What Are the Educational Requirements to Become a Parole Officer?

With a bachelor's degree and some experience, you could work as a parole officer and potentially make a difference in people's lives. Keep reading for more information on this career, as well as additional requirements beyond education. Schools offering Corrections degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education Requirements for Parole Officers

If you'd like to become a parole officer, you will need formal education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you'll usually need a bachelor's degree, but some employers may look for job applicants with master's degrees. Typically, employers look for job candidates with degrees in the social sciences, including criminal justice and social work. You'll probably undergo a state-sponsored training program once you're hired. This training often takes the form of a probationary period, which, if completed successfully, can lead to a long-term position.

Important Facts about Education for Parole Officers

Prerequisites High school education or GED equivalent
Online Availability Yes; courses and degree programs available
Common Courses Correctional administration, victimology, drugs & crime, ethics
Concentrations Global leadership, law & public policy, emergency management
Median Salary (2018)$53,020 (Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)6% growth (Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Certification and Continuing Education

Either you'll receive a certificate as proof of completing parole officer training, or you'll be required to pass a certification exam to earn your certificate, depending on your state's regulations. To keep your credentials up to date, you might be required to undergo additional training every year.

Other Requirements

Along with education and experience, you'll have to meet a few other requirements in order to become a parole officer. These requirements may include holding a valid driver's license, being 21 years of age, being physically fit, and having a clean police record. Also, you may have to undergo psychological testing. Requirements vary by state, so you might check your state's parole department for exact qualifications.

Career Overview

Parole officers are responsible for monitoring offenders after they are released from prison. As a parole officer, you would ensure that these individuals maintain a crime-free lifestyle and help them to become functioning members of society. You might accomplish this by speaking with their family members or finding counseling services they can attend. In most positions, you would work with either juveniles or adults, although in some cases you might handle both. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) notes that parole cases are usually supervised by the state, while probation cases are supervised by the county.

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