Skip to content

How to become a Probation Officer

Probation Officer
avg. starting salary

Need a new start? Put yourself on probation… Probation Officers work closely with offenders, monitoring their behaviour and overseeing their rehabilitation back into society. Their work often comes during or after sentencing, but could also include supervising offenders who received probation or community service instead of time in prison. As a result, Probation Officers can often be based outside of prisons and correctional facilities, working everywhere from courts and local offices – right through to visiting clients in their own homes. Typical duties for a Probation Officer could include:
  • Investigating an offender’s background, and legal history
  • Providing in-depth reports to help courts decide on appropriate sentencing
  • Making recommendations on whether prisoners should be released
  • Leading sessions to help offenders come to terms with their crimes and motivate change
  • Conducting regular meetings to assess an individual’s progress, and writing up reports
  • Completing risk assessments to protect against reoffending

It takes more than a keen interest in the criminal justice system and a positive mental attitude to become a Probation Officer. You’ll be dealing with people from all walks of life, many of whom may have tragic stories or might be difficult to handle. Keeping a cool head under pressure, and being able to relate to them on their level, will often be key to your success. Excellent judgement skills and the ability to maintain objectivity at all times are also absolute necessities. Other key skills for a Probation Officer include:
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good decision making
  • Patience and resilience
  • Attention to detail
  • The ability to motivate others


Probation Service Officer

Up to £25,000

Probation Officer

Up to £35,000

Senior Probation Officer

Up to £50,000

"I studied Criminology at university, and always knew I wanted to get into a position where I could help the local community. So I applied for a job with the National Probation Service, and haven’t looked back since. My day-to-day role generally consists of meeting with offenders to assess their situation and current level of risk upon release, which mainly sees me working in my local prison - although I do get out to court hearings and visit recently discharged prisoners from time to time. It can be pretty stressful, and some cases are more challenging than others. But if I’ve helped even one offender and motivated them to stay on the straight and narrow, then it’s all been worth it."

Get qualified

All Probation Officer jobs