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Probation Officers And Correctional Treatment Specialists Career

Career Description

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole.  They make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.

Common Work Tasks

  • Supervise people who have been placed on probation
  • Counsel offenders and create rehabilitation plans for them to follow when they are no longer in prison or on parole
  • Conduct pretrial investigations, the findings of which help determine whether suspects should be released before their trial
  • Meet offenders in their homes and at their places of employment or therapy
  • Seek the assistance of community organizations,  such as religious institutions, neighborhood groups, and local residents, to monitor the behavior of many offenders
  • Arrange for offenders to get substance abuse rehabilitation or job training
  • Evaluate inmates using questionnaires and psychological tests
  • Work with inmates, probation officers, and other agencies to develop parole and release plans
  • Plan education and training programs to improve offenders’ job skills and provide them with coping, anger management, and drug and sexual abuse counseling either individually or in groups
  • Write treatment plans and summaries for each client

Other Job Titles

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists are also known by other titles, including:

  • Community Supervision Officers
  • Case Managers
  • Parole Officers
  • Pretrial Services Officers

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
  A bachelor’s degree in social work, criminal justice, psychology, or a related field is usually required. Some employers require a master’s degree in criminal justice,  social work, psychology, or a related field for candidates who do not have previous related experience. Different employers have different requirements for what counts as related experience. It may include work in probation,  pretrial services, parole, corrections, criminal investigations, substance abuse treatment, social work, or counseling.

Most probation officers and some correctional treatment specialists are required to complete a training program sponsored by their State government or the Federal Government, after which a certification test may be required. Most probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work as trainees or on a probationary period for up to a year before being offered a permanent position.

  Prospective probation officers or correctional treatment specialists should be in good physical and emotional condition. Most agencies require applicants to be at least 21 years old and, for Federal employment, not older than 37. Those convicted of felonies may not be eligible for employment in this occupation.
  Familiarity with the use of computers often is required due to the increasing use of computer technology in probation and parole work. Candidates also should be knowledgeable about laws and regulations pertaining to corrections. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists should have strong writing skills because they are required to prepare many reports. They should also have excellent listening and interpersonal skills to work effectively with offenders.


The median annual salary for a Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist is $45,000.  The top 10 percent earn more than $76,000,  and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $29,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are:

  • State Government- $49,640
  • Local Government - $47,230
  • Individual and Family Services - $29,580
  • Other Residential Care Facilities - $27,890
  • Facilities Support Services - $34,230

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  11%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 10,000
  • Employment 2006 : 105,000
  • Employment 2016:  94,000
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