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How do I become a Probation Officer?

Probation officers are placed in authority of those who have committed crimes but are not sentenced to jail or prison. They keep track of offenders to ensure that they are fulfilling the obligations assigned to them. These officers must also be willing to attend court hearings on a regular basis as well as work with people from all walks of life. In order to become a probation officer, there are also several other personality, education and training requirements.

It is not a simple task to become a probation officer. It requires dedication and focus on education. Most officers obtain at least a bachelor’s degree, however it is also common to achieve a master’s degree or higher. Popular degrees include those in psychology, social work and criminal justice. Courses that help to develop skills in math, reading and writing are also beneficial.

When it comes to physical shape, there are not necessarily requirements across the board. It is still a good idea for officers to be in shape, as this career has the possibility of becoming dangerous. Skills in self-defense are important for this reason, though building a regular exercise schedule is helpful.

A clean criminal record is also essential. Most departments expect criminal justice personnel to remain crime free in their personal and professional lives. Any conviction related to domestic violence, hate crimes or felonies might make this career impossible. During any interviews of background checks it is essential to remain truthful and honest. Employers also want to keep the work environment free of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. During the interview process, applicants might be asked about their coping mechanisms and substance use.

The ability of an officer to multitask is essential, especially considering that they may handle more than 100 cases at one time. They must also have compassion and the ability to work with offenders with the goal of rehabilitation in mind. Patience is essential, but it is also important to have a sense of strict confidence. Timidity does not necessary fit in with this career, as offenders may think they will be able to get away with breaking the rules.

Check out our Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2015

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