How to become a probation officer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:
- youth and community work
Similar subjects may be acceptable.
Once you finish your course you can apply for the Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) training programme. You need to complete this to become a qualified probation officer.
The PQiP programme takes between 15 and 21 months to complete, depending on what you studied at university.
You'll usually need:
- 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
You could start work as a probation services officer. Once you've built up your experience and completed on-the-job training, you could apply to join the Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) programme.
You'll be expected to have paid or voluntary experience of working with vulnerable people, or people with challenging behaviour, before you apply for training. You can get this by working with charities and organisations that support ex-offenders.
You may be able to apply directly for a trainee probation officer job if you already have a qualification at Level 5 or above. For example, a social work degree that includes a probation option.
It will help if you have some knowledge of how the criminal justice and rehabilitation systems work.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the Probation Institute for professional development opportunities.
You'll find more on how to become a probation officer from HM Prison & Probation Service.