Parole Officer Careers

If you'd like to learn how to become a parole officer, you've come to the right place. We've gathered the qualifications and requirements, job duties, salary information, and education programs you'll need, as well as advice that may help you on your way to a parole officer career.

Parole Officer Requirements and Qualifications

1) To enter the field as a parole officer, you must earn a bachelor degree. Commonly held degrees for parole officers include criminal justice, corrections, social work, psychology, counseling, sociology, business administration and related degrees. Federal parole officers are often required to have at least one year of graduate work in counseling, psychology, social work or a related field.

2) Minimum Parole Officer Requirements: Most state and county parole jobs require you to be at least 20 years old and hold a bachelor degree. Federal jobs require at least a year of graduate degree work, but you must also have a valid state driver's license, complete courses and certifications as required by state, county and federal regulations. You'll also be required to have a license to carry a firearm in your state, pass a background investigation and drug screening, and pass a psychological exam. Some states require at least two years of work experience in a corrections or counseling that has given you experience counseling and providing solutions to educational, occupational, personal or social problems.

3) Once you have met the minimum requirements, contact the department or agency for which you want to enter as a parole officer to request an application and exam material.

Parole Officer Job Duties

Parole Officers and Probation Officers are often talked about in the same breath, but they aren't identical jobs. Parole officers work with individuals who have been released from state or federal prison prior to their actual sentence release date. This release is conditional and can be revoked for any number of infractions. A parole officer helps parolees adjust back into society and avoid any actions that would jeopardize their parole status. Parole officers accomplish this by developing a plan for the parolee before he or she is released from prison. These plans consist of employment, housing, health care, education, drug screening and other activities that help parolees' rehabilitation, and help them function in society.

Parole officers attend parole hearings and make recommendations based on their interviews and surveillance of parolees. The work load is heavy; on average a parole office carries 70 to 130 active cases. This line of work can be dangerous, as parole officers work with paroled convicts, their friends and families. This is why parole officers are required to carry firearms. A parole officer is most often employed by their state department of corrections, state criminal justice department, a youth authority/juvenile corrections, county or federal justice department.

Parole Officer Salary

Parole officer salaries vary depending on experience and education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual probation and correctional treatment specialist salary in the U.S. was $48,190. The job outlook for parole officers looks solid. The BLS states that job growth will have little or no change, resting at -1 percent through 2022.

Now that you know about parole officer careers and how much you can make, find the education you'll need at one of the schools below.

Online Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts - Social and Criminal Justice - Corrections Management (Online)

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Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
Earning a degree may not qualify you for specialized careers that require more education or experience in the field.