Being a probation officer may not be a job for everyone. It can be stressful and demanding, yet also rewarding. Probation officers work with parolees and probationers, and they must maintain good communication skills as they may have to speak with family or friends of their clients, who may also be challenging to work with or upset.
Generally, probation officers help people adjust to life after release from jail or prison. They might help a client find a new job, further his or her education or acquire treatment for drug addiction or health issues. A probation officer may also deal with his or her client’s family or close friends, helping to create a plan of action for a client’s rehabilitation.
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A probation officer’s job can be very demanding and stressful at times. They encounter heavy workloads and a lot of paperwork to complete. Many probation officers work full time, but overtime and variable hours are not uncommon. Sometimes, they have to be on-call, reporting to any issues 24 hours a day. Traveling to conduct property searches and employment and home checks may also be involved. Probation officers also might be assigned to high-crime areas or high-violence institutions.
Probation Officer Salary Details
The median annual salary for probation officers in 2016 was $50,160, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Probation officers serving local governments earned a median wage of $54,050. Meanwhile, those in social assistance had a median salary of $33,560. Job growth depends on how much state and federal funding is available for corrections departments. The BLS predicts that employment will grow 6 percent through 2026, which is about as fast as the national average of 7 percent.
While requirements for becoming a probation officer vary depending on jurisdiction, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, behavioral sciences or social work is typically required. Probation officers must also undergo a federal or state training program and pass a certification exam. If one wishes to become a high-level probation officer, they may have to obtain a master’s degree. This master’s degree is typically in criminal justice, psychology or social work.
Students can learn everything they need to know to become a probation officer with Campbellsville University’s online criminal justice administration degree. When students graduate, they will be ready to take on careers at correctional facilities or law enforcement agencies. The degree is administered in a convenient and flexible format. It is fully online, allowing students to work around their busy schedules.