How to Become a Prison Officer in 2024

The complete guide to unlocking and passing the Prison Officer recruitment process.

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How to Become a Prison Officer in 2024

The complete guide to unlocking and passing the prison officer recruitment process.

“…If you can answer the questions in these guides then there is no doubt that you will pass, I did!” – Naomi C. TrustPilot
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How to become a Prison officer

Do you want to start a new career as a prison officer?

This career path is attracting more candidates than ever, but fear not, as this online resource pack will help you to secure your role as a prison officer! We will provide you with insider tips and advice brought to you by serving prison officers to show you how to get into one of the most attractive careers around.

  • The top insider tips, and advice on how to join the prison service;
  • An online guide created by serving prison officers, plus role play video training;
  • Up-to-date recruitment advice, following with the new competencies;
  • Essential guidance on what you MUST do in order to pass!
How to Become a Prison Officer and Pass the RAD Online Guide

The Prison Officer Selection Process

The selection process to join the prison service will normally consist of the following elements:

Police Selection Process Stage 1 Job Application Form

Stage 1 – Completion of an online application form

The application form is the first stage of selection. You will normally be required to complete the form online and it should be your priority to ensure that you match the assessable competencies and values that are relevant to the role.

Stage 2 – Online Assessment tests
(stages 1&2)

Once you have successfully completed the application form you will be invited to take part in a number of online tests which are split into two stages. The first stage will require you to undertake two separate tests. The first is a Situational Judgement Test (SJT) and the second will be a numerical test.

The purpose of the stage 2 behaviour based assessment is to test the candidates natural strengths and preferences to become a competent prison officer.

You do not require any previous experience to undertake this test. The purpose of this is to ensure you possess the correct natural abilities to be successful in the role.

Stage 3 – Online Assessment & Recruitment centre (ARC)

Because of the effects that COVID-19 has had on our lives, the ARC is now taken online.

The assessment itself will last for half a day and will consist of the following elements.

  • English test lasting for 30 minutes.
  • Numerical test lasting for 5 minutes.
  • Role Plays lasting for 35 minutes.
  • Interview lasting 30 minutes.

Stage 4 – Fitness Test and Medical

Usually, this would have been performed during your assessment day, however with the onset and the effects of COVID-19 this is now undertaken on a separate occasion after your online assessment.

The fitness assessment will consist of a bleep test shuttle run, a grip test and your upper body strength will also be assessed.

Stage 5 – Final Stages

The final stages of selection involve contacting your references and other background and vetting checks. If you pass the final stage of vetting, all that will be left is to receive your formal offer of employment as a Prison Officer.

How to Become a Prison Officer and Pass the RAD Online Guide


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How to Become a Prison Officer: Commonly Asked Questions

To join the prison service, you do not require any formal qualifications. However, that being said the selection process is in no way easy and you will be expected to pass a number of tests and interviews, which will assess if you have the correct strengths and abilities to perform as a competent prison officer. For example, you will need to be an excellent communicator, who is able to remain calm under pressure, be able to follow and enforce strict rules and procedures. Have a keen eye for detail, display solid leadership skills and be adaptable and open to change.

When you first start your career as a prison officer you will receive a salary of around £22,000. As your career progresses your salary will increase to a maximum of around £30,000. You can further enhance your salary with promotion or specialist roles within the prison service.

The training in the UK for prison officers last for a total of 12 weeks. The first and last week of the training are based at one of the prisons. The 10 weeks in between are classroom based and you will undertake a course known as the POELT course (Prison Officer Entry Level Course). The course mixes classroom and gym-based activities where you will develop further the skills which you demonstrated during the selection process. You will also learn about the health and safety regulations within the prison service and your responsibility to enforce and abide by the regulations.

To be eligible to apply to join the prison service you must be at least 18 years old and have the right to work in the UK. There is no current upper age limit to join the prison service.

The fitness test to become a prison officer includes a multi-stage fitness test which will require you to run between two sets of cones in an allocated time limit which is indicated by a set of beeps. After every four sets of beeps the time will decrease in time thus your speed will need to increase. The idea of this test is to assess your endurance. You will also need to undertake a strength test which is a grip test, followed by holding a 7kg riot shield.


The Role of a Prison Officer

The modern day Prison Officer has an important role to play in ensuring prisoners are treated decently and humanely, and encouraging them to live law-abiding lives once released from custody.

Apart from custodial duties, you will be expected to build close relationships with those people serving custodial sentences and obviously this takes a great deal of skill, education and awareness. This type of challenge is not for everyone, but if you believe you have the right qualities, attributes and a determination to succeed, then you can become a Prison Officer.

  • Your role as a competent and effective Prison Officer stretches far further than ensuring prisoners abide by prison rules.
  • You will be involved in their education, training and coaching, which in turn will help them to lead better lives both inside and outside of prison. Naturally there comes a great deal of reward with this role and many Prison Officers enjoy the benefits of a good salary, working conditions and above all, job satisfaction.
  • Yes, the role of a prison officer is demanding and challenging but being part of a team that transforms people’s lives is a great prospect.
  • Many people apply to join the Prison Service every year and by researching the role, the selection process, and also preparing yourself fully, you will drastically improve your chances of becoming a Prison Officer.


How to Become a Prison Officer and Pass the RAD Online Guide

We guarantee that our How To Become a Prison Officer online resources will teach you how to navigate the different elements of the selection process. The package contains 190+ pages of prison officer recruitment information, tests which will guide you through each of the different elements of selection, including the application form, the assessment centre, the interviews and the fitness test.

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How to Become a Prison Officer and Pass the RAD Online Guide

We guarantee that our How To Become a Prison Officer online resources will teach you how to navigate the different elements of the selection process successfully. The package contains 190+ pages of the latest recruitment information, tests, and top tips which will guide you through each of the different elements of selection, including the application form, the online tests, assessment process, the interview, and the fitness tests.

Start Preparing Now 👉

The Assessment Recruitment Centre (ARC)

If you are successful in your initial online stage 1 & 2 tests, you will be invited to attend the online Assessment Recruitment Centre (ARC) where you will undertake the following exercises and tests.

  • An English test;
  • A numeracy test;
  • Role play exercises;
  • An interview.

Below we’ve laid out some additional information on these exercises:

English Test

During the assessment centre you will be evaluated on your ability to understand written information and then make decisions based on the information. You will need to be able to display that you can write sentences with the correct grammar and spelling. You will also be required to write a passage based on information that you have read.

Numeracy Test

You will be assessed against basic numerical skills, you will be tested on your basic arithmetic skills and your understanding of ratios, fractions and data extraction fro graphs and charts. This test will be similar to the test faced in stage 1 of the initial online tests.

Role Play Exercises

This interactive exercise will see you take the role of a serving prison officer. You will be assessed on the way you interact with an offender. This is based on several different scenarios which you are likely to face as a serving prison officer.

Sample Prison Officer Interview Questions

Q. “Tell us about a time when you have used your communication skills to resolve a difficult problem.”

Sample Response:

“In my previous role, I worked as a team leader at a catering company. The company have a great reputation, and are well-known nationally. Our company would organise the catering for parties and events. Different events were handled  by different teams within the organisation. As one of the team leaders, my role was to oversee the management of any projects that my team was given. This included making sure that the budget was adhered to, motivating staff to perform at their best, and giving my team instructions on how we should allocate our resources. In order to help me manage the team, I had assigned a sub-team leader, named Michelle. Michelle would take responsibility for making key decisions.

We were preparing to host a birthday party in Wolverhampton. The event in question was a big birthday party. I sent my team to the venue to help start setting up, whilst I met with the person who was running the event, just to cross-check on key elements such as time, and dietary requirements. When I arrived at the venue, I found that two members of the team were engaged in a furious debate. One of them was Michelle. Voices were raised and things were getting extremely heated. This was attracting the attention of the venue staff, who looked extremely unimpressed by the situation.

I quickly stepped in, and asked Michelle and the other team member to calm down and asked them come outside with me, so that we could resolve this. I then calmly and professionally asked them to explain what the issue was. Michelle explained to me that the team member was refusing to obey her instructions. She had asked him to lay out a series of fish pasties across the table on the right-hand side, but he had refused. Upon hearing this, the team member furiously interrupted. He said that we shouldn’t be serving fish pasties, because some attendees would be allergic to fish. He referred to Michelle in extremely demeaning terms. Having spoken with the event manager, I was fully aware of all allergy requirements – and none of the attendees were allergic to fish.

After listening to both sides of the story, I first addressed the team member. I explained to him that the way he had spoken to Michelle was completely unacceptable, and that even if she had made a mistake, this would not be okay. I then explained to him that dietary requirements were discussed with the event manager and I can confirm that no attendees who were allergic to fish. To reassure the team member I showed him the event listing, which contained the details of all known allergies.

Once the team member saw this, he acknowledged that he had made a mistake, and apologised profusely to Michelle. Michelle immediately accepted his apology, and informed him that mistakes happen, and that the important thing is to move forward and resolve this. I was happy with this, and authorised the team member to continue preparing for the event.”

Pass the Prison Service Selection Process. First Time.

Crafted for everyone, no matter your skill level or background, this guide was made to help you achieve one goal: to become a prison officer.


How to Become a Police Officer Guide Features

Pass the Prison Officer Selection Process. First Time.

Crafted for everyone, no matter your skill level or background, these resources were made to help you achieve one goal: join the Prison Service.

Customer Success Stories

Having helped 1,000s of aspiring prison officers for over 16 years, it is no wonder our customers love us…

Everything I need to know about becoming a prison officer – Nicola J.

Very good product value loads of valuable information…I am currently a serving prison officer.

Excellent, comprehensive resource material. Outstanding customer service – Keaty E. TrustPilot

Yet again I got the job with how2become. This is the 2nd time I have used How2Become and the 2nd time I have got the job… – C. H. TrustPilot

Passed the assessment so it must be good. – Jason S.


Complete guidance to ensure you pass the ENTIRE Prison Officer selection process

How to Complete an Application Form Icon

Insider advice on how to complete the application form, including sample questions and answers

Application Form Answers Icon

Previously successful application form responses that you can use to develop your own winning application

Revealed – avoid the common pitfalls that most applicants make

How you will be assessed Icon

Discover exactly how you are assessed throughout the entire selection process (hint: understanding this will allow you to know exactly how the assessors want you to act at every stage)

A complete breakdown of the online tests and how you MUST prepare if you wish to succeed

Sample Prison Officer interview questions and guidance on how to answer each one of them for the interview

What are competency-based questions, how to structure your responses, what keywords you MUST use, and how to impress when answering each question

Competencies Icon

A full breakdown of the competencies and values, cutting out the filler so you can memorise only what you NEED to know, making preparation a lot easier

The importance of ensuring you meet the minimum eligibility requirements (and understanding the role of a prison officer – hint: you will need to demonstrate this!)

Time-saving strategies and score-boosting methods verified by our panel of recruitment experts

Medical and Fitness Tests Icon

How to get fit and be able to pass the fitness test and medical test



150-Page Interview Skills Insider’s Guide

FOR A LIMITED PERIOD ONLY we are able to give you our powerful 150+ page ‘Interview Skills’ online resource free of charge.  It is the perfect guide to help you prepare for the tough prison officer interview!

Interview Skilss | Sample Interview Questions and Answers Guide How2Become
  • All of the most common (and not so common) interview questions you are likely to face, broken down.
  • Full and detailed answers to every question – ensure you always have the perfect answer!
  • How to use the STAR method to come up with your own winning answers that match the experience, values, and skills the interview assessor is looking for.
  • Created by interview panel experts and packed full of insider advice.

Important: This insider’s guide cannot be purchased individually anywhere else and is exclusively available as a limited-time bonus!

Worth £9.99, Yours FREE


How to Get Prison Officer Fit Insider’s Guide

A concise downloadable guide to show you how you can get “prison officer fit” and see results quickly to ensure you pass the prison officer fitness test – even without having a gym membership!

How to get prison officer fit
  • Crafted with the fitness benchmark levels required of a prison officer in mind, this guide provides an insider insight to fitness regimes you can follow.
  • Your very own “prison officer fit” workout regime created by former emergency service staff.
  • No-nonsense guide on how to score highly in the multi-stage fitness test.
  • Full technique diagrams, workout timetables and regime templates you can implement right away!

Important: This insider’s guide cannot be purchased individually anywhere else and is available exclusively as a bonus with this resource.

Worth £9.99, Yours FREE


PLUS…30-Day Free Subscription Trial To The Online Prison Officer Testing Platform!

As well as life-time access to the prison officer career resource, this product also includes a 30-day free trial to Online Prison Officer Testing Platform (usually £9.99+vat per month).

Online Royal Navy Testing Platform
  • 100s of test questions on each element of the test to help boost your scores!
  • Practice all of the Prison Officer test questions under timed conditions using our online testing suite.
  • Instant online access.
  • Compatible on mobiles, tablets and computers.
  • Scores are tracked so you can focus on areas that need improvement.

Important: This powerful free trial costs £9.99 + vat every month for everyone else! You will get unrestricted access to all of the quick-win strategies and tip tutorials to give you the advantage right away.

Worth £9.99, Yours FREE for 30-days*

*We want you to know: This is a subscription service that is charged at just £5.95 + vat per month after the 30-day trial expires. No minimum term. If you cancel before the 30-day trial ends, you will not be charged. Please see our terms for full details.



  • How and where to apply to become a Prison Officer.
  • Information on the Recruitment Assessment Day (RAD), what is involved and how to pass it.
  • Recalling information test questions that are similar to the actual tests.
  • Role-plays including tips on how to pass sample scenarios.
  • Preparing for the role-plays – 60-minute video.
  • How to read charts effectively, including sample tests.
  • Applying rules test example.
  • Numerical reasoning tests that are very similar to the actual tests.
  • How to pass the online version of the POST.
  • How to pass the job related fitness test.


  • 4 sample practice tests, each of which contains 40 test questions.
  • POST questions that are very similar to the real test.
  • How to use the 24-hour clock – crucial to your success.
  • Passing the numerical reasoning tests.
  • Sample tests for the POST which forms part of the Recruitment Assessment Day.
  • Example language tests.
  • Memory tests and how to pass them.


  • Insider tips from serving prison officers on how to pass the RAD.
  • Highly invaluable coaching by a recruitment expert.
  • How to prepare for the role-play scenarios.
  • Sample role-play scenarios to really test you, including demonstrations.
  • What you MUST say during the role-plays in order to pass.
  • How to deal with the role-play actor.
  • Qualities and attributes – and how to match them.
  • The 6 core behavioural skills and how you can demonstrate them.

190-page How to Become Prison Officer Online Guide (Lifetime access)

50-minute Prison Officer Role Play Coaching Video (Lifetime access)

43-minute Prison Officer Interview Coaching Video (Lifetime access)

94-page Prison Officer Tests Online Workbook (Lifetime access)

Prison Officer Bleep Test Audio Download (Lifetime access)

150-page Interview Skills Online Guide (Lifetime access)

How to Get Prison Officer Fit Insider’s Online Guide (Lifetime access)

30-Day Free Trial to the Online Prison Officer testing Suite. Thereafter just £5.95 plus VAT per month (Monthly Service)







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You don’t just get advice on what to do. We will show you exactly how to pass the Prison Officer recruitment process.

Join the Prison Service Online Guide

Your 190-Page Guide To Success.

Our best-selling guide in a compact, accessible, online format to hold your hand throughout the entire prison officer selection process.

Created By Experts. Made For You.

With over 16 years of history behind us, we are the leaders in prison officer recruitment advice. So whether you want to understand the scoring criteria, learn what must go on your application form, recognise what not to say at the interview, or practice and pass the online recruitment tests, you can access it all at your finger tips, today.

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Pass the Prison Officer selection process today. Trusted by 10,000s of customers worldwide.

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✓ SILVER Access to the UK’s No.1 Prison Officer Career Guide and Bonuses
✓ Fully up-to-date for the new 2024 selection process!
✓ 190-page How to Become a Prison Officer Online Guide (Lifetime access)
✓ 50-minute Prison Officer Role Play Coaching Video (Lifetime access)
43-minute Prison Officer Interview Coaching Video (Lifetime access)
94-page Prison Officer Tests Online Workbook (Lifetime access)
Prison Officer Bleep Test Audio Download (Lifetime access)
✓ 150-page Interview Skills Online Guide (Lifetime Access)
✓ How to Get Prison Officer Fit Online Insider's Guide (Lifetime Access)
✓ 30-Day Free Trial to the Online Prison Officer Testing Platform. Thereafter just £5.95 plus VAT per month (Monthly Service)?
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Frequently asked questions

Simply put, this training works and is proven to help people like you to successfully join the prison service. As a lifetime access Prison Officer guide member, you will not only benefit from our flagship 190-page Prison Officer career guide (which has sold 1,000s of copies) but you’ll also get access to a dynamic portal of content that we update frequently with all the very latest information, practice material, and strategies that are helping people across the UK become prison officers. With 1,000s of customers frequently thanking us for the career success we have helped them gain, and 16 years’ experience in providing recruitment and assessment centre training, you can rest assured knowing you are getting the best prison officer training material on the market.

This resource is to designed to help anyone looking to become a prison officer and conquer the gruelling selection process.

It is ideal for those just staring out at the application stage, who want an “over-the-shoulder” guide to passing each stage of the process.

If you have already begun the selection process, then you’ll be able to pick up this guide from the exact stage you are at and follow the step-by-step guidance to passing the online test, role plays, ARC tests, fitness tests and more with confidence.

Whatever stage of the process you are at, you can be confident you’ll have all the strategies and tools you need to succeed.

Yes! With the Prison Officer careers guide you will be able to access training that has been helping applicants successfully become prison officers for over a decade.

At we like to do things a little differently. Instead of just giving you access to guides which explain how the selection process works, and what you need to do to pass, we teach you HOW to do it also. For example, we don’t just provide you with sample interview questions, we provide winning sample responses and step-by-step guidance on how to create your own successful answers. Whether you are thinking about applying, or you are half way through the prison officer selection process, this guide will ‘hold your hand’ step-by-step. Here is a full list of everything you will get within this resource.

You will get unlimited access to all of the content contained within these resources with no time restrictions! We understand that applying to the prison service can be a long and stressful experience, that is why we want to take away that worry – you will get access whenever you need, whether it’s just for a week, or for a year, you will have full access to the Prison Officer career resource whenever you need it. You will also have access to all future updates we make to this guide, ensuring you are getting the latest guidance.

When we launched we wanted to ensure our content would help as many people as possible no matter where they are, and we are achieving just that! We sell our resources to every country in the world, with 1,000s of customers in the USA, UK, India, Australia, Africa and more! All of our content is either written or spoken in English, with the content designed to be as universal as possible unless otherwise stated. Our ‘How to Become a Prison Officer’ guide is designed specifically for the UK prison service.

Whichever option you choose, you can be confident you are getting the latest and highest quality training to become a prison officer. All packages contain our flagship 190-page prison officer guide and video coaching on the role play exercises, plus the bonuses listed on this page.

In addition to the above the Gold package contains our full range of our prison officer testing workbooks, plus video coaching for the interview.

As soon as your order is complete you will be able to access all of the guides, training resources via your How2Become account! You can use any smart phone, PC, Mac, or tablet to access your materials.

Yes, absolutely! We get 100s of testimonials and comments each month from those that have used our training, thanking us for the help it has given them.

Having created recruitment guides for the last 16 years, we know how often selection processes change. That is why we keep close ties to those “in the know” and we regularly update our content. You will get the latest and best strategies to enable you to join the UK prison service.





Firstly, these guides are created by us and our team of experts – we have all the answers to your questions and will help you succeed (like we’ve been doing for the last 16 years), we update our material frequently and you can contact us at any time with any questions you have.

Secondly, we provide exclusive bonuses with all our products that you won’t find anywhere else. These bonuses include free guides, powerful online testing suites and more!

Finally, our guides and training just work. Take a look at our TrustPilot page where you will see our rating of 4.9/5. There, our customers share their positive buying experiences and more importantly the time-saving success our resources have given them (hint: they are now prison officers).

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