Being an executioner is a grim job. The word "executioner" often conjures a picture of an unknown man in a black hood and wielding a sword. A modern-day executioner does not use swords, although he brings an end to the lives of prisoners who've been sentenced to death. Who that person actually is, and what he gets paid, depends on the rules of the state he works in.

Member of Society

In some states, such as Florida, an executioner is a private citizen chosen by the state. According to the Florida Department of Corrections as of this article's publication, this person is paid $150 for the duty.

Correctional Officer

Other executioners are already employees of the state, as Jerry Givens was. In his interview with ABC News, he described how he spent 17 years working for Virginia as a corrections officer. During that time, he executed 62 prisoners. Acting as an executioner simply became part of his job duties, and Givens was not paid extra.

Correctional Officer Salary

As of 2010, the average salary for a correctional officer in the United States was $20.57 an hour, or $42,780 a year, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Actual salaries varied from $26,040 to $67,250 a year, depending on location and officer experience. Correctional officers selected to be executioners also work regular hours guarding prisoners and making sure rules are followed and inmates don't incite violence towards one another.


Executioners are allowed to keep their duties secret. As pointed out by the Florida Department of Corrections, being paid doesn't mean executioners waive their rights to anonymity. Florida law mandates that their identities remain protected for the safety and well-being of themselves and their families, who may be unaware of the executioner's duties, as was Givens' wife for many years.