Probation Officer at a Glance

Projected Job Growth

  • +0% Job Growth for
    Probation Officer

  • 2013
  • 2023

Average Salary for Probation Officer

  • $0 Annual Pay
    National Average
  • $0 Hourly Pay
    National Average

Best States for Probation Officer

in 2011
Annual Salary
Hourly Pay
Oregon 1,730 $52,690 $25
New Mexico 960 $36,200 $17
Delaware 430 $41,950 $20

Becoming a Probation Officer

The first step toward becoming a probation officer is earning a high school diploma or GED. While enrolled in high school, future probation officers are encouraged to take course work in psychology. Then, after graduating, it is in students' best interest to pursue a bachelor's degree. Although there are different qualifications among each probation agency, most of them require a bachelor's degree in a field like social work, psychology, or criminal justice.

During the bachelor's degree program, students will study human behavior, criminology, and rehabilitation. They will learn how to interact with offenders and how to evaluate their progress through treatments. They will also gain insight into the resources that are available to help criminals reestablish themselves outside of the prison system. Specifically, students may take the following classes:

  • Individual and Society
  • Criminology
  • Victimology
  • Re-Integration

It is common for probation agencies to only hire adults who are older than 20. Some agencies also have an age cap and will not hire individuals who are over 37. They must also pass drug tests, background checks, and psychological exams, as candidates must be able to think clearly and handle high-stress situations. After being hired, it is common for probation officers to spend at least a year working under more experienced officers before advancing into an official officer position.