Probation Officer Career Information, Job Outlook & Salary

Probation Officer

Probation Officer Career Overview

If you enjoy law enforcement but do not want a police job, consider becoming a probation officer. Probation officers supervise offenders sentenced to probation, typically through visits to the offender's home or workplace. These officers establish relationships and maximize community resources to help offenders. Probation officers also work directly with the court system to research and recommend sentencing for specific cases.

Probation Officer Education

Most probation officers have earned criminal justice degrees or other related bachelor's degrees such as social work. Nearly all individuals in this job must complete a federal or state-sponsored training program, which typically includes a probationary period lasting up to one year. Probation officers interested in promotions and career growth should consider a master's degree in criminal justice, social work, or psychology.

Probation Officer Employment

Approximately 94,000 individuals worked as probation officers and correctional treatment specialists in 2006. Most of these officers are employed by state and local governments in large cities or metropolitan areas. Typically, probation officers specialize in either adult or juvenile offenders, although some states do combine parole and probation officer responsibilities into one job.

Probation Officer Job Description

The market for probation officers is expected to grow as fast as average for all careers at around 11 percent. Job opportunities should continue to be excellent as many states focus on rehabilitation and alternate punishments in lieu of prison, including probation. Officials base many hiring decisions on government funding, however, so changes may occur to job outlook if resources are not available.

Probation Officer Salary Range

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the following annual wages for probation officers. *Salaries will change based on such factors as location, performance, and experience.
Low $29,490
High $78,210

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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