How To Become A Probation Officer

Probation Officer

The Job

Probation Officers manage and supervise offenders in order to protect the public and reduce the risk of reoffending. Probation Officers work with people serving prison or community sentences as well as released or soon-to-be released prisoners. The work brings you into contact with offenders, victims, the police, voluntary organisations and members of the legal system, and involves enforcing community orders and rehabilitation programmes, supervising offenders, preparing reports prior to sentencing and providing risk assessments for prison parole boards. Probation Officers need to communicate effectively with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and have the ability to inspire trust and confidence. You should also be able to cope with stressful situations.

Annual Salary

Probation Officer Salary

Minimum Education Level

Level: Level - Entry

Minimum Qualifications

University Level

Recommended Qualifications

To qualify as a Probation Officer (PO) you will need to be employed as a Probation Services Officer (PSO) by your local probation trust. PSOs who have a relevant degree (Criminology, Police Studies, Criminal Justice, Community Justice) can take a work-based Graduate Diploma in Community Justice as well as the Level 5 Diploma in Probation Practice. If you do not already have a relevant degree you can take a work-based Honours Degree in Community Justice plus the Level 5 Vocational Qualification in Probation Practice.

Average Working Hours Per Week = 37-40


Common Working Pattern

Common Working Pattern

Time Taken To Qualify

15 months (graduate route) to 5 years

What Next/Career Development

Qualified Probation Officers are expected follow a programme of continued professional development (CPD). Options for career development including additional training to become a senior probation officer or a team leader. You could also choose to work with particular groups, such as sexual offenders or high risk offenders.

Facts And Figures

•Every year the Probation Service begins the supervision of more than 170,000 offenders in England.
•90% of supervised offenders are male.
•The average age of supervised offenders is 30; 25% of all supervised offenders are aged 23 or under.*

*(Source: Ministry of Justice, National Offender Management Service)