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Other routes to becoming a prison officer

As well as applying for a particular prison officer vacancy, there are a number of different ways you can become a prison officer.

Work away from home for your first 23 months

If you’re applying for your first prison officer role and happy to work away from home for your first 23 months, you can apply for one of our bespoke recruitment schemes.

If your application is successful you will:

  • start your paid training sooner than you would if you applied through our standard application process
  • get higher take-home pay
  • start your new role at the same time as other successful applicants

There are 2 different schemes available:


You can apply for one of these schemes if:

  • you have never worked as a prison officer or youth justice worker before
  • it would take you at least 75 minutes (90 minutes in London) to travel to one of the prisons or Young Offender Institutions included (calculated using an online route planner – it’s usually over 100 miles away from your home)
  • you’re willing to work away from home for your first 23 months


As well as the great benefits you get from being a part of HMPPS, you’ll get:

  • an additional £1,500 each year on top of your salary, for 2 years
  • an opportunity to earn more through our ‘Payment Plus’ scheme (an additional payment for any hours you volunteer to work over your contractual hours)
  • your accommodation costs (up to £659 per month in London or up to £589 elsewhere) paid for up to 23 months
  • the cost of a monthly trip home repaid
  • comprehensive paid training and career progression opportunities

Returners’ scheme

If you have previously worked as a prison officer and left within the last 5 years, you could fast-track your way back to working in as little as 6 weeks.

Find out about the Returners’ scheme