Probation Officer Requirements and Training
We’ve put together the following article for those interested in probation officer requirements and training information. This article is a good place to start for those interested in how to become a probation officer.
The qualifications one needs to become a probation officer differ by agency. However, the most qualified candidates will have earned a college bachelor’s degree. A degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology, or another related field will definitely give you a leg up against the competition. Related field experience is also a huge plus when applying for this position. Related work could include work previously performed in probation, parole, pretrial, criminal investigations, corrections, social work, substance abuse, or counseling. In addition to this criteria you will also be required to pass a written, oral and psychological test.
Typically an officer will be required to attend a training program sponsored by the State government of where they intend to work. At the conclusion of this training program the officer will need to complete a written examination in order to receive a certificate of completion. It is very common for a new probation officer to work as a trainee under another officer for a period of up to one year, before being let “loose” and offered a permanent position.
In addition to meeting the above mentioned criteria a potential officer should also be in very good physical condition, emotionally stable, be at minimum of 21 years of age, and to work for the Federal government not be older than 37 years of age. Applicants convicted of felonies in the past may not be able to pursue a career in this occupation. A current valid driver’s license may also be required.
Other skills you will want to posses when applying for this position include the following: computer skills, knowledge about the law & regulations, strong writing skills, excellent people skills. Probation officers employ technology in this day and age to help to keep themselves from getting buried under a heavy workload and this is where strong computer skills come into play. Officers will also find themselves writing a number of reports so it helps to have very good writing skills. Being able to listen and communicate effectively with offenders on probation is where the excellent people skills will be needed.
For those looking for advancement in this position it is achievable with time, experience and good performance reviews. A graduate or master’s degree also helps one when it comes to advancement and increased pay.
I hope you’ve found this page informative in regards to probation officer requirements and training. For more criminal justice career information check out some of our other web pages.