Deputy Probation Officer: Job Description and Career Advancement Info

Oct 20, 2021

An associate's degree in criminal justice or a related subject area is the minimum educational requirement for an entry-level position as a deputy probation officer. With a bachelor's and master's degree it's possible to advance to more senior positions. Deputy probation officers must also complete a training program once hired.

Essential Information

A deputy probation officer designs and enforces rehabilitation plans for criminal offenders. They are officers of the court, and they report to the court about the offender's progress with their plan. Some states identify them as peace officers. An associate's or bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field is often required, and advancement to senior positions may call for a master's degree. Deputy probation officers also must complete a training program after they are hired.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree at minimum; master's degree may be needed for advancement
Other Requirements Training program required after hiring
Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)* 4% for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
Median Salary (2020)* $55,690 for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Description of Deputy Probation Officers

A deputy probation officer oversees a criminal offender's rehabilitation. Some work with adults, some with juveniles and some with both. They can work for a state or federal court system, usually in the Department of Probation. They work for the court that has jurisdiction over the criminal case, and are not employed by the sheriff or police departments. However, they may work with sheriff or police officers.

Deputy probation officers investigate offenders' backgrounds, including family histories and criminal records. They also design treatment plans and write detailed reports for the court. In these treatment plans, the officer makes recommendations regarding the offender's supervision and living situation. Deputy probation officers also counsel and supervise the offenders to whom they are assigned.

Some states define these officers as peace officers. In these states, deputy probation officers are required to be a licensed peace officer, which usually requires either an associate's or bachelor's degree and completion of a training program.

In most cases, there are several levels of deputy probation officers, such as level I, level II and level III. Level I usually includes entry-level positions in which the officer has six months or less experience. Levels II and III often include officers with 1-3 years of experience. Sometimes, these levels may be referred to as senior or supervisory.

Career Advancement Information

Advancing in a career as a deputy probation officer usually requires moving up the ladder to level II or to a senior position requires at least one year of experience in the field, and advancing to a level III or supervisory position usually requires about three years of experience. In some places, advancement may depend upon having a graduate degree in criminal justice or a similar subject.

Advancement also depends upon performance and qualification for the higher level. Each state has different rules regarding qualifications, but they may require candidates to be a certain age, have a particular amount of experience and possess a specific level of education. They may also need to be a licensed peace or probation officer for that state.

Salary data for probation officers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) determined that their mean income for 2020 was $61,900. The employment projection for the 2019 to 2029 period showed an anticipated average increase in jobs for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, per BLS reports.

Deputy probation officers work for federal or state courts, and help convicted criminals reintegrate into society. Some of their tasks include investigating the offender's background and recommending living arrangements and the level of supervision needed when the person is released. They counsel these individuals to help them adjust when they leave prison.

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