Probation Officer Job Search Tips
If you're interested in a probation officer job, it's good to know that demand for these professionals is high. The current overpopulation in jails and prisons has resulted in a lot more probationary sentences for offenders, and the result is a greater need for probation officers. That being said, you may still have some questions about finding probation work. This article will look at probation officer job facts and how you can get a job in the field.
Education and Training
It would first be helpful to clarify the difference between a probation officer and a parole officer. The two jobs are very similar, but a probation officer works with offenders to them from going to prison, while a parole officer helps parolees after they have been released from prison. A probation officer checks in with offenders to make sure they are obeying the terms of their probations and staying out of trouble. A juvenile probation officer does the same thing, but with offenders under the age of 18. Caseloads are extremely heavy for probation officers, and there is a huge amount of necessary paperwork to be done.
A probation officer needs at least a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related discipline such as social work. Some states require a master's degree for the probation officer position. You can check on the Internet to see what the exact requirements of your particular state are. You will also need to pass both physical and psychological exams, as well as a state or federal certification test. The requirements are stringent, as a probation officer will have to deal with stress and difficult people on a regular basis.
Finding the Probation Officer Job
If you can pass the requirements mentioned above, your best bet is to apply with county, state or federal departments of correction or departments of justice. These institutions are the source of almost every probationary job. You will need to pass the Probation Officer Exam before getting the job. You can find numerous study guides for this exam both online and in bookstores.
Usually the college or university where you obtained your degree can help you find work. A lot of these institutions maintain contacts with justice or corrections departments across the country and can help place you. Also, as you work your way through the system, you will make contact with a lot of legal professionals. Build your network by asking these experienced workers for advice. Many are more than willing to provide tips. Old-fashioned personal networking is still the source of many jobs.
You may need to relocate, depending on your situation. Do plenty of research on your target area and don't be afraid to make connections there even before your move. Big city departments are more likely to need your services than rural or small towns, but the smaller departments are certain to be less demanding.
The Internet is a wonderful source of probation officer job leads. Check out Real Police for probation officer job openings.