all operations.

Jail Wardens directs other correctional facility employees involved in programs including first line supervisors, mental health professionals, medical staff and educational staff.

A Jail Warden will also examine the facility in order to determine whether it needs new, updated or repaired equipment in order to have a safe environment.

Safety equipment includes monitoring systems and security gear.

Types of policies and procedures a Jail Warden would need to create and implement including intake protocol, treatment programs, education and job training programs and recreation and discipline procedures.

Jail Warden Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t have information regarding income and salary for Jail Wardens.

However, they report wages for a similar profession, Correctional Officer Managers.

The median wage in 2008 for Correctional Officer Managers was approximately $57,380.

The salary range for these professionals during the same year was approximately $32,000 to $87,000 per year. states that the national average income for Jail Wardens is approximately $55,000 per year.

Exact wages will depend on the size of the prison, years of experience and the jurisdiction the Jail Warden finds employment in.

The job growth for this profession is expected to grow by about average at 9% through the year 2018.

This growth is attributed to a growing population and an increase in crime and criminals being incarcerated.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
New Hampshire$51,380
New Jersey$73,490
New Mexico$39,170
New York$71,160
North Carolina$41,520
North Dakota$48,510
South Carolina$40,620
South Dakota$42,160
West Virginia$42,270
Puerto Rico$26,620

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $81,170.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $81,170
New Jersey - $73,490
Massachusetts - $72,260
New York - $71,160
Oregon - $68,790
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Correctional Officers and Jailers, OCC Code 33-3012, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Jail Warden?

A jail warden is someone who is in charge of a prison and has the responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of the facility.

Jail wardens are also responsible for training correctional officers and handling the institution’s finances.

Because the warden has many administrative duties, some training in finance and business administration may be useful.

Most prison and jail wardens have a final say in jail policies for both inmates and staff.

Jail wardens need good management skills in order to operate the correctional facility.

Jail wardens need a number of additional skills; they must be flexible, tenacious, good negotiators and must possess problem-solving abilities.

As the highest-ranking official in a correctional facility, a jail warden needs years of training and experience.

Most prison wardens work for government correctional facilities but privately-operated penitentiaries also offer employment opportunities.

How much does a Jail Warden make?

According to the United States Department of Labour, the average annual salary for jail wardens is around $119,000.

Jail and prison wardens make a good salary, but their job requires years of training and experience and comes with many responsibilities.

The exact salary depends on the experience.

While a jail warden with 1-3 years of experience earns on average around $78,000, a warden with more than 8 years of experience can earn up to $186,000.

How much does it cost to become a Jail Warden?

Along with years of experience as correctional officers, many prison and jail wardens also have a college degree in criminal justice, law enforcement or a related field.

Some wardens also hold a master’s degree in business administration or similar.

Total costs for a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice vary depending on the university you choose but are usually somewhere between $11,000-$32,000 per year.

The cost of getting a master’s degree also varies depending on the university and the program you choose; the average cost for an MBA is $40,000.

What is the demand for Jail Wardens?

Job growth for correctional officers, in general, is expected to decline by 7 percent within the next 10 years.

Demand for employment varies on local and state budgets.

Because of budget constraints, many state governments move towards shorter prison terms and alternatives to prison in order to reduce prisoner counts and costs.

Despite the expected decline in job growth, some additional job openings may appear due to officers who retire or transfer to other occupations.

How long does it take to become a Jail Warden?

Jail wardens usually have between 10-15 years of experience in the law enforcement field.

Many of them also hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, criminology or a similar field and some jail wardens have a master’s degree in business administration or criminal justice.

The exact number of years that can take before you’re ready to become a jail warden depends on the employer and the exact job requirements.

Most jail wardens also receive on-the-job and post-certification training.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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