Probation Officer Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|20 Years +||$16.80||$44.28||$34,950.00||$92,100.00|
Probation officers play a critical role in the United States' criminal justice systems as they investigate and supervise defendants who are not yet received their incarceration sentence. Probation officers also supervise convicted law offenders who are granted non-custodial sanctions provided they serve the remainder of their prison sentence in accordance to the agreement between them and the parole-giving body. Parolees are granted parole after consideration from the prison warden, the board of parole, and other parole authorities, usually for good behavior while inside the prison.
A probation officer, simply put, monitors the movement of their subjects and ensures that the parolees are carrying out activities within the boundaries of their conditions for parole. In some cases, parolees are required to spend specific number of hours doing community service, the progress of which is supervised by a probation officer.
There are certain assignments that prove to be risky for parole officers, especially when they are dealing with high profile convicts and habitual sex offenders. There are times where a probation officer is called upon to supervise a subject even if that subject has already completed his or her incarceration term. This especially applies to members of high risk gangs, drug cartels, international mafias, and syndicates. In some instances, life supervision from a probation officer is required for such individuals.
A probation officer's functions also include serving in courts, where they supervise offenders who are placed on house arrest, as well as investigate their personal and criminal history. The results of the investigation are sometimes used in courtroom trials and are considered in making the sentence.
Typically, probation officers do not wear uniforms but are issued with badges and credentials and may carry concealed weapons for self-defense and in serving warrants. While in the field doing their rounds, a probation officer can show up unannounced to check on his or her subjects and their activities. Because they are working closely with the criminal population, probation officers must have good communications skills and be trained in firearms handling and law enforcement policies.
In the United States, there are 88,520 probation officers and they are making a median salary of $47,840 a year. Those who belong to the top 10% are earning an average probation officers salary of over $82,140 per annum. Probation officers who are in the bottom 10% are paid with an annual salary of $31,210 or less.
Wage trending for probation officers varies in many ways depending on a number of factors. Among the biggest factors is the type of employer one is working for. The number of positions available, the actual demand for probation officers, and the functions assigned to each position influence a probation officer's salary.
The biggest employer for probation officers are correctional facilities at the state level. Around 48,700 probation officers are employed by state governments and earning $52,860 per year. Second are parole and correctional agencies at the local level, where 35,410 probation officers are paid with $52,750 a year. State and local parole authorities also shell out the top two highest probation officer salary rates in the country.
Agencies that offer individual and family services also provide many job opportunities for probation personnel, especially those who are dealing with kids and teenagers. Most probation officers in this industry are making an average juvenile probation officer salary of $35,300 a year, which is substantially lower than the national average.
Psychiatric and abuse hospitals also have a higher probation officers salary rates compared to other industries. However, at an average $49,810 a year, the figure is still significantly lower than the national average. Also, the opportunities are not vast and requirements are very strict.
Employers also have their own set of standards in determining a probation officer's pay rates. Among the variables included in the equation are the stress levels that come with the position, the working conditions, the hours, and the hazards involved. Knowing your own qualifications will help you decide which industry will likely take your credentials and skills.
States have varying requirements for probationary officer candidates. The most common prerequisite is a college degree in justice administration, social work, corrections, psychology or criminal justice. Those who have an associate degree can bolster their chances of becoming a probationary officer if they have considerable experiences in social work, counseling, and criminal investigation. Also, employers require candidates to be of 21 years of age upon application.
Probationary officer training takes place while on the job, where candidates undergo supervised training for almost a year before they are hired full time.
Although not strictly required, many employers highly consider those who are certified by or members of legitimate labor organizations. Among the most popular associations of probationary officers is the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA). Memberships in legal entities bolster one employment chances and give a candidate leverage to negotiate for higher probationary officer salary rates.
Employment opportunities for probation officers are likely to increase by 18%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They describe this growth as fast as average for all occupations.
Increases in employment prospects for probationary officers are due to the sustained growth of the probation and parole services which will then lead to new openings for officers. Changes in the justice systems are also seen to positively affect the probation officer profession. Judges will have more flexibility in making sentences for offenders in a case by case basis. Offenders who are deemed as low-risk individuals are likely to be sentenced to supervised community services, which will increase the demands for more probation officers.
Because of the high ongoing costs associated with the traditional prison system, house arrests and other forms of alternative sentences are expected to increase in significance. If the trend continues to grow, so will the call for more probation officers. Also influencing the growth of the probationary officer occupation is the increasing number of veteran officers retiring from the service, which creates sizeable numbers of vacancies for high positions, which also leads to the opening of slots at the entry-level.
For many potential workers the probation officer role is not attractive because of the stress levels, heavy workloads, and high-risk assignments. This means that the employment prospects are very good for those who qualify.
Probationary officers usually begin their careers at the local level. Most of them are employed by local correctional agencies and juvenile facilities. At any given time, a probationary officer handles as much as 20 to 100 cases. High-risk cases such as high profile sex offenders, drug dealers, and robbers are often given to experienced probationary officers, who are often accompanied by junior probationary officers in training.
Career advancement is fueled by experience and performance. Higher education such as a master's degree in sociology, psychology, and criminal justices required for those who are seeking promotion to higher positions.
Probationary officers who are assigned to juvenile offenders and low-risk individuals are often called upon to provide their subjects with productive activities such as employment as well as housing. They also arrange for drug counseling and rehabilitation seminars to make them more productive members of society.
Occupations related to the probationary officer occupation are:
The probationary officer profession demands dedication and a passion to help other people. It is a risky job since probationary officers deal with people who have violated the law. However, it is also a good platform where one can reach out to those who did wrong and help them become better individuals and more productive members in the community.