Would you like to become a probation officer? Are you simply curious to find out how much do probation officers make? Regardless which of the two questions you answered yes to, today’s article can help clear some things up for you. Becoming a probation officer means taking on a lot of responsibilities, since your main job is to monitor the activities of offenders who were released on parole. Let’s see if the salary is worth the effort of becoming a probation officer and the responsibility of being one.
What Do Probation Officers Do?
Before we get into the question of how much do probation officers make, we thought it would also be useful to provide you with a brief job description. As we’ve already mentioned at the beginning of the article, probation officers are correctional treatment specialists. They monitor the activities of people who were released on parole. Their job includes preventing former convicts from committing another crime and returning behind bars.
Probation officers are usually responsible for evaluating inmates as well. They have to determine the best course of action for their release, provide offenders with rehabilitation resources, discuss various treatment options, arrange supportive services, conduct meetings with families and friends, and maintain detailed records of the offenders’ progress.
How Much Do Probation Officers Make in 2018?
So, how much do probation officers make? You should know that there are about 103,400 probation officers employed all over the United States at this time. The average probation officer salary is of $49,360 a year, which equates to an average hourly wage of $23.73. The lowest salaries in the profession are of about $32,900 per year, while the highest a probation officer can bring home a year is $86,140. This also means that the minimum hourly wage is of $15.82, while the maximum hourly wage can go up to $41.41.
A probation officer’s salary also depends on where he or she works. For instance, probation officers employed by local governments make around $53,110 on an annual basis. Those that work in residential care facilities earn significantly less. They have an average annual salary of $43,870. The top-paying states for the field are California and New Jersey, where probation officers earn $84,370 and $73,800 respectively. The two states that pay probation officers the lowest sum of money are Georgia and Misssissippi, with $35,200 and $28,940 respectively.
How Is the Work Environment for a Probation Officer?
Almost all probation officers, which is about 97 percent of them, work for local and state governments. They work within correctional facilities and supervise offenders on parole. Other probation officers may find employment in individual or family services, vocational rehabilitation centers, residential care facilities, and psychiatric or substance abuse hospitals. Although probation officers are usually employed full-time, the demands of the job to meet court-imposed deadlines and complete extensive paperwork often leads to them working long overtime hours beyond the standard 40-hour week.
Moreover, if you want to become a probation officer, you also have to be aware of the fact that this particular work environment is not without risks. You’ll be working with people who have been convicted of different crimes, some of which can be extremely serious. Furthermore, you’ll also be responsible for taking care of them. This is something not everyone is able to do. That being said, this job can be extremely satisfying as well. You’ll be helping people get back on their feet and get a second chance at a normal life.
What Is the Job Outlook for Probation Officers?
Since mandatory sentencing guidelines are starting to be reduced, and judges have more flexibility in sentencing offenders deemed to be lower risk, there’s also a noticeable increase in community-based corrections and alternative forms of punishment, including probation. A spike in the number of inmates who will be released from prison within the near future is also expected. This means that these inmates will need someone to monitor them. Therefore, employment for probation officers should be very promising. In fact, it will witness a rapid growth at a rate of 18 percent. This will create 17,100 new jobs before 2020.
We hope today’s brief guide has managed to successfully answer the question “How much do probation officers make?”, as well as provide you with a couple of interesting details about what it’s like to be a probation officer.
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