Probation officers work with individuals who have been convicted of a crime and placed on probation instead of being sentenced to prison. They can also work with individuals who have been released from prison and placed on parole.

Probation officers evaluate and counsel these individuals to prevent them from committing future crimes. They monitor individuals through regular phone calls or in-person meetings at the home of the individual. They learn about any issues and provide assistance in getting services they may need to be successful outside of prison.

An important role of probation officers is to enforce any special conditions that are unique to the individual and set by the judge or parole board. If probation officer finds that a probationer has violated a condition, they have to make a judgement on whether to issue a violation or give the individual a warning.

Use of Firearms

Firearms are often carried for the purpose of self defense but not all jurisdictions allow probation officers to be armed. Many states do not allow juvenile probation officers to carry firearms when supervising minors. Some agencies allow the probation officer to decide whether they want to carry a firearm. When visiting high-crime neighborhoods, the probation officer may make home visits with a partner, although backup may not be available.

Parole officers often have more cases than then their time allows, so they use their judgement on which cases to prioritize and when to issue violations. A career as a juvenile probation officers offers an especially good opportunity for someone looking to work with young people and make a positive difference in the community.

Probation Officer Salary

The average median salary for probation officers in the United States is $51,410 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017. Probation officers may be required to work on-call shifts where they are required to be available to respond to any issues that occur during a 24 hour period. Employment for this occupation is expected to grow by 6 percent from 2016 to 2026.

The typical requirements to become a probation officer in the United States are:

  • U.S. citizenship.
  • 21 years of age or older.
  • No felony convictions.
  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • Pass a drug text.

Highest Paying States for Probation Officers

State Median Salary
California $84,870
New Jersey $76,630
Iowa $69,370
New York $68,110
Alaska $67,590
Illinois $64,300
Hawaii $55,480
Arizona $56,410
Colorado $59,050
Ohio $49,420
Alabama $46,030
Georgia $42,660
Arkansas $37,890
Florida $34,840

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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