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What is a Probation Officer?

Have you ever wondered, What is a Probation Officer? If you are considering becoming a probation officer, be advised that this is a career track that is as challenging as it is rewarding. People who choose to pursue this career are typically courageous and empathetic, with an innate drive to help make the world a better place. Either way, while many people show interest in this field, they may not fully understand how to become a probation officer. That said, the following is an explanation of what is a probation officer and what probation officers do. 

What is a Probation Officer?

You may be wondering what is a probation officer and what they do. Probation officers are officers who help to keep the general public safer by supervising convicted criminals of all kinds. Considered vital members of the criminal justice system, probation officers help to rehabilitate criminals by redirecting their behaviors and focusing from being involved in misdeeds to habits and actions that will allow them to become law-abiding, productive citizens. With a complex role in society at large, although many people seem to believe that probation officers are glorified babysitters, they are vital in helping to deter crime and restore order in the community. 

What Does a Probation Officer Do?

  • Interviewing and Assessing: One of the main jobs of probation officers is interviewing probationers, their friends, families, employers, etc. in order to better understand their unique circumstances and issues and better help them to rehabilitate. 
  • Helping Probationers Become Stable: Probation officers are also expected to help probationers to gain stability in their lives overall. This can include helping them find everything from employment to childcare, housing, and anything else they need. 
  • Ensure Compliance of Probationers: Probation officers must also ensure the compliance of those one probation by ensuring they are in compliance with the terms of probation, which can include things such as paying restitution, finding employment, undergoing regular drug testing, etc. 
  • Visit Probationers: Another of the main duties of a probation officer is to visit the probationers at home, work, or any of the other authorized places to make sure they are complying with curfews and other restrictions. 
  • Court Testimony: Probation officers may be asked to testify in court on the progress, or lack thereof, of the probationer. 

How to Become a Probation Officer

  1. Earn a College Degree: How many years of school does it take to become a probation officer? Well, that answer varies. The first step to becoming a probation officer is to earn a college degree. While some areas allow you to become a probation officer with a bachelor’s degree, others require a minimum of a master’s degree. Either way, you should be pursuing a degree in law, sociology, criminal justice, psychology, or law. Depending on your goals and the state you work in, you will get a different answer concerning how many years of school does it take to become a probation officer. there is an abundance of student aid to help.
  2. Meet the Basic Requirements: In addition to obtaining your degree, you must also meet the minimum requirements. These requirements include: being between the ages of 20 and 38, being a US citizen, possessing superior mental and physical health, having a valid driver’s license, and a record free of felonies. 
  3. Complete Application Process: You must submit an application as well as your college transcript, a detailed resume, military service documents, and law enforcement service documents. 
  4. Pre-Employment Testing/ Certification: Applicants must also pass a physical exam, submit to a medical evaluation, and pass a psychological assessment. 
  5. Training Academy: New hires need to complete an extensive training program, which includes an introduction to the general procedures of the position. Some states also require the completion of a state certification program. 

Who Do Probation Officers Work For? 

If you are considering this career, be advised that this is a career track that is as challenging as it is rewarding. People who choose to pursue this career are typically courageous and empathetic, with an innate drive to help make the world a better place. Either way, while many people show interest in this field, they may not fully understand how to become a probation officer. That said, the following is an explanation of what probation officers do. Many people seem to be confused about who do probation officers work for. Technically speaking, most probation officers work for the state, however, some of them work for the federal government. Either way, they also work for the community and the probationers, themselves. 

How Long Does it Take to Become a Probation Officer? 

If you are wondering how long does it take to become a probation officer, the answer varies. In general, it takes at least 4-6 years to complete your degree. Then it may take another 1-3 years of training, depending on where you are located and what sector you will be working in before you can work on your own. 

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Criminaljusticedegreehub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.