Probation Officer

Make sure offenders stick to the rules of their probation.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$31,000 – $81,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Probation Officers do?

A Probation Officer is paid to “babysit” criminal offenders who have been sentenced to probation, either instead of prison or in combination with it as part of a reduced sentence. You see, just as kids need a Babysitter to supervise, entertain, and care for them while their parents are away, convicted criminals are often required by the justice system to have someone watch over them.

As a Probation Officer, you’re that someone. Unlike Parole Officers, however, who supervise offenders who’ve been released from prison early for good behavior, you’re part of the punishment, not the reward.

For that reason, your job as a Probation Officer is enforcing rules. If offenders violate the terms of their probation — for instance, courts often require them to respect a strict curfew and refrain from using drugs — they’re sent to prison. It’s up to you to make sure that doesn’t happen, and you do that by supervising offenders who have been assigned to you.

To that end, your duties typically include meeting with offenders, as well as their families and employers, in order to monitor their activities and evaluate their progress. You also perform random visits and drug tests to make sure offenders are complying with the terms of their probation. In addition, you arrange drug or alcohol rehabilitation, job training, and housing for offenders. On top of all that, you report to the courts in order to recommend further sentencing, release, etc.

In a way, you’re a professional guardian angel — the kind that gives tough love to those who truly need it!


Should I be a Probation Officer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Adult Probation Officer, Classification Officer, Correctional Probation Officer, Crime Prevention Worker See More

    How to become a Probation Officer

    Most Probation Officers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:afa9fa&chl=|certificate+%287%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2886%25%29|master%27s+%287%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,86
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