Individuals interested in becoming probation officers can pursue associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice, where they will gain practical knowledge of the court and justice system. These programs can be found at colleges and universities around the country.
10 Schools with Probation Officer Programs
The following schools offer criminal justice programs that provide relevant training for aspiring probation officers:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Arizona State University||Phoenix, AZ||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state: $10,158
|Miami Dade College||Miami, FL||4-year, Public||Associate's, Bachelor's||In-state: $2,834
|Ohio State University||Columbus, OH||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state: $10,037
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state:$ 6,381
|University of Minnesota-Twin Cities||Minneapolis, MN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||In-state: $13,790
|University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state: $6,368
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state: $13,560
|Pennsylvania State University||University Park, PA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state: $17,514
|Indiana University-Bloomington||Bloomington, IN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state: $10,388
|College of Southern Nevada||Las Vegas, NV||4-year, Public||Associate's||In-state: $2,805
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
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School Selection Criteria
Here are some things to take into account when choosing a school:
- While most jobs require a bachelor's degree, individuals with a master's degree can advance higher in their field. Therefore, it is important to assess one's career goals when choosing a degree program.
- Students should make sure that the program meets the basic educational requirements required by their state or jurisdiction.
- For students with work obligations or other scheduling constraints, it makes sense to consider programs that are delivered in online formats.
- Students should explore specialization options offered within the program to find out if one of them is particularly relevant for aspiring probation officers; for instance, some schools allow students to pursue a formal concentration in corrections.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in criminal justice provide a basic introduction to criminal justice and the legal system. They also include general education coursework. Many programs in this field are available online. In total, they require two years of full-time study to complete.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
In Bachelor of Science (BS) programs in criminal justice, students get the same general overview as the one provided in associate's degree programs, but they also have the chance to take more advanced electives in the social sciences. Students may also be able to pursue a concentration in a particular subfield, such as corrections, criminology or police administration. There are many schools that offer these programs in online or distance learning formats.
Master's Degree Programs
At the graduate level, students can earn a Master of Arts (MA) or a professional Master of Criminal Justice degree. These programs are designed specifically to prepare students for upper-level positions in the field, and they give students the opportunity to take more advanced courses in justice-related topics, such as victimization, criminality, organizational behavior and policy analysis. Students who choose full-time study may be able to complete a program in as few as 18 months, but there are also part-time study options available for working professionals.
Criminal justice programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Individuals interested in becoming probation officers should consider their career goals and the program's specialization options when choosing between programs.