The parole officers have a vital role to play in the betterment of society. They look after criminals on parole and help them start a new life. Parole officers aid criminals in looking for jobs and dealing with old problems.
Should I Become a Parole Officer in US?
If you want to help criminals start over and live a better life, then a career as a parole officer will suit you. Continue reading to learn how you can become a parole officer in the US.
|Associate’s or a Bachelor’s Degree|
|Major Requirement||Criminal Justice degree is preferred|
|Experience/Training||Training is required in most states|
|Key Skills||Patience, Good Physical Condition, Good Communication Skills, etc.|
|Annual Mean Salary (2022) – National||$64,920 (Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists)|
|Job Outlook (2021 – 2031)||0% (Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists)|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish the career outlook figures for parole officers. However, figures for Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists are available, and these professionals will experience 0% job growth between 2021 and 2031.
Job Duties of a Parole Officer in the US
Parole officers in the United States have a range of duties, mainly related to overseeing and helping individuals who have been released from prison before their sentences are complete (on parole). These duties vary somewhat depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of the officer’s role, but they generally include:
Parole officers are responsible for supervising parolees to ensure that they comply with the terms of their parole. This may involve regular check-ins or meetings, home visits, and drug testing.
They are involved in evaluating the parolees’ progress, which may involve checking in on their living conditions, employment, and overall adjustment to life outside of prison.
They manage the cases of their assigned parolees, including keeping detailed records, writing reports, and providing evidence in court if a parolee is suspected of violating the terms of their parole.
Referral and Support
They refer parolees to community resources, such as substance abuse counseling, mental health services, and job training programs. They may also provide guidance and support to help parolees adjust to life after prison.
They conduct risk assessments to determine the likelihood that a parolee will reoffend, and use this information to make decisions about the level of supervision required.
They collaborate with other professionals in the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, lawyers, and court officials.
They are often trained to handle crises, such as a parolee being in immediate danger or potentially posing a risk to others.
Preparation of Release Plans
Prior to an inmate’s release, parole officers might work to establish a parole plan that includes housing, employment, and necessary treatment for the parolee.
Parole officers often conduct training or educational programs for parolees, such as helping them understand their legal obligations and the expectations of their parole.
Testify in Court
Parole officers may need to testify in court regarding the parolee’s behavior, compliance, and progress.
It’s also important to note that the job of a parole officer can be stressful and potentially dangerous, as it involves working closely with individuals who have been convicted of crimes. Parole officers often work irregular hours and may need to be available to respond to emergencies or crises.
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Steps to Become a Parole Officer
Candidates have to complete the following steps to become parole officers in the US:
Get a Degree
Almost all states in the US have made it mandatory for aspiring parole officers to get a degree. The degree level requirement varies from state to state. Some states require parole officers to have an Associate’s Degree, whereas other states have made it mandatory to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. It is advisable to check your state requirements before you start the process of becoming a parole officer.
Clear Background Checks
Since parole officers have to work as part of the criminal justice system, they will have to clear an extensive background screening process. The authorities will check background history for past law offenses, felony charges, and driving violations, among other things. Credit card history, personal and professional references might be scrutinized as well.
Clear a Government Exam
Aspiring parole officers will have to clear a government-administered exam too. This examination will gauge the candidate’s knowledge of courts and criminal justice systems. These tests can be conducted by state, county, city as well as the federal government. Most of these tests have MCQs and essay questions to analyze the candidates’ reading and writing skills.
Candidates will have to complete training. These trainings are held during the first year of employment or before starting work as parole officers. The participants are paid during these training sessions, and it takes between 4 to 6 weeks to complete the training. Some states might also ask parole officers to take re-training and refresher sessions from time to time in order to get career advancement opportunities.
Apply for a Job
How Long Does It Take to Become a Parole Officer?
It usually takes anywhere between 2 to 7 years to become a parole officer in the US after high school. The timeframe will vary according to the educational requirements, the time it takes to prepare for the test, and the training duration.
What Are the Requirements to Become a Parole Officer?
- Get an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s Degree, according to the state requirement.
- Pass a background check
- Clear a government-administered exam
- Complete training
- Apply for a job
How Much Does a Parole Officer Earn in the US?
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists in the US earned $64,920 in mean annual income in the year 2022. This figure has been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Below are the five highest paying US states for this occupation as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.