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Parole Officer Job Description, Career as a Parole Officer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree and specific training

Median Salary: $49,503 per year

Job Prospects: Good

Job Description

Parole officers supervise people who are let out of prison on parole. These officers of the law may also work as probation officers because the convicted person’s sentence is dependent on her or his conditions for being let out of jail. Parole officers are responsible for checking in with their assigned individuals on a regular basis and for providing a report on their progress. This is usually a court-ordered exercise that is a condition of the individual’s freedom. Parole officers generally work exclusively with either adults or juveniles, each of which can offer unique types of cases.

As a parole officer, a person can expect to meet with assigned clients on a regular basis. Parole officers help their clients to secure a job, housing, and any necessary education required to transition back into society. Parole officers oversee paroled convicts’ regular activities to ensure that they are living a normal life and sticking to the conditions of their release.

Parole officers usually meet with clients at either the client’s home or place of employment and then report their findings back to the court. The parole officer may have to field calls from clients on a more regular basis if the conditions for release warrant it. Parole officers are usually responsible for many different cases at one time, and must work hard to keep up with the whereabouts and status of each of their clients. They may be asked to come to court to report on the status of any one of their clients.

Training/Educational Requirements

The minimum educational requirement for a position as a parole officer is a bachelor’s degree. Though it isn’t required, it can be helpful if the individual has a degree or background in criminal justice. As the rules and regulations may change occasionally, it can be helpful to keep up with the trends. Though it is not required in some states, many parole officers have their master’s degree in criminal justice or a related discipline. Additionally, there are usually several written and behavioral exams that an individual must pass to become a parole officer.

Most parole officers start in an entry role as a trainee. It’s important to have this on-the-job training to prepare them for a full-time career in this field. Because there are many different rules and regulations involved in monitoring paroled people, it can be quite helpful for a junior parole officer to learn from more senior level parole officers. Parole officers may work in their role for years, and may even work in a more supervisory role as time goes on.

How to Get Hired

While education in criminal justice is important, working in a related role really can help an individual to gain entry into parole-related professions. This is particularly important for those who wish to work as a parole officer in a federal type of role. It is also important that individuals wishing to become parole officers have an impeccable record, one free of any criminal activity, and that they are U.S. citizens.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Though crime is not overall a good thing, it does ensure a positive forecast for this position. The higher the crime rate is, the more likely that parole officers will be hired. Because this role is tied directly to people released from prison or other correctional facilities, the very existence of parole officers is dependent on a higher crime rate. That means that the outlook is very good right now for the hiring of parole officers.

The more experience a parole officer has, the more likely she or he is to be hired. Experience really counts when it comes to securing a federal position because it is necessary that parole officers know how to interact and deal with criminals in an effective manner. This is not usually a position that is dependent on a thriving economy because crime is present in all types of economies. While this may not be good for a society, this is good for those interested in becoming parole officers or in advancing in this sector of law enforcement.

Working Environment

Parole officers usually have their own office, but they may not spend much time in it. They need an office to fill out reports and associated paperwork, but they spend a lot of their time traveling. Parole officers travel to the homes or work sites of their clients, and this means that every day is different.

Parole officers may also expect to spend some time in court. They may be required to report in at parole hearings, and so a typical working environment may include a courthouse. The work environment will vary by caseload, clients, and state requirements.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a parole officer is generally about $49,503, but it can range from $43,951 to $55,062. This figure varies due to a few factors, including experience, industry type, and size of employer. Geographical location can certainly play a factor in this as well. The benefits are unique to the employer, but parole officers can usually expect to receive a standard package, including paid vacation and medical coverage.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service