Probation services officer

Probation services officers (PSOs) supervise people serving community and prison sentences who are considered to be 'low-risk'.

Average salary (a year)

£22,039 Starter


£27,373 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends flexibly

How to become a Probation services officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • applying directly


You may find it helps your application if you take a college course like:

  • a diploma in public services
  • a qualification in youth and community work
  • A levels

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications

More information

Direct application

You could apply directly for job vacancies with probation services. You'll need:

  • experience of working with vulnerable people or people who have challenging behaviour
  • a minimum of 5 GCSEs or equivalent qualifications

You can get experience through volunteering or paid work, or by contacting your local community rehabilitation company for opportunities.

If you're successful with your application, you'll then train on the job. You'll do the Level 3 Diploma in Probation Practice during your first 12 months to qualify as a probation services officer.

More information

Further information

HM Prison and Probation Service has more information about careers, training and job vacancies in probation.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • leadership skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • you will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • gathering information and interviewing offenders
  • assessing the risk an offender may pose to the public
  • preparing court reports
  • delivering individual or group programmes to challenge offending behaviour
  • helping clients get work or training, housing or drug/alcohol treatment
  • arranging and supervising community work placements for offenders
  • supervising residents living in approved accommodation
  • supporting victims of crime
  • giving education or employment support to prisoners in the community or before their release
  • working with other agencies like the police, drug and alcohol services, social services, and health organisations

Working environment

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

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into a supervisory role, or train as a probation officer.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Youth Worker

  • Wage : £140.00 Weekly
  • Location: Bradford BD4 8PL

Courses In England

Extended Diploma in Public Services (QCF) (Ambulance, Police, Fire, Prison, Customs, Armed Forces, Public Services)

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

Public Services - Diploma In Public Services (Qcf)

  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Turnford

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

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