Education Needed To Be A Probation Officer – The Correctional Service has the unique duty to maintain public safety and at the same time provide support and rehabilitation to offenders. They work within the legal system and manage probationers while serving part of their sentence in the community. The field is an attractive opportunity for those who want to impact their communities and the lives of other people.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the profession also offers enticing salary potential, with the average correctional officer earning an average annual salary of $54,290 and the top 10% of correctional officers earning nearly $95,000 annually. Most probation officers work for the government handling criminal cases, but they can also find positions in social services.
Education Needed To Be A Probation Officer
Education, experience and achievements can also influence the career paths of professionals. Most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree, but master’s degrees, specialized training and work experience can also open doors. Read on to learn about this rewarding career, its requirements and potential benefits for professionals in the field.
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The correctional service helps with the rehabilitation of people who are in custody, on probation or on parole. They evaluate the needs of the offenders in their custody and create treatment plans to help them move forward and prepare for life after probation. These professionals offer a variety of social services, such as educational resources, career training, and support for those struggling with substance abuse.
Probation officers play an integral role in the justice system, working closely with the courts, law enforcement and social services to provide support to offenders, uphold the law and protect the community. They may interact with probationers’ families and friends to develop a support system and determine rehabilitation progress.
These officers can administer drug tests to probationers, conduct interviews, and conduct interrogations. They also collate and submit their findings in detailed reports to the courts, helping to determine the appropriate course of action for offenders in the officer’s custody.
Depending on their working environment, many correctional officers experience stressful situations. Probationers may resist or demonstrate hostility to the process. The officers can work either with youth or adults, and with experience and advanced training, they can specialize in an area such as substance abuse or domestic violence cases.
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Each detective brings a unique set of skills to their role, but certain traits prove to be particularly important. The following skills ensure that correctional officers thrive professionally while handling the essential duties of their careers.
While correctional officers’ duties depend on their department, location, and specialization, many officers perform similar day-to-day tasks. The following list describes some of the field’s most common tasks.
Correctional officers provide an important service to communities and ensure these jobs will remain in demand for the foreseeable future. BLS data projects slower than average job growth for correctional officers from 2018-2028, but these professionals and social service specialists still enjoy a variety of opportunities.
As state and local governments transition to community corrections over incarceration, the field should see growth. Furthermore, stress and workload-related turnover continues to create new jobs for aspiring candidates.
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As with most professions, applicants with more advanced education have better employment opportunities. For example, graduates typically get more opportunities in the field than bachelors. Other educational elements can also help, such as speaking Spanish or completing counseling training. In addition to promising job availability and diversity, this field offers attractive salaries, as discussed in more detail below.
According to BLS data, although graduates’ earning potential depends on several factors, correctional officers earn an average annual salary that exceeds $54,000 — approximately $15,000 more than the average for all occupations. Often reserved for professionals with advanced degrees and experience, the top 10% of wage earners earn nearly $95,000 a year.
Industry and location can also affect correctional officers’ wages. According to data from the BLS, most of these professionals work for state and local governments and earn average annual salaries of approximately $59,000 and $62,000. In California, the state that offers the nation’s highest wages, professionals earn an average annual salary of over $91,000. On the East Coast, New York and New Jersey lead the way, offering an average annual salary of over $71,000.
Most correctional officers graduate high school or complete a GED before earning a bachelor’s degree with a focus in criminal justice or behavioral science. More relevant bachelor’s education increases candidates’ chances of employment. After completing their bachelor’s, applicants often undergo a correctional officer training, which typically takes 4-8 weeks.
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The requirements to become a supervisor vary by state, society, desired industry and employer. However, candidates generally need a combination of education, industry certification and experience. The following information covers typical job requirements in more detail.
Correctional officers can have bachelor’s degrees in a variety of subjects, according to the BLS. Professionals can come from a variety of behavioral science backgrounds, but the criminal justice degree is the most direct career path. Students who wish to pursue specific areas of the profession, such as substance abuse or juvenile corrections, may benefit from concentrations or focused training in these areas.
Some states and industries may require additional training, such as an academy training program. For professionals looking to advance their careers into a supervisory role, master’s degrees in criminal justice can help. In addition to improving employment opportunities, advanced specialized training can also lead to wage increases.
In some states, probation officers must pass certification exams to qualify for employment. Additionally, working in certain probationary specialties, such as juvenile probation, may require certification. These qualifications allow governments and authorities to ensure that all graduates meet minimum standards for the profession.
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Other possible certifications may include officer safety training certifications, which cover defensive tactics and firearms training, and academy program certifications, which demonstrate completion of the state-sponsored programs. See local state requirements for more details.
Experience can help aspiring corrections officers find their professional interests and land occupation, but specific experience requirements vary by state and territory. In most cases, employers prefer experience but do not require it. Prior to employment, these candidates can gain relevant experience through internships or voluntary work.
However, some states require candidates to have general work experience before entering the field, which helps ensure their maturity and discipline for the role. In addition, working correctional officers can use professional experience to advance or further specialize their careers. For example, supervisors and managers typically need several years of experience or graduate degrees to qualify. Some states require youth probationers to complete at least one year of related experience to qualify for employment.
Each state employs regulatory officers in a variety of industries and sectors. Their skills, interests and experience levels can lead them into different areas of the profession. Depending on their specific field and where they live, aspiring officers should expect significantly different tenure, pay, and employment opportunities. The information below examines these influencing factors and some resulting salaries.
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Location plays an important role in determining job openings and salaries for many careers. In the correctional field, the more populated, high-crime locations tend to offer more employment opportunities. Similarly, densely populated cities usually offer more opportunities than rural areas.
In terms of salary expectations, cities with higher costs of living typically have higher salaries. The table below shows the salaries in the country’s five highest paying states.
Professional settings and employers also affect salary potential. Correctional officers typically work in government positions, but they may also pursue outside opportunities that may pay more or less than traditional positions. Even within government, state-level positions tend to pay less than local government positions.
Competition, availability and responsibility also affect salaries. Outside of government, correctional officers may find work in social support facilities, such as individual and family services and substance abuse facilities. The following table examines the most popular work environments and their typical salaries.
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