What Are the Job Duties of a Parole Officer?
Do you want to work in law enforcement? Are you interested in helping people rehabilitate and better themselves? If you answered yes to these questions, you might be a good fit for a parole officer position. You can learn about job duties and related career information for parole officers by reading below. Schools offering Corrections degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Parole Officer Job Duties
As a parole officer, you work with criminals who've recently been released from jail to ensure that they follow the terms of their parole. These terms can include finding employment, not breaking any laws, abstaining from alcohol and drugs and keeping scheduled meetings with you. To ensure that these criminals, often called parolees, are staying out of trouble, you meet with them and keep tabs on their actions through contact with their religious groups, neighbors or families.
You'll also keep detailed records about the progress of the parolees you're working with. You may be required to travel and be available at all hours of the day and night. Many within this vocation work in high-crime areas and interact with people who don't want to work with them. In some circumstances, you may also help ex-offenders integrate back into society by setting up job interviews and educational opportunities. Depending on your employer and work assignments, you may work with juveniles or adults or, in rare cases, with both.
Training and Education
A bachelor's degree in a field such as criminal justice or social work is necessary for you to be employed as a parole officer in most cases. You need to be at least 21 years old and have a clean criminal record. You'll undergo a short training program, written, oral and psychiatric exams and work as a trainee for up to a year before becoming a full-time officer. Gaining communication and computer skills could also be helpful because you'll work directly with people as well as write and file comprehensive reports.
Salary Information and Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that parole officers had a mean annual wage of $51,240 as of May 2010 (www.bls.gov). Workers in state governments received the highest average pay, followed by those in local governments, then those in substance abuse and psychiatric hospitals. The state which paid the highest wages was California, with an annual mean wage of $77,070. If you become a parole officer, you could be facing what the BLS terms 'excellent' job prospects; from 2008-2018, parole officer employment had been expected to rise by 19%.
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