Parole Officer Job Market Trends

Parole officers are responsible for the supervision of offenders that are serving a portion or the entirety of their sentence in the community, or on parole, and available parole officer jobs are expected to increase significantly.

Labor Market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions for parole officers is expected to increase by 20 percent by 2018. In some cases, there may be more job openings than there are qualified persons to assume positions as a parole officers. If more states decide, as Connecticut has, to release more non-violent offenders who are still required to serve a portion of their sentences but on parole, states will need more parole officers to deal with these offenders.

Shortages are also international, with countries like Canada and Australia also reporting that they plan to recruit more parole officers.

Getting Started as a Parole Officer

Most parole officers possess at least a bachelor’s degree in social work, criminal studies, psychology or sociology. Some parole officers also complete a graduate degree in a similar field. College Navigator is a national directory that provides information on two-year programs and on associate, four-year and graduate degrees by state or by education type. It is an invaluable resource with which to begin researching educational opportunities for an applicable post-secondary degree.

There is some debate about how useful an online degree in criminal studies or another related field is for finding a position as a parole officer. RealPolice.net provides an article on online degrees and on selecting an educational program for a career in law enforcement. Completing a portion of your degree through an online institution may be the only option for a person in the military or who lives in an area with limited access to a post-secondary institution. Increasingly, college students in a wide variety of programs complete their education through online courses, usually offered by their school, or by another institution that provides courses in an area that their school does not provide training in. As more students opt for online education, the stigma against online education will fade.

Parole Officer Resources

The American Probation and Parole Association website offers information on professional development, as well as on case management issues that affect parole officers. The site also hosts a members-only job board, access to their members-only journal and a community calendar of upcoming professional events. The links section of their website also provides access to the local agencies that recruit and hire parole officers.

Local law enforcement, police or sheriffs' association websites will also have resources for parole officers in that region. Refer to these website for additional information and relevant job postings for parole officers.

RealPolice.net offers articles on law enforcement careers, as well as link resources to various department of corrections and law enforcement associations that include parole officers. The website also includes forums to interact with current and prospective law enforcement professionals. Finding a current parole officer on the forum who is willing to conduct an informational interview is a good way to determine if a parole officer job is the career for you.