How to Become a Parole Officer

How to Become a Parole Officer

A parole officer may be the right job for you if you are tough but passionate about helping others. You help those recently released from prison or sentenced to parole stay on the right track in order to better themselves. In this article we will talk about the career of a parole officer, including looking at educational requirements, what some of your duties may look like, your salary and career outlook in the next decade or so, and much more. If you have ever considered becoming a parole officer, read on. 


In order to be a parole officer, you much earn your high school diploma. You must then enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in corrections, criminal justice, psychology, or social work and complete that degree program.* This is only for state parole officers. Federal parole officers will have to earn a master’s degree in one or more of these same fields. Also expect some on-the-job training as part of your education, as well as a series of tests dealing with your mental and physical health. Since this is a strenuous job, you must be strong in both mind and body.

Duties & Work Environment

A parole officer must work closely with law enforcement authorities as well as former or current inmates. Expect to be in the courthouse, or local jails and prisons often. You will have to create plans for each parolee assigned to you to help them become productive citizens within the community again and get used to normal life. You may also be responsible for checking-in with your parolees on a regular basis, checking with their employers, families, or others, and reporting any parole violations to the authorities. Do not be surprised when or if a few of your parolees end-up back in the system, or if you are expected to travel often.

Salary & Career Outlook*                                                                             

The outlook for the growth of this job in the next decade is about as fast as average growth in other fields, but the growth is expected to pick-up in the next few years. However, because this job is dangerous, the salary is relatively high. On average, experienced parole officers earn about $22.69 per hour, for around $47,200 per year. Only 93,200 of these jobs existed in the US in 2010.


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