How do I Become a Federal Probation Officer?

Laura M. Sands
Laura M. Sands
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

To become a federal probation officer, you first need to earn a four-year degree from an accredited college. Most who are interested in probation officer jobs major in criminal justice, social work or an associated area of study. Some probation employers also require a certain level of experience and may even require a higher degree. Upon completing college, an individual must apply for a job with the federal probation service and undergo specialized training before being allowed to work in the field.

Upon first applying to a probation officer training program, you must be over the age of 21 years and under the age of 37 years. You are required to undergo rigorous physical training and examination, so it is important to be in good physical shape if you intend to become a federal probation officer. Other training will include face-to-face interviews, oral examinations and written examinations. Also, a thorough background check will be conducted, as well as an intense psychological examination to assess your mental and emotional health.

Individuals with felony convictions are never considered for any type of law enforcement job. You must also have a valid driver’s license at the time you apply to become a federal probation officer. If hired, throughout your entire career in probation, you may not be convicted of a felony and your driver’s license must remain current and active.

In order to become a federal probation officer, you should also have a variety of natural skills and abilities. A few of these include good communication skills, strong leadership skills, an ability to interact professionally with a range of different personality types, and strong reading and writing skills. Being able to multitask and learn new skills is also a plus.

Other qualifications may differ depending on the jurisdiction where you are applying to become a federal probation officer. In some places, federal officers assigned to supervise criminals upon release from prison are referred to as parole officers, while officers working in other governmental branches, such as county officers, are referred to as probation officers. Before applying, be sure to investigate the options in your area and thoroughly research any additional qualifications unique to your local jurisdiction.

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      Businessman with a briefcase