Probation officers play a crucial role in the criminal justice system. From overseeing juveniles while they complete community service projects to ensuring that convicts on house arrest stay within set boundaries, Probation Officers provide services that allow people convicted of crimes to avoid incarceration while at the same time keeping communities safe. Similar security jobs include positions such as correctional probation officers.
Probation Officer Duties
Probation Officers aren't just responsible for supervising individuals who have entered the criminal justice system; they are also responsible for preparing individuals who have been incarcerated for re-entry into their communities. Probation Officers are often in charge of conducting interviews of convicts before and after sentencing, and they may recommend appropriate sentences.
Probation Officers are also tasked with creating and enforcing supervision and discipline plans. They are in charge of maintaining files on the behavior of offenders in order to keep track of cooperation and violations. Probation Officers must also provide court testimony regarding the behavior of those they supervise and interact with. Officers who have more experience may be eligible to take on leadership roles, which involve supervising lower-level parole officers and communicating directly with administrators.
Education and Requirements
The entry-level educational requirement for a Probation Officer is a bachelor's degree. Prior experience in the field is often welcome; however, new officers generally receive on-the-job training. Some correctional departments also provide internships through which students can gain on-the-job experience that may help them obtain a position as a Probation Officer in the future. Like most law enforcement personnel, Probation Officers are generally required to undergo extensive background checks before they can be hired.
Probation Officer Outlook
Statistics show that the job outlook for Probation Officers was around -1 percent in 2012. This suggests that the number of parole officer jobs is expected to decline in the next several years.
Probation Officer Salaries
Statistics indicate that the annual mean salary for Probation Officers is just shy of $49,000 a year. Salaries vary based on experience. Probation Officers in supervisory roles can earn an estimated $20,000 more annually.