What does a Probation Officer do?
Probation Officers work at government agencies and social assistance organizations to make sure that people who’ve been convicted of a crime follow the terms of their probation and continue on track to complete their program successfully. Their role is primarily disciplinary but Probation Officers may also connect their clients with community resources that could help them avoid re-offending, build a new support structure, find employment or get sober. Probation Officers are in charge of ensuring that their clients complete court-mandated community service or classes, checking in with their clients regularly and reporting infractions to the state.
Probation Officers manage the case files for their clients, carefully recording their legal history, court orders, release requirements, substance tests and other documentation that they collect as the client completes probation. They schedule services and manage tracking devices, breathalyzers and other monitoring tools that help them correct a client’s behavior.
Probation Officer skills and qualifications
A job description for a Probation Officer should contain the following skills and qualifications requirements:
- Communication skills for effectively interacting with parolees, probationers, their family and friends, lawyers, treatment providers, law enforcement and judges
- Critical thinking skills for assessing the needs of parolees and probationers on their caseload before establishing the needed resources for assisting them
- Decision-making skills for considering the best rehabilitation options and plan for parolees and probationers
- Emotional stability for coping with upsetting circumstances of the job and hostile individuals
- Organizational skills for managing multiple individuals at the same time
Probation Officer salary expectations
A Probation Officer makes an average of $48,921 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.
Probation Officer education and training requirements
Generally, Probation Officers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work or behavioral science. Although requirements may vary by jurisdiction, Probation Officers must be at least 21 years of age or older, must pass a drug screening and background check and hold a valid driver’s license. Probation officers that work exclusively with juveniles may be required to complete specialized training.
Most Probation Officer positions include training programs sponsored by the federal government or their specific state and certification test. Typically, new Probation Officers work as trainees for up to one year before being considered for a permanent position.
Probation Officer experience requirements
There are several different kinds of specialized Probation Officer positions, including Pre-Trial Services Officers, Parole Officers and Correctional Treatment Officers. A Pre-Trial Services Officer role is responsible for investigating the background of an offender to determine if they can safely be in the community before their trial.
A Parole Officer role works with individuals recently released from jail or prison and are serving parole to re-enter society. A Correctional Treatment Specialist role, commonly referred to as Correctional Counselors or Case Managers, provide counseling for offenders while developing rehabilitation plans for them to follow once they are no longer in prison or on parole.
Job description samples for similar positions
If this Probation Officer job description template isn’t what you’re looking for, see our job descriptions for related positions: