Frequently Asked Questions
Working at King County as a corrections officer
Thank you for your interest in employment as a Corrections Officer (CO) or Detention Officer (DO) with the King County Adult and Juvenile Detention (DAJD). Please follow the instructions below to apply.
Public Safety Testing (Corrections Officer Entry/Lateral applicants only)
Candidates may apply online for Corrections Officer (CO) entry level and lateral transfer positions with our department via:
Public Safety Testing (PST) administers several tests a week at multiple locations nationwide. After passing the required written exam, DAJD Human Resources will contact qualified candidates for further processing. Please visit PST’s website for further information on how to apply and for a schedule of the exam dates.
National Testing Network
Candidates may apply online for Detention Officer (DO) positions with our department via:
National Testing Network (NTN) administers several tests a week at multiple locations across the northwest for a fee starting at $30 for DO candidates. In the state of Washington, tests are administered Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at NTN’s Everett testing center and offered on a less frequent basis in Eastern Washington and Western Oregon. DO candidates are required to take both a written exam and a physical abilities test. The written test for DO candidates includes a video-based human relations test and a reading test. NTN also administers the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) which includes push-ups, sit-ups and a 1.5 mile run. Further information on the testing requirements can be found at the NTN website.
After passing these tests, DAJD Human Resources will contact qualified candidates for further processing. Please visit NTN’s website for further information on how to apply and for a schedule of the test dates.
Background Investigation Process
Candidates who pass NTN’s initial testing will be invited to continue to the next step, the background investigation process.
If you do not have access to a computer, you may:
Visit your local library to use the public access computers; or
Visit the closest Worksource external link location. In King County there are three Worksource Centers and five Worksource Affiliates. Worksource provides computers with internet access, phones and fax machines for job search purposes. Call 1-877-872-5267 for the nearest Worksource location.
Thank you again for you interest in employment with King County Adult and Juvenile Detention. For more information, please call 206-477-2400 or go to https://kingcounty.gov/jobs.
Desirable candidates will display integrity, good judgment, common sense, people skills and good communication, and follow proper procedure, even when unpopular. To be considered, the individual must have a history of ethical behavior. Please see disqualifier section.
The length of the process depends on the hiring needs of the Department. If there are no immediate vacancies, the process can take over six months.
Take written and physical test
Complete and return of background questionnaire, references, etc.
Background investigation (will be completed by DAJD)
Polygraph and Psychological testing
Doctor's physical examination
Lateral hires are done on a case-by-case basis. Different states and agencies may have different requirements, if your training meets Washington State minimum standards, attendance at some of all of the Corrections Academy may be waived. Read more about lateral hires.
In King County the jail is operated independently of the King County Sheriff's Office; therefore each department has its own hiring process. There is no requirement to be a Corrections Officer before becoming a Sheriff's Deputy.
The most notable difference is that prison inmates have been tried and convicted of crimes, while those in jail may be awaiting trial. A prison is under federal or state jurisdiction while the jail holds people accused under federal, state, county and/or city laws and inmates sentenced up to one year.
All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to gender. DAJD employes women at all levels in the chain of command.
Minimum qualifications are 21 years of age plus a high school diploma or GED and you must possess a valid Washington State Driver’s License by the time of employment.
DAJD requires the same physical testing as the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center. The physical pre-qualification process will include the following components:
Push-Ups (Complete 10 minimum; no time limit)
Sit-Ups (Complete 12 sit-ups within one  minute)
1.5 Mile Run (Complete a run within 18:17 minutes)
The physical requirement standards are gender and age neutral. The standard is set to test any person’s physical ability regardless of gender or age and all elements are completed in the same manner, i.e., all candidates complete straight-knee push-ups.
The following will be disqualifying unless otherwise described:
- Any Illegal Purchase,Sale,Transport, Possession or Distribution of Marijuana in the past five (5) years.
- Use of ANY illegal drug substance, to include non-prescribed medications, in the past five (5) years.
- Purchase, Sale, Transport, Possession or Distribution of ANY illegal drug substance, to include non-prescribed medications, in the past five (5) years.
- Other drug use outside these standards will be subject to additional review and may be disqualifying.
- It shall not be an automatic disqualification if a candidate has legally used marijuana in the last year.
- Marijuana use will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. However, in order to increase the likelihood of continuing on in the hiring and background process, an applicant should not have used marijuana in the last twelve (12) months.
For the purposes of this standard, illegal drugs may include the following but are not limited to:
|Cocaine||Opium||Methamphetamine, Meth, or Amphetamines|
|Barbiturates||Hallucinogenic drugs||Angel Dust|
|GHB, Rohypnol, or MDMA||Wet||Whippits|
|Huffing Paint or N02||Aerosols||Club Drugs|
|Phencyclidine||Psilocybin or mushrooms||
- Any adult conviction for domestic violence in the past three (3) years.
- Any adult conviction for Driving under the Influence or Boating under the Influence in the past three (3) years.
- Adult misdemeanor convictions and all felony convictions outside of these standards will be reviewed closely.
- Any intimate contact with inmate(s), known former inmate(s), or detained individuals while employed or contracted by a criminal justice agency.
- Any conviction for sexual misconduct.
- Participation or affiliation related to a street gang or security threat group in the last five (5) years.
- Military discharge characterized as anything other than “Honorable” may be disqualifying. Applicants will be reviewed closely and additional documentation will be required for further consideration.
- Termination for cause or resignation in lieu of termination may be disqualifying and will be reviewed closely.
- Any sexual misconduct in the workplace to include viewing of pornography not directly related to work functions or intimate sexual contact while on duty will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- Lying or intentional misrepresentation during any portion of the application process.
Grooming and Appearance:
- Tattoos, branding, voluntary disfigurement, or sacrification shall be reviewed by the department on a case-by-case basis.
- Tattoos that are obscene, gang related, or racially insensitive shall not be allowed..
An applicant’s criminal record, including all arrests, prosecutions, deferred prosecutions, “Alford” pleas, and non-conviction information will be thoroughly assessed and may be grounds for disqualification.
Visible tattoos are not allowed with the exception of tattoos on the arms or hands visible when wearing a short sleeve shirt. Tattoos that are obscene, gang related or racially insensitive are not allowed.
Benefits begin the first day of the first full month of employment.
New employee orientation includes first aid, CPR, AED, defensive tactics, interpersonal communication skills, anti-harassment, key control, escorts and restraints, report writing, and many other subjects.
Corrections Officer Academy at the Washington State Criminal Justice Academy
Field training on-the-job with a Field Training Officer
From your first day of hire, you are paid your starting salary during new employee orientation, while attending the academy, and while working with an assigned Field Training Officer.
A percentage of Corrections Officer positions require gun qualification. Corrections Officers assigned to housing units do not carry a gun. Annually, Corrections Officers are given the opportunity to become gun and those qualified are paid a premium for working in gun-qualified positions, e.g., court detail, visiting control, and transport.
You will find that little of what is seen on television or in the movies reflects a jail’s reality. You are urged to keep an open mind and not have preconceived notions about the jail.
No. Within your first three weeks of orientation you will be given a voucher for two sets of uniforms. Each year after that you will be issued a check or voucher to be used for uniforms.
Basic housing shifts, including Roll Call are:
- First shift: 6:20 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- Second shift: 2:20 p.m. – 10:30 p.m
- Third shift: 10:20 p.m. – 6:30 a.m.
You can bid for any of the three shifts but the final call will be for the needs of the department and is based upon seniority.
King County supports the employees serving in the military.
Being A Corrections Officer is a full-time job. Minimum staffing levels are required to maintain operations. DAJD encourages staff to attend appropriate courses on their own time and may provide reimbursement for some courses based on the King County Corrections Guild contract.