How Much Does a Parole Officer Make?

Parole officers work with people who have recently been released from a correctional institution? Do you want to supervise and guide legal offenders in their quest for rehabilitation? Continue reading to find out about parole officers, including their job and salary potential. Schools offering Corrections degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

As a parole officer, you are assigned to supervise and provide guidance to individuals upon their release from prison. You ensure the offenders, called parolees, follow the terms of their release, which may include staying within a legal jurisdiction or not participating in specified activities. You'll regularly meet with your assigned parolees to check up on their job status, and their other activities. If they have court-appointed sessions, like job training or rehabilitation, you'll make sure they're attending those appointments.

You may have to work long hours, and you may be required to travel to meet with parolees at their homes or workplaces. In some cases, you may be required to carry a gun for your protection.

Important Facts About Parole Officers

Required Education Bachelor's degree
On-the-Job Training Training program required, may be required to take certification test after
Key Skills Excellent oral and written communication, decision making, critical thinking, emotional stability, organized, social awareness, observation, reading comprehension
Similar Occupations Correctional officer, police officer, detective, social worker, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor

Salary Information

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that probation officers and correctional treatment specialists made a mean annual wage of $53,360 and a mean hourly wage of $25.65 (www.bls.gov). The median hourly salary was $23.59, while the median annual income was $49,060. The top ten percent of these workers made $40.34 or more an hour and $83,920 or more annually. However, PayScale.com reported in September 2015 that the median salary was $40,088 for parole officers and that most workers earned $31,391-$73,598.

Salary by Industry

The BLS reported in May 2014 that most probation officers and correctional treatment specialists were employed by state and local governments, with average salaries of $53,010 and $54,770, respectively. Other industries with high average wages for these workers included vocational rehabilitation services ($58,590), other residential care facilities ($45,890), and elementary and secondary schools ($43,410).

Salary by Location

The highest probation officer and correctional treatment specialist employment level was found in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania. Average salaries were $78,060 in California, $42,050 in Texas, $39,790 in Florida, $66,270 in New York and $51,670 in Pennsylvania. In addition to California and New York, states with high average pay for these professionals included Connecticut ($76,420), New Jersey ($73,840) and Illinois ($68,460). Workers in the lowest-paying areas made $31,230-$39,050, and some of these places included Idaho, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Kansas and New Mexico.

Salary by Experience

According to PayScale.com, earnings for parole officers with zero to five years of experience were $38,000 in September 2015. Those with 5-10 years of experience made $40,000, while those with 10-20 years of experience in the field made $47,000. Parole officers with 20 years of experience or more earned $63,000.

Job Outlook

The BLS noted that there would be a slight change of 4% in employment for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists from 2014-2024. This projection put parole officers growth at a slower-than-average rate when compared to other vocations. Despite this, the BLS expects that there will be many job opportunities in the field because of less competition and numerous job openings.

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