How to Become a Parole Officer

When you become a parole officer, you will be able to make a difference in peoples lives and help in the rehabilitation process of many individuals. Parole officers work closely with those that are incarcerated in order to help them become functioning members of society again. Here are the basics of how to successfully become a parole officer.


In order to become a parole officer, you will have to go through the necessary education process. Each state will have different educational requirements that are involved. Some states may require you to have an Associates degree while others require a bachelors degree in order to qualify. You should try to obtain a degree in a field that is related to being a parole officer. For example, you might get a degree in criminal justice or criminal science. Any kind of degree that deals with behavioral science will typically be good for this field. If you eventually want to move up to being a parole officer on the federal level, you will most likely have to obtain a master's degree in one of these fields.


Once you have obtained the proper education, you will have to become certified as a parole officer. Depending on where you live, the certification process will be unique. In most cases, you will have to take a written exam in order to prove that you have the capabilities to be a parole officer. Most exams will have a portion of multiple-choice questions as well as several essay questions. They will be testing you to determine if you are proficient in the area of criminal justice.

Background Check

In order to become a parole officer, you will have to go through a thorough background check. Since you will be working with convicted criminals, you will have to have a clean record. Anyone that has had criminal problems in the past will typically be prevented from becoming a parole officer.

Training Program

After you have been through the certification and background check process, they may decide to hire you as a parole officer. However, before you can do any actual work, you will have to go through a parole officer training program. This is typically a paid learning program and it will last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. Each parole officer training program will be different depending on where you are taking it at.

Correctional Officer Experience

One of the best things that you can do before going after a parole officer position is to get some experience working in a prison. If you first become a correctional officer, you will be able to learn how the process works and become familiar with it. Many correctional officers eventually transition their way into being a parole officer. When you eventually get a job as a parole officer, you will be spending part of your time in a prison. Therefore, this helps to get you accustomed to the environment in advance.