Are you interested in working in an incarceration facility or law enforcement office that handles probationary sentences and violations? Read on to learn more about career and education options in corrections and probation services.
Those involved in corrections and probation services supervise people who have violated the law and are serving their sentences either as a prison or jail inmate or who have been given probation in lieu of serving time. If you're interested in a career in corrections and probation services, you might consider employment as a corrections officer, parole officer or probation officer, also known as community supervision officers. Other options include working as a correctional treatment specialist, which might also be called a correctional counselor or case manager. These law enforcement professionals work to develop plans for offenders after they have been released from jail or prison. Pretrial service officers are also involved in corrections and probation, primarily in examining evidence prior to hearings.
Corrections and probation positions might be available at government incarceration facilities or privately owned correctional facilities. A position as a probation officer might require you to travel to the homes of those who are on probation. You should also be able to take calls at all times and be prepared to handle any incidents involving your cases. Prisons and similar institutions employ correction officers to oversee the daily activities of inmates, run rehabilitation programs and maintain order on a daily basis. Probation and parole officers handle juvenile and adult criminals in a supervisory role, helping them avoid criminal activity once they have been released and providing the court with accountability records.
A career in corrections and probation services requires quick decisions, clear thinking and the ability to lead others. A formal degree is usually required to enter into this field. Some states might require certain positions, like corrections officers, to pass a background check with no felony convictions, pass a drug test and be in satisfactory physical condition. You must also possess good eyesight and good hearing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual average salary for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was $51,240 in May 2010 (www.bls.gov). The employment rate for these professionals is expected to grow faster than average. The BLS expects a 19% increase in employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialist from 2008-2018.
Academic programs range from undergraduate certificates to degree programs. You can enroll in an associate or bachelor's degree program in corrections, probation and parole. Other programs that involve corrections and probations include criminal justice programs, such as a bachelor's or master's degree program in criminal justice.
Studies might include rules and regulations in corrections, public issues, civic speaking, organization procedures, therapy, adolescent behavior, human behavior, fairness and safety measures. Some schools offer online programs for probation officers, offering a variety of degree options for aspiring probation professionals. You might also specialize in juvenile delinquency and take online classes for juvenile probation officers.
As a graduate of a certificate or associate degree program, you could pursue employment as a corrections officer or jail guard. Corrections officers oversee the actions and conduct of offenders. Jail guards uphold orderliness in jails and prisons.
As a graduate of a bachelor's degree program, you might consider a career as a parole officer or probation officer. Parole officers counsel inmates who are scheduled to be released. Probation officers are responsible for supervising offenders who are on probation. After completing your educational program, you'll be responsible for communicating with offenders and others involved in your legal cases, assessing and troubleshooting a variety of correctional and probation issues and using technology as it relates to your work activities.