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Corrections, probation, and parole jobs are an important part of our legal system. If you have an interest in supporting people who have fallen foul of the law, and the right sort of fair-but-firm personality, then this is a career area for you to consider.

We rightly expect our laws to help protect us. Part of that process is providing the means of punishing wrongdoers by imprisonment. Not all offences merit an immediate jail sentence, however, and offenders may be placed on probation instead. As a probation officer you would be responsible for ensuring that the offender adhered to the terms of their probation. You could also help them with finding work, undertaking training or education, and with personal problems. Probation officers generally work with either adults, or juveniles. Parole officers perform very similar duties to probation officers, but for prisoners who have been released from jail on parole. Sometimes the roles of probation and parole officer are combined. Correctional treatment specialists evaluate and report on the progress of prison inmates.

If you wish to pursue a career in corrections, probation, and parole you will find that employers expect you to have a bachelor’s degree. You have some choice in the program you select, but a degree in criminal justice, social work, or a similar field, should be ideal. If you are ambitious to advance in your career, a master’s degree will help you gain promotion to more senior positions.

Publish date: February 10, 2011