Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Requirements of the job

Correctional Services

Becoming a Correctional Services Officer

Requirements of the Job

Basic requirements:

  • minimum 18 years of age
  • eligible to work in Canada
  • Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma or equivalent
  • successful completion of ministry administered aptitude, cognitive ability and behavioural tests
  • certification in Emergency First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) that is current on the date you commence employment
  • successful completion of the Fitness Test for Ontario Correctional Officer Applicants (FITCO)
  • successful completion of the Correctional Officer Enhanced Security Clearance process
  • successful completion of the Correctional Officer pre-employment medical exam
  • successful completion of Correctional Officer Training and Assessment (COTA) program.

Education Requirements

To be considered for a correctional officer position you require a minimum of an Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma or successful completion of a provincially/territorially approved secondary school equivalency test. Taking additional corrections/law related courses are not required for the correctional officer position, and are not factors in the recruitment process. However, such courses may assist you in completing the Correctional Officer Training and Assessment program.

The following are accepted as proof of grade 12 or equivalent education levels:

  • Original secondary school graduation diploma
  • Original secondary school transcripts that show the required number of courses successfully completed to attain a grade 12 education (27 credits up to 1983/84, 30 credits after that time)
  • Original college diploma from a recognized North American college (minimum two year diploma program)
  • Original university degree from a recognized North American university
  • Original grade 12 equivalency certificate [e.g. Public Service Commission - General Intelligence Test (GIT) Grade 12, grade 12 equivalency certification from Independent Learning Centre (GED), etc.]

If you went to school outside of Canada:

  • you must have your certificates and/or diplomas assessed against Canadian education standards. This will enable you to provide proof of Canadian equivalency when applying for a job in the public service. The public service will accept any Foreign Educational Credentials as long as they are deemed comparable to Canadian standards, through a recognized credential assessment service.
  • the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) assists persons who wish to obtain an assessment of their educational, professional, and occupational credentials by referring them to the appropriate organizations.
  • the CICIC can be contacted at Their website provides links to a number of Canadian organizations that provide equivalency assessments. As well, you may contact the CICIC at:

95 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite 1106
Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1N6
Tel: 416-962-9725
Fax: 416-962-2800

Note: You will be required to produce original documents as proof of secondary school graduation diplomas or equivalency at initial testing sessions. If you do not have your original diploma/certificate, you should obtain a replacement (see Ministry of Education website for information on how to obtain replacements).

Occupational Fitness Requirements

The Fitness Test for Ontario Correctional Officer applicants (FITCO), was developed based on actual occupational requirements of the position. You must successfully complete this occupational fitness test to ensure that you are capable of meeting the physical demands of the job.

As part of the FITCO, you must first pass a screening component to ensure your medical readiness to participate in the test.

The FITCO consists of several performance components that simulate different requirements of the correctional officer role:

  1. Search Station – tests ability to perform an effective search of a cell
  2. Emergency Response Circuit – tests ability to respond to emergencies
  3. Aerobic Shuttle Run – tests the capacity to perform the physically demanding tasks of the correctional officer job.

Passing the FITCO is mandatory. You will need to pass the FITCO as part of the application process, and again as part of the Correctional Officer Training and Assessment (COTA) program at the Ontario Correctional Services College.

Fit to be a Correctional Officer

The FITCO booklet has identified the FITCO protocols and standards and suggested training programs on how you can prepare. By following the guidelines in the booklet, you will improve your muscular strength, muscular endurance and aerobic fitness, putting you in a better position to pass the FITCO. If you are unfamiliar with flexibility, aerobic, or resistance training consider consulting a certified personal trainer (CPT) or knowledgeable fitness professional to help you.

Correctional officer work can be physically demanding. It is important to maintain an adequate level of fitness throughout your correctional career.

See the FITCO section of our website for more information on the protocols, how to prepare and self-assessment tools.