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Probation Officer

The Role

A Probation Officer will carry out a range of specialist functions, the priority of which is to protect the public and prevent re-offending. Examples of some of the work that a Probation Officer may undertake are as follows:

  • Obtain information about an offender and produce a report for the Court with an assessment of the offender in order to assist in sentencing and other decisions;
  • Supervise offenders who are subject to a Court Order or a Licence upon release from a prison sentence and enforce the Order or Licence;
  • Plan how an offender will serve his/her sentence, addressing offending behaviour and rehabilitation.

Entry Qualifications

  • If you are under 21 years old you need to have at least 2 A-level passes as well as three GCSEs. Alternatively, you could have three A-levels and one GCSE. If you are over 21 but under 25 you will need to have at least 5 GCSE passes. If you are over 25 there are no formal qualifications required but you do need to demonstrate academic ability under test conditions.

New trainee probation officers coming into the profession must undertake the Diploma in Probation Studies. This is a two-year, degree level qualification which, alongside academic study, includes working placements and managing a small case load.

Any candidate that applies to join the probation service is tested rigorously and as such will take part in psychometric tests, group discussions, presentations and written tests before they are invited to attend a formal interview. Students need to apply to one of the consortia of probation services and it possible for students to apply to as many of these as they wish if they are previously unsuccessful.

Despite the fact that competition is fierce within the profession, there is a lot of demand for qualified probation officers.

Probation Officers usually work from an office base and make regular visits to either the courts or police stations. They may also visit clients in their homes.

Salary Expectations

The salary of a Trainee Probation Officer varies but is generally in the range of £14,500 to £15,500. Once qualified this will rise to between £20,000 and £27,000.

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