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Probation services officer

Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter


£29,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Probation services officer

You can get into this job through:

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


You'll need GCSEs in English and maths to apply for jobs and most colleges offer these if you do not already have them.

Taking a course in public services or youth work practice might also give you some understanding of the justice system, though this is not essential.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


You may be able to start as a case administrator in a probation office, then do on-the-job training to become a probation services officer.

Direct Application

You can apply directly for job vacancies with probation services. 

You'll usually need:

  • experience of working with vulnerable people or people who have challenging behaviour
  • excellent communications skills
  • a minimum of 5 GCSEs or equivalent qualifications, including English and maths

You can get experience through volunteering or paid work with charities that support ex-offenders, or by contacting your local probation service for opportunities.

If you're successful with your application, you'll 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

You can find out more about how to become a probation services officer from HM Prison & Probation Service.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • 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
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a probation services officer, you could:

  • assess the risk an offender may pose to the public
  • prepare court and management reports
  • run individual or group sessions to challenge offending behaviour
  • help clients get work or training, housing, or drug and alcohol treatment
  • support offenders before and after prison release and manage them in the community
  • supervise residents living in approved accommodation
  • support victims of crime

Working environment

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

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a manager, with responsibility for a team of probation services officers.

You may also get opportunities to work in other parts of the justice system, or train to be a probation officer.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Probation services 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 First Certificate

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Bexhill on Sea

Public Services

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Oldham

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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