An inmate learns masonry skills to help him earn a living after release. OCE is looking to hire academic teachers and vocational instructors.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor, OPEC

The “R” in CDCR is getting a boost thanks to the department’s effort to fill multiple positions in the Division of Rehabilitative Programs’ Office of Correctional Education (OCE). Career opportunities range from carpenters and cosmetologists to librarians and credentialed academic teachers.

Inmates receive high school equivalency diplomas.

OCE plays a vital role in the rehabilitation of inmates. Students who didn’t thrive in the public schools, who ended up in a correctional institution, can get a second chance.

“Many adult inmate students have never experienced success in traditional school settings.  To see their eyes light up as they grasp a new concept or learn a new skill is extremely rewarding for teachers,” said Deputy Superintendent Shannon Swain.

Rehabilitating inmates through education is important for many reasons, including public safety.

“Education is one thing that, once given, can never be taken away,” said Swain. “More than 95 percent of CDCR inmates will ultimately be released from prison, and return to their communities. Education is one major component of the ‘R’ in CDCR; Rehabilitation must occur in order for inmates to be successful in their reentry back to their communities. Education is vital for public safety.”

The students enrolled in educational courses are there to better themselves.

“It is clear to see the look of gratitude on the faces of students during graduation ceremonies when the students publicly thank their teachers for contributing to their life-changing experiences,” Swain said.

Academic Teachers

What: OCE is seeking credentialed teachers to prepare adult inmates for high school equivalency or diploma. Be a part of CDCR’s effort to improve public safety by preparing inmates for successful community reentry.

Minimum Qualifications: Applicants must possess a current California Teaching Credential issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). Accepted credentials include single subject, multiple subject, standard secondary with a major or minor in an academic subject area, standard elementary or general secondary. Emergency credentials are not accepted.

CTE Instructors

An inmate learns carpentry skills to help him earn a living after release.

What: OCE is expanding programming for vocational trades and need Career Technical Education (CTE) Instructors to provide hands-on skill development and training opportunities for inmate students. The CTE programs include Auto Body and Repair, Auto Mechanics, Carpentry, Cosmetology, Electrical Works, Electronics, Machine Shop, Masonry, Office Services, Painting (industrial), Plumbing, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Roofing, Sheet Metal Work, Small Engine Repair, and Welding. OCE Instructors utilize their master skill level knowledge to motivate, prepare and train offenders for employment and career success.

Minimum Qualifications: Five years of trade-specific journeyman work experience; 48 semester units of post-secondary vocational training related to a trade may be substituted for a maximum of two years of work experience. Applicants must possess or acquire a CTE credential issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing prior to employment with CDCR. More information on credentialing can be found at

Library Staff

What: OCE is expanding programming and need Senior Librarians, Librarians and Library Technical Assistants to provide offenders with legal resources, recreation and educational materials. Library services offer an extensive collection of recreational fiction and non-fiction books including high-interest books, self-help and periodicals. Librarians provide legal research materials as required by the courts and rehabilitative support services that contain reference reading materials, periodicals, encyclopedias and materials to support academic, career technical and college programs.

Minimum Qualifications: Library Technical Assistant should have an associate of arts degree in library science or two years of library experience. Librarian needs a bachelor’s degree plus one year in library science master’s degree program. Senior Librarian needs a bachelor’s degree plus one year in library science master’s degree program and two years of CDCR Librarian experience (or three years of non-CDCR Librarian experience).

What are the benefits?

CDCR’s benefits package includes health, dental and vision plans, CALPERS retirement and avenues for salary advancement.

Is it safe?

Many potential candidates ask recruiters, “How safe is it? Isn’t there a high risk of being assaulted or harmed by an inmate? Will I be safe?”

“The reality of working in a correctional setting is that CDCR provides a safe and secure working environment,” according to a CDCR flyer regarding the subject. “Correctional facilities are highly controlled environments where inmates are closely monitored. … There are Correctional Officers assigned to every area of the facility to ensure your safety and trained officers are always on duty. Also, you will be assigned a personal alarm that you will utilize, if needed, and you will have immediate assistance from custody staff.”

Read more about safety:

How to apply

For placement on CDCR’s employment list for Academic Teachers, CTE Instructors or Library Staff, go to Under “Careers,” arrow cursor down to “Education.” Click on the rectangle named “Education/Librarian Career Bulletins” or “Vocational Career Bulletins” in the lower part of the screen (depending on your preference). Select “Teacher (Adult and/or Juvenile facilities)” and click on the specific teacher title in “Exam Bulletins” to view. Return to the previous screen and click on “QA” for a specific teacher title; print and fill out the form along with the state application (STD. 678) found at: Scan both copies and email to

Read more about credentials:

Learn more about the various positions at

Inmates receive high school equivalency diplomas.