Probation Officer School and College Program Options

Probation officers are generally required to have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, social work or psychology. Learn about common courses in this bachelor's degree, as well as continuing education opportunities, salary expectations, and job growth.

Essential Information

Probation officer coursework combines technical and legal concepts with psychology, social science and public safety themes. A criminal justice program teaches students about judicial, corrections and security systems.

In order to pursue a bachelor's degree in a related field, prospective students must merely possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Other program requirements may include an internship, certification exam, and state-sponsored training.

Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice

Courses teach students to work with incarcerated populations, recently released criminals and other correctional professionals. Typical courses include:

  • Justice system processes and public law
  • Criminology
  • Corrections processes and facilities
  • Security and police administration
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Criminal investigation

Employment Outlook and Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that opportunities for probation officers are expected to increase by 4% from 2014 through 2024. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned a median annual salary of $52,910 in May 2015. The majority of opportunities for probation officers are with local and state government agencies.

Continuing Education Information

In addition to a bachelor's degree, probation officers are usually required to complete training programs sponsored by state or federal government agencies. In most cases probation officers must pass a comprehensive test after completing a training program. Requirements vary by state and employer.

After successfully completing a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, social work, or psychology, students will enter a job field growing at a rate of 4% over the next decade and will see continuing education opportunities in the form of state-sponsored training programs.

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