Probation officer

Probation officers supervise people serving community and prison sentences and help them to stay away from crime.

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

36 to 38 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become a probation officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

University

You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • criminology
  • sociology
  • psychology
  • youth and community work

Other subjects may be acceptable.

Once you complete your course you can apply for the Professional Qualification in Probation training programme.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information

Work

You could start as a probation services officer, then:

  • take the Level 3 Diploma in Probation Practice and further on-the-job training
  • get relevant experience
  • apply to join the Professional Qualification in Probation training programme

Volunteering and experience

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.

Direct application

You may be able to apply for probation jobs if you already hold certain qualifications approved by HM Prison & Probation Service. For example, a social work degree that includes a probation option.

More information

Career tips

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.

Further information

You'll find more on how to become a probation officer from HM Prison & Probation Service.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work on your own
  • customer service skills
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • be a British or Commonwealth citizen, a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, or a foreign national with the right to stay and work in the UK for an indefinite period
  • pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • interviewing offenders before sentencing or parole
  • making sure offenders attend supervision appointments and take part in group programmes
  • running group programmes to change offenders' behaviour
  • assessing risks and writing reports to help prisons and parole review boards decide about early release
  • working with victims of violent or sexual crime when prisoners are being considered for parole
  • working with prisoners about to be released

Working environment

You could work in a prison, in a court, in an office or in the community.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

With experience you could become a senior probation officer.

With further training you could specialise in working with particular groups, like high-risk or sexual offenders.

Further promotion usually means moving into management and away from working with offenders. You could become an area manager or chief executive.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a probation officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Public Services - Diploma In Public Services (Qcf)

  • Provider: HERTFORD REGIONAL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Turnford

Subsidiary Diploma in Public Services (QCF) (public services)

  • Provider: Barking & Dagenham College
  • Start date: 04 September 2019
  • Location: Romford

JobsIn the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

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