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Become A Probation Officer

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Working As A Probation Officer

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $49,360

    Average Salary

What Does A Probation Officer Do

A Probation Officer manages offenders in order to protect the public and reduce the incidence of re-offending. They provide advice and information about offenders to assist with court sentencing, as well as help with the rehabilitation of ex-offenders into the community.

How To Become A Probation Officer

Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists usually need a bachelor’s degree. In addition, most employers require candidates to pass competency exams, drug testing, and a criminal background check.

A valid driver’s license is often required, and most agencies require applicants to be at least 21 years old.


A bachelor’s degree in social work, criminal justice, behavioral sciences, or a related field is usually required. Some employers require a master’s degree in a related field. Exact requirements will vary by jurisdiction.


Most probation officers and correctional treatment specialists must complete a training program sponsored by their state government or the federal government, after which they may have to pass a certification test. In addition, they may be required to work as trainees for up to 1 year before being offered a permanent position.

Some probation officers and correctional treatment specialists specialize in a certain type of casework. For example, an officer may work only with domestic violence probationers or deal only with substance abuse cases. Some may work only cases involving juvenile offenders. Officers receive the appropriate specific training so that they are better prepared to help that type of probationer. Training may include site visits to probationers’ homes under the watch of a probation officer supervisor.

Other Experience

Although job requirements vary, previous work experience in probation, pretrial services, parole, corrections, criminal investigations, substance abuse treatment, social work, or counseling can be helpful in the hiring process.

Previous experience working in courthouses or with probationers in the criminal justice field can also be useful for some positions.


Advancement to supervisory positions is primarily based on experience and performance. A master’s degree in criminal justice, social work, or psychology may be required for advancement.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists must be able to effectively interact with many different people, such as probationers and their family members, lawyers, judges, treatment providers, and law enforcement.

Critical-thinking skills. Workers must be able to assess the needs of individual probationers before determining the best resources for helping them.

Decisionmaking skills. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists must consider the relative costs and benefits of potential actions and be able to choose appropriately.

Emotional stability. Workers must cope with hostile individuals or otherwise upsetting circumstances on the job.

Organizational skills. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists must be able to manage multiple cases at the same time.

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Probation Officer jobs

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Probation Officer Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Arabic

  • German

  • Russian

  • Vietnamese

  • Japanese

  • Dakota

  • Tagalog

  • Polish

  • Urdu

  • Cherokee

  • Hindi

  • Shan

  • Thai

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Probation Officer

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Probation Officer Education

Probation Officer

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Top Skills for A Probation Officer


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Top Probation Officer Skills

  1. Adult Offenders
  2. Caseload
  3. Adult Probationers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised adult offenders to monitor compliance with court ordered conditions.
  • Administered caseloads for 200 defendants concurrently.
  • Supervised a case load of over 200 adult probationers convicted of misdemeanor and felony offenses.
  • Provide community supervision for clients.
  • Coordinated needed services and programs for clients to ensure compliance with court orders.

Top Probation Officer Employers

Probation Officer Videos

Video evidence of Probation Officer Vertlieb committing perjury to send me back to jail

Parole and Probation Officers--A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life of a Correctional Officer