Find schools that offer these popular programs
Online Courses for Probation Officers
Here are some of the most common criminal justice courses that can be found online.
- Criminal Justice Class: In this introductory course, students study the history and creation of the criminal justice system and the role it plays in today's society. Students learn about career options and further education in the criminal justice field. Some common terminology and laws are covered.
- Probation and Parole Class: Students learn how probation and parole works with prisoners, juveniles, the courts and in the often-biased world that offenders live in. Also discussed is the importance of home visits in establishing a working relationship with an offender. This advanced-level course is very important for aspiring probation officers.
- Working with Juveniles Class: This course investigates the nature of juvenile delinquency in the context of community. Students learn about the environments and commonalities of juvenile delinquents and gain an understanding of juvenile courts, laws, probation and possible prevention techniques. This course can be taken anytime during the middle to the end of a program.
- Criminal Procedures Class: Students learn about the rights and laws that surround victims, alleged criminals and law enforcement. Course topics include evidence collection, identifications, arrests, warrants, searches, frisking and the plain view doctrine. This course can be taken anytime during a program and is important for those who wish to work in law enforcement or the criminal justice professions.
- Victimology Class: A class in victimology, or working with victims of crimes, can be taken anytime during a program after introductory classes are completed. This course is useful to prospective probation officers, who often interact with crime victims as well as offenders. The curriculum focuses on communication skills and the way in which victims play a role in the prosecution of offenders.
- Research Methods in Criminal Justice Class: Students learn the basic procedures for social science research including how to design, conduct and interpret research studies. Ethical research procedures and methods are also explored.
- Ethics in Criminal Justice Class: This course provides an overview of the field of ethics as it relates to the criminal justice system. Aspiring probation officers learn how to apply ethical principles to the decisions they will be faced with in their future careers.
- Criminal Psychology Class: This course exposes students to the psychological methods that are used to understand criminal behavior. Students also study how various external factors affect criminal behavior. Understanding criminal psychology can help probation officers interact with individuals who have committed a variety of different crimes.
Aspiring probation officers typically take criminal justice, psychology and social work courses. Many universities offer completely online criminal justice degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. Students can often select different areas of focus within a criminal justice program, such as corrections, social services, law enforcement or military law.
Relevant courses for future probation officers cover key aspects of the judicial system. Introductory courses are offered at the undergraduate level, but there are also programs that provide more advanced coursework at the graduate level.