what does a probation officer do?
a probation officer (po) is an officer of the court, and is responsible for overseeing adults or children who are serving non-custodial sentences and those who are released from prison on probation. using their knowledge and expertise, probation officers conduct offender assessments and ensure that the offender is aware of the impact of his or her crime on the public. in other scenarios, these officers will enforce community orders, which are alternatives to prison sentences involving unpaid work or enrolling in rehabilitation programs. if you want to know how to become a probation officer, our guide will help you find out the requirements involved and may help you decide if this is the profession for you.
what training do i need?
in most cases, probation officers possess an undergraduate degree in a field relevant to law enforcement. popular majors include criminal justice or psychology, though neither of these are concrete requirements. what is crucial is that the applicant possesses relevant experience in the field, which could be gained by working in social welfare homes or with parole officers.
all applicants are scrutinized by state and federal agencies, and each agency has their own complete set of requirements. general guidelines require candidates to be between 20 and 38 years of age, and have a valid proof of citizenship or legal residency. this means that not everyone can become a probation officer even if they want to become one. it is highly recommended that you ensure you meet these basic requirements before moving on with your process.
the training process will enable you to conduct your duties effectively and efficiently. you will be able to carry out objective assessments, know how to appropriately testify in court, maintain a record of the activities of all offenders delegated to you, and carry out other related tasks. you will also be subject to examinations which will test your mental and emotional stability. as a probation officer, you are required to be a mentor and a guide to all individuals entrusted under your supervision. only a person who has a level head on their shoulders will be able to carry out the duties properly. knowing how to become a probation officer is only the first step in people's minds. many are also interested in finding out how much officers make. the median salary for the job is about $30,000 annually.
what skills do i need?
becoming a probation officer is serious work. not only will you have to objectively maintain records to submit to court, you will also be required to make yourself available for assistance to the persons under your care. it is therefore necessary to be socially perceptive of another person's situation and be an active listener. in addition to this, a good probation officer should be good at making decisions and thinking critically to understand the nature of a problem and quickly develop an alternative to the situation. if you feel like you have what it takes, you should consider taking the necessary steps to get started in this career.