Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.
Sample of reported job titles: Adult Probation Officer, Correctional Counselor, Deputy Probation Officer (DPO), Juvenile Probation Officer, Parole Agent, Parole Officer (PO), Probation Agent, Probation and Parole Officer, Probation Counselor, Probation Officer
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Prepare and maintain case folder for each assigned inmate or offender.
- Gather information about offenders’ backgrounds by talking to offenders, their families and friends, and other people who have relevant information.
- Interview probationers and parolees regularly to evaluate their progress in accomplishing goals and maintaining the terms specified in their probation contracts and rehabilitation plans.
- Discuss with offenders how such issues as drug and alcohol abuse and anger management problems might have played roles in their criminal behavior.
- Supervise people on community-based sentences, such as electronically monitored home detention, and provide field supervision of probationers by conducting curfew checks or visits to home, work, or school.
- Investigate alleged parole violations, using interviews, surveillance, and search and seizure.
- Recommend remedial action or initiate court action in response to noncompliance with terms of probation or parole.
- Arrange for medical, mental health, or substance abuse treatment services according to individual needs or court orders.
- Develop liaisons and networks with other parole officers, community agencies, correctional institutions, psychiatric facilities, and aftercare agencies to plan for helping offenders with life adjustments.
- Administer drug and alcohol tests, including random drug screens of offenders, to verify compliance with substance abuse treatment programs.
- Inform offenders or inmates of requirements of conditional release, such as office visits, restitution payments, or educational and employment stipulations.
- Participate in decisions about whether cases should go before courts and which court should hear them.
- Write reports describing offenders’ progress.
- Conduct prehearing and presentencing investigations and testify in court regarding offenders’ backgrounds and recommended sentences and sentencing conditions.
- Arrange for postrelease services, such as employment, housing, counseling, education, and social activities.
- Provide offenders or inmates with assistance in matters concerning detainers, sentences in other jurisdictions, writs, and applications for social assistance.
- Develop and prepare packets containing information about social service agencies, assistance organizations, and programs that might be useful for inmates or offenders.
- Develop rehabilitation programs for assigned offenders or inmates, establishing rules of conduct, goals, and objectives.
- Recommend appropriate penitentiary for initial placement of an offender.
- Assess the suitability of penitentiary inmates for release under parole and statutory release programs and submit recommendations to parole boards.
- Identify and approve work placements for offenders with community service sentences.
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- Calendar and scheduling software — Appointment scheduling software
- Customer relationship management CRM software
- Data base user interface and query software — Court records databases; Microsoft Access
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — Electronic tracking device software
- Office suite software — Corel WordPerfect Office Suite; Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Case management software; Tyler Technologies Odyssey Case Manager
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Voice recognition software — Speech recognition software
- Web page creation and editing software — Facebook ; LinkedIn
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
- Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
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- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Maintain client information or service records.
- Collect information about clients.
- Counsel clients or patients with substance abuse issues.
- Interview clients to gather information about their backgrounds, needs, or progress.
- Monitor health or behavior of people or animals.
- Visit individuals in their homes to provide support or information.
- Recommend legal actions.
- Arrange physical or mental health services for clients.
- Investigate legal issues.
- Develop working relationships with others to facilitate program activities.
- Administer drug screening tests.
- Explain regulations, policies, or procedures.
- Write reports or evaluations.
- Plan programs to address community mental wellness needs.
- Evaluate characteristics of individuals to determine needs or eligibility.
- Help clients get needed services or resources.
- Refer individuals to educational or work programs.
- Provide educational materials to community members.
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- Contact With Others — 96% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Telephone — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 72% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 57% responded “Very important results.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 41% responded “Some freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 43% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 43% responded “Some freedom.”
- Deal With Physically Aggressive People — 37% responded “Every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 41% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 49% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 37% responded “High responsibility.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 67% responded “More than half the time.”
- Physical Proximity — 55% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Consequence of Error — 46% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 33% responded “Extremely important.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 31% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 69% responded “40 hours.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 25% responded “Never.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
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|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor’s degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: SEC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$26.77 hourly, $55,690 annual|
|Employment (2020)||92,700 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Slower than average (1% to 5%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||8,100|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Correctional Association
- American Probation and Parole Association
- Correctional Peace Officers Foundation
- Fraternal Order of Police
- National Association of Forensic Counselors
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Council on Crime and Delinquency
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
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