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As a career, becoming a probation worker has rewards beyond the salary, terms and conditions.

Supervising people who are serving community and prison sentences, and helping them to stay away from a life of crime, offers an immense amount of satisfaction.

Diverse tasks and locations

The tasks are diverse and extensive. As a Probation Officer, you will work closely with offenders, monitoring their behaviour and overseeing their rehabilitation back into society.

You will be required to interview offenders before sentencing or parole; ensure offenders attend supervision appointments; run group programmes to change offender behaviour; assess risks; and write reports in support of the decision-making process in courts, prisons and parole review boards.

The job involves working in different locations such as courts, prisons, in community settings, even visiting clients in their own homes, or Approved Premises and also liaising with the police, social services and youth offending teams.

Qualifications and skills

Probation workers need a wide and robust set of professional and personal skills that range from report writing to good communication and organisational skills, the ability to work with others from various agencies and disciplines, and cope with stressful situations when working with offenders.

With a salary range of £22,000 to £40,000 for an average 37-hour week, entrants need a level 5 qualification (foundation degree, degree or higher apprenticeship) and experience of working with people who have challenging behaviour, as well as knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system, crime and criminal behaviour, penal policy, and punishment of offenders

Take the PSO route

One option is to start as a probation services officer (PSO) – salary range £22-27,000 - and then pass the in-house vocational level 3 Diploma in Probation Practice (or equivalent); get relevant experience and work up to completing a level 5 study programme.

As a PSO, you will need similar skills and do similar work to that of a qualified probation officer but will be responsible for supervising only medium and low risk offenders.

Career development

Whether you join the service as a Probation Officer or a PSO and work you way up from there, the profession offers opportunities for career development. That may see you become a senior probation officer and start to specialise and work with particular groups such as sexual offenders or move into management.

Higher promotion that may lead to a broader management role will see you work in positions that are not directly related to working with offenders.

If you’re interested in learning more about working as a probation officer, why not take a look at some of the latest probation officer jobs. Alternatively, if you have a questions, our trained consultants are always happy to take your call.
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