What is a Probation Officer?

Probation Officer Practice Test

What is a Probation Officer?

While many people perceive probation officers as mere supervisors of prisoners, their position in the judicial system is considerably broader and more complicated. A probation officer is one who deals with and tracks prisoners in order to stop them from undertaking criminal acts. They carry out anything the court orders to them, the most common is the supervision of the defendant and the review of the offender’s personal and criminal background prior to the sentencing.

Many probation officers do not participate only when a probation sentence has been issued but may provide information to prosecutors, judges, and court officials long before the trial start. In several states, probation officers also take up the role of a parole officer, who oversees the re-entry of ex-convicts into the community.

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Getting Started with The Probation Officer Exam

What does a probation officer do?

A probation officer’s job description typically includes their roles and responsibilities, which range from managing multiple cases to overseeing probationers’ adherence to their probation terms. They assist offenders in carrying out their probation by implementing different supervision methods and providing additional resources as may be necessary. They function as a liaison between judges and offenders, monitor the progress of probationers, and make recommendations.

What are the duties of a probation officer?

Probation officers duties typically include the following:

  • Evaluate criminals in order to decide the correct treatment plan
  • Provide criminals with resources to help with recovery
  • Discuss options for treatment with criminals
  • Arrange programs for rehabilitation
  • Supervise and monitor the progress of offenders
  • Perform meetings with criminals, their friends, and family
  • Write documentation on the progress of criminals
  • Investigate the offender’s background for the court


Probation officers deal with prisoners who have been granted probation rather than time in prison, who are in custody, or who were released from jail. Below are the types of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists:

1. Probation Officers (also called Community Supervision Officers in some areas) – Oversee all people who have been put on probation. They seek to ensure that the person is not a danger to the public and to assist with their recovery. They write papers describing each perpetrator’s treatment plans and development since they have been placed on probation.

2. Pre-trial Services Officers – Examine the offender’s history to assess whether the offender can safely return to the public before his or her trial date. They will consider the risk and make recommendations to the judge who rules on the appropriate number of the fine or bond. Once prisoners are released back into society, pre-trial officers oversee them to ensure that they remain on probation terms and participate in their trials.

3. Parole Officers – Deal with people who were released from prison and are performing their probation to help them re-enter the community. They track and provide diversified services for post-release inmates, such as substance abuse counseling or job training, to aid with their recovery. Thus, the officers attempt to change the actions of the criminal and therefore reduce the likelihood of the offender committing another offense and having to go back to prison or jail.

4. Correctional Treatment Specialists (also known as Case Managers or Correctional Counselors) – Counsel and create recovery programs for prisoners to pursue when they’re no longer in jail or on parole. Detainees may be tested using questionnaires and psychological evaluations. They also collaborate with offenders, probation officers, and representatives of other agencies to establish parole and release programs. For example, they may develop education and Probation Officer training programs to enhance the job skills of inmates.

The number of incidents the probation officer is dealing with at a varies depending on the needs of the defendant and the risks involved with each incident. Higher risk criminals typically have more time and resources. The size of the caseload often varies by department.

What are the requirements to become a probation officer?

What Probation Officer degree needed? You will need a 4-year bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology, or related fields to become a probation officer. Most probation officers have a master’s degree in criminal justice. Aside from their training, federal officials should also have at least two years of experience working.

Aside from the requirements mentioned above, aspiring parole officers also have to meet the following probation officer requirements. How to be Parole officer? Here are the Parole Officer qualifications:

  • Must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Must be less than 37 years old at the time of application.
  • Must have a college degree and appropriate training.
  • Must have a good moral character.
  • Must pass written tests, endurance exams, and other ability tests.

Probation Officer Test Format and Structure

The probation officer test consists of multiple-choice questions. There are two forms of taking the test: paper and pencil or electronic. Each organization shall decide the method used.

In the paper and pencil format, the exam is included in a single test booklet and the corresponding answer pad. You must answer all the examination questions on the answer sheet, not in the test booklet. Normally, testing will be conducted in group settings.

For the electronic version, you will be prompted through the test steps on the computer and record your answers as prompted.

The total test time for either paper and pencil or electronic form will be roughly 2-2 ½ hours. Most applicants have sufficient time to finish all the test items.

       Test Section                              DescriptionNo. of QuestionsEstimated Duration
Following Written DirectionsApply a set of standards to assess the correct course of action or solution.2215 minutes
Problem SolvingAssess a set of facts and create logical conclusions. Following the set of facts, a set of assumptions is provided, each of which is to be tested and presumed to be true, false, or indeterminable, solely based on the preceding set of facts.1210 minutes
Reading ComprehensionRead the passage and respond to questions that may include the identification of facts and details, the analysis of knowledge, or the making of conclusions.1715 minutes
Writing ClarityRecognize and use simple writing, preventing issues with writing that lead to vague or incorrect communication.1310 minutes
Writing DetailAssess written material and decide whether it provides a useful, detailed explanation of people or events.1610 minutes
Accuracy with Forms and Coded InformationPart A: Verify the accuracy of the data encoded in the documentation forms opposed to the written summary; and Part B: Compare the encoded information to a brief list of information and decide whether the encoded information fits any of the items on that list.

Part A:

10

Part B:

11

Part A:

5 minutes

Part B:

3 minutes

Work AttitudesThis portion of the test includes a variety of test items designed to test attitudes regarding job-related circumstances and actions, representing qualities such as conscientiousness, confidence, managing work pressure, interacting with others, and integrity/trustworthiness.12530 minutes

Note: The Work Attitudes portion of the test must not be mistaken with a psychological test that evaluates the degree of your mental health. The Probation Officer Test is not a test of your mental well-being and must not be interpreted as such.

Probation Officer Classes and Courses

The following are some of the most popular criminal justice courses and free online training for Probation officers.

  1. Criminal Justice Class
  2. Probation and Parole Class
  3. Working with Juveniles Class
  4. Criminal Procedures Class
  5. Victimology Class
  6. Research Methods in Criminal Justice Class
  7. Ethics in Criminal Justice Class
  8. Criminal Psychology Class

Probation Officer FAQ

The average probation officer salary in the United States is around $53,020 per year. Probation Officer wage rates usually start at $34,630 and go up to $81,176.

The following are the steps to becoming a probation officer. Here’s how to become a probation officer:

  • Step 1. Meet the minimum requirements.
  • Step 2. Get a degree.
  • Step 3. Apply for a position.
  • Step 4. Complete in-service training.
  • Step 5. Get sworn in.

Avoiding particular individuals and locations; not traveling out of state without your probation officer’s approval; obeying all rules, even small ones like jaywalking; refraining from illegal drug or excessive alcohol use.

While many people perceive probation officers as mere supervisors of prisoners, their position in the judicial system is considerably broader and more complicated. A probation officer is one who deals with and tracks prisoners in order to stop them from undertaking criminal acts. They carry out anything the court orders to them, the most common is the supervision of the defendant and the review of the offender’s personal and criminal background prior to the sentencing.

A probation officer’s job description typically includes their roles and responsibilities, which range from managing multiple cases to overseeing probationers’ adherence to their probation terms. They assist offenders in carrying out their probation by implementing different supervision methods and providing additional resources as may be necessary. They function as a liaison between judges and offenders, monitor the progress of probationers, and make recommendations.

The name of a person’s probation officer is public information in most states, and anyone can look it up. A simple online search and phone call will generally yield the information you need. The job of the probation officer is to assist persons in completing their probation without breaching any restrictions. If you have concerns about a person’s well-being or believe they are breaking the terms of their probation, you should communicate with the probation officer.

In the majority of cases, the probation officer does not provide any advance notification of the test. It frequently occurs at random. However, in rare situations, the individual may be given a few hours to prepare before the test.

Regardless of your position, keep in mind that marijuana use and possession is illegal in all but 11 states. If you’re in one of the other 39 states and feel like sparking up, keep in mind that you could end yourself in jail, and if you’re on probation, you could end up in jail again. So, in the end, if you want to pass a probation drug test, simply don’t do drugs.

Probation officers are not allowed to have guns.

  • You voluntarily and spontaneously inform your probation officer about new charges.
  • If your probation officer asks about you, you should tell him.
  • Your probation officer will call you or invite you to come down to her office on a frequent basis.
  • They are informed by technology.
  • If you are on probation in a specific city or state and are arrested/charged in the same court/jurisdiction as before, your probation officer will very certainly receive an alert.
  • Searches on a regular basis
  • When you have a defendant’s entire name and date of birth, searching databases is simple (and social security number).
  • People interact with one another.
  • The law enforcement community is quite small.
  • You may not realize it, but police officers (and prosecutors) frequently discuss their cases with one another.

It could take 3 to 5 working days for your probation officer to receive your drug test results. It can possibly last up to a week in some situations.

The following are the Juvenile Probation Officer requirements:

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice or a comparable discipline is required.
  • Submit an application for a position as a juvenile probation officer.
  • Attend an interview for the job.
  • Pass a drug test as well as a criminal background check.
  • Obtain employment as a probation officer for juveniles.
  • Pass a certification exam after completing a state-approved training program.
  • Train for up to a year before becoming a permanent employee.

Only the parole board has the authority to lift a blue warrant and reinstate parole. If he pleads guilty, he will be sent back to prison for violating his parole. The blue warrant cannot be removed by the PO.

In order to work as a probation officer in California, you must have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, psychology, social work, or a similar discipline from a recognized institution or university. To fulfill regular deadlines for reports and engage with offenders, who can be emotional, manipulative, and threatening, probation officers need have strong interpersonal and writing abilities.

Your probation officer can search your home without a warrant in most situations. They can also search other items in your possession, such as your car or electronic gadgets. This power is not delegated to other officials.

The requisite bachelor’s degree takes about four years to complete, plus an extra four to eight weeks of field training.

Even with numerous years of experience, the typical pay range for a Juvenile Probation Officer varies little (about $2.64), implying that there are few prospects for greater compensation or advancement regardless of region.

Harassment is defined as any sexual advances made by probation officers toward probationers. This can include both verbal and physical sexual advances, and it’s a good reason to get a new probation officer.

Yes, the probation officer has the authority to have you arrested for violating probation requirements if there is probable cause.

No. Probation is mostly a Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work with regular holidays. Evening reporting is possible, but it is usually limited to one night each week.

Probation Officers in the United States earn an average hourly wage of $15.64 per hour as of December 31, 2021.

In California, a probation officer’s average annual compensation is roughly $89,210.

Anyone interested in learning how to become a probation officer in Texas should familiarize themselves with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s eligibility standards. No one who volunteers, works, or is employed as a peace officer, for example, is eligible to be a probation officer. Furthermore, no one on community service, parole, or who is currently serving a court sentence is eligible for work

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, or a similar discipline is required. A competency exam will be required of you. A valid driver’s license is required. Officers are normally at least 21 years old, while there are no formal age requirements.

General Hours of Operation for the Adult Probation and Parole Department 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. Adult Probation and Parole is a division of the Department of Probation and Parole. Closed on significant holidays and/or when instructed by the President Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court of Common Pleas is the highest court in the state.

If this is the first time you’ve broken your probation, your probation officer may issue you a warning. If the infraction was not as significant, the officer may seek to keep the judge from having a larger caseload. If you continue to breach probation, the officer may issue a warning about the possible repercussions.

Under the Fourth Amendment, you have a right to privacy when it comes to the information on your phone. However, most states and federal law enable probation officers to inspect their cell phones. There are also other ways for probation officials to learn about your activities, such as through looking at your social media.

You must reside in a location that has been approved by the Probation Officer. If you plan to change your living circumstances (for example, who you reside with), you must notify the Probation Officer at least 10 days in advance.

Your probation officer can only put you on non-reporting probation once you have met all of your probation requirements; a judge must terminate your probation. You have the option of asking the court to end your probation early. However, you will require the assistance of an attorney in this matter.

Officers can assume she has access to the entire premises, and if she has granted them authorization (for example, as part of her probation), they can search the entire premises. They are not required to believe that a resident of your home has just gone inside the children’s bathroom, hall closet, and her own room.

A probation officer’s role is to ensure that you are abiding by your probation’s terms and conditions. He or she is essentially the court’s watchdog, and is in charge of keeping an eye on you while you’re on probation.

If a probationer commits a violation, the probation officer has 30 days to violate the probationer. If a probationer is being kept in jail or a place of correction for a probation violation, the court will order a hearing within 30 days of their initial incarceration.

  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • You must be 19 years old.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required.
  • Have a current driver’s license.
  • There have been no felony convictions and no perjury-related misdemeanor convictions.

Even if you are not home for a few of the unannounced visits, you should be alright. You’ll almost certainly be for some of them. You may have a problem if the probation officer begins making unannounced visits in the double digits and you are never present. It’s a reasonable question, and you should discuss it with your probation officer.

Probation officers must have a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline. They are doing everything they can to help clients. These officers must also be able to: learn how the criminal justice system works and what the best practices are techniques to assist their customers in successfully reentering society

A probation officer is a law enforcement officer who oversees criminals who have been released from prison but remain under the criminal justice system’s authority. POs work at all levels of government, including local, county, and state, and have legal and sociological expertise in rehabilitation as well as arrest and detention capabilities

The probation officer may be able to release the hold once the judge issues the order; the exact method varies on the parish.

Always expect that police enforcement will have access to your Facebook (or other social media) accounts. If you’re on probation, you’ve probably consented to let a probation officer examine your person, home, or personal property without a warrant. As a result, they may have unrestricted access to social media sites.

A probation officer may visit you at any time and on any day. Because they are always busy, they will usually let you know when they will arrive. They usually inquire if your boss is aware that you are on probation.

This could be found on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. You can do a reverse email look-up after you’ve found the email address.

In Indiana, the average annual compensation for a probation officer is $44,292. There were 24 salaries reported as of December 14, 2021.

The probation officer’s decision is based on the conditions of your probation. You’ll probably have to meet on a frequent basis, perhaps weekly or monthly.

A bachelor’s degree is required. When applying for any level of probation officer position, a bachelor’s degree is required. Worker (which includes an entry-level officer), manager, and supervisor are the three levels of probation officers in Tennessee. Although bachelor’s degrees in psychology, criminal justice, social work, or law are not required for Tennessee probation posts, they are advantageous. Acquire the required work experience.

To work as a probation officer, you must pass a background check that shows you have never been in prison, a police vetting check, and a pre-employment drug test.

It is neither fair or proper to prolong the connection if the probation officer is shown to be prejudiced toward the probationer. There could be legal ramifications for the agency. This is also considered a good reason to switch probation officials.

Yes, they are able to and do so. This is done to confirm employment (to show the court that you are working and not just pretending to be).

Your probation officer has the authority to test you at home, at work, or at any other location where he or she has contact with you.

EMIT method urinalysis is the most prevalent drug test done by probation officers. Basically, they look for drug metabolites. They are far less expensive than previous methods, but they are still extremely accurate.

You are not required to answer the door if a PO makes an unscheduled house visit. You will be violated for not answering if they know you are there (can see or hear you). If a PO pays you a SCHEDULED house visit, you must be present and let them in.

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, The typical probation, parole, and juvenile probation officer pay in Texas is $39,750, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It is debatable. The frequency with which you must report to your probation officer is determined by your probation officer’s unique “supervision plan.” Some supervision plans call for weekly meetings and even more frequent phone contact, while others call only once or twice a month.

The following are the basic requirements for a career as a juvenile probation officer in Virginia:

  • Knowing how the criminal justice system works is essential.
  • Proceedings in the courtroom
  • Understanding and applying regulations, statutes, and guidelines
  • Having interviewing and counseling experience
  • Identifying and utilizing community resources and other agencies
  • Being ability to communicate with people from various socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Being able to properly communicate both orally and in writing
  • Having data entry and word processing experience
  • Possessing a valid Virginia driver’s license at the time of employment

The following basic requirements must be met by applicants for the position of Alabama Probation/Parole:

  • Possess a current driver’s license
  • Have a four-year degree in criminal justice or a related field from an accredited college or university. Students may apply during their final semester, but they must graduate in order to be hired.
  • You must be willing to work odd hours.
  • Must not have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving the use of force, violence, or immorality.
  • Must fill out a “Probation and Parole Officer Willingness Questionnaire,” which includes “yes or no” questions such as “Are you willing to work with HIV-positive people?”
  • “It is recommended that anyone who cannot respond “yes” to all 24 questions reconsider their application.

Those interested in learning how to become a probation officer in Arizona must meet the following requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree is required. Degrees in criminal justice, social work, or psychology, while not required, are a distinct advantage.
  • Spanish is a useful skill to have. Over 30% of Arizona’s population is Hispanic or Latino, according to the 2011 census, and this number is growing.
  • A valid Arizona driver’s license is required.
  • Basic understanding of the criminal justice system and the services provided by probation.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • Ability to conduct client interviews and provide advice.
  • Possess the ability to create and maintain complex reports and records.
  • Capable of working alone in a faraway location (some counties).
  • Ability to establish friendly ties with schools, other government agencies, and the general public.

Candidates for the position of Probation/Parole Officer must meet the following requirements:

  • To be a US citizen, you must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Pass the psychological examination.
  • Pass the drug test.
  • A background check must be passed.
  • Pass the Criminal Justice certification exam.
  • Pass a physical exam and be physically capable of performing the job’s basic functions.

While a bachelor’s degree or 60 college credits and two years of work experience in a professional social work setting are not required, well-qualified candidates looking into how to become probation and parole agents in Wisconsin are expected to have a bachelor’s degree or 60 college credits and two years of work experience in a professional social work setting. Bilingual abilities are also advantageous.

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, or a similar discipline is required. A competency exam will be required of you. A valid driver’s license is required. Officers are normally at least 21 years old, while there are no formal age requirements.

It all depends on where you reside and how long you’ve been convicted of a crime. If you have a history of hard drug usage, for example, you are far more likely to be subjected to a more thorough drug test.

The conventional ten-panel drugs test, which uses a urine sample to detect any illegal or abusive substances in your system, is usually administered by probation officers.

The EtG test detects the presence of alcohol in urine. Ethyl Glucuronide is a metabolite that is formed as a result of consuming alcohol. Courts and probation departments utilize it to see if a person is on the right track. People are consuming alcohol.

A probation officer cannot have a felony conviction because it bans him from carrying a weapon or associating with the convicts he supervises. Probation officers, also known as community supervision officers, oversee people who have been sentenced to probation after being convicted of a crime.

Without a warrant or Court Order, a probation officer (or any other law enforcement official) could not trace your phone. In some situations, a probationer may be subject to one or more particular probation requirements that are connected to the defendant’s individual case.

A warrant is not required for probation personnel to examine a probationer’s or parolee’s home, and the police cannot utilize the probation department to circumvent the warrant requirement and conduct a warrantless search.

Unless you’ve been sent to the Initial Appearance (IA) court. However, there may be times when officers are required to work on a holiday in order to keep up with their caseloads.

Probation officers require risk assessment tools like RNAs to help them manage their caseloads. They provide crucial information in the endeavour to determine the likelihood of criminal recidivism and assign the proper level of monitoring.

  • Go to university. Attending university and earning a higher national diploma or foundation degree in a field linked to criminal justice and rehabilitation is one method to become a probation officer.
  • Complete a training program.
  • Prepare for the part.
  • Directly apply.

In California, the average annual compensation for a probation officer is roughly $89,210.

The average annual income for a Probation Officer in Colorado is $28,678 as of December 27, 2021.

In Georgia, the average annual compensation for a probation officer is $28,493.

In New York, NY, the average compensation for a probation officer is $54,408 per year. Higher by 24% than the national average

A bachelor’s degree or higher in a behavioral or social science discipline is required of all applicants looking into what it takes to become a probation and parole officer in Washington, DC. Other degree holders who have completed at least 24 semester or 36 quarter hours in behavioral or social sciences may apply. In rare situations, work experience in the social or behavioral sciences can be substituted. Experience working in a clinical or social work context is also advantageous.

The best option to get a new assigned probation officer is to have a criminal defense counsel write the probation department in a lengthy letter outlining the issues you’re having with the current officer and requesting a new probation officer for your case. If that motion is denied, the criminal defense attorney can file a petition in the county and state where your criminal case was heard, asking for a new probation officer.

A probation officer assistant assists the federal court system with a variety of administrative tasks. As a probation officer assistant, you’ll work closely with a deputy officer to ensure that convicted criminals on probation follow the law. Helping probation officers investigate cases by gathering information or preparing reports, entering data into computers, and supervising low-risk offenders are all possible work responsibilities.

The work done under a Probation Order focuses on helping clients understand the triggers and patterns that lead to their offending, inspiring them to create objectives for themselves, addressing their risk, and recognizing their need to change.

Home visits may be used by probation officers to relieve certain defendants of the obligation or burden of reporting to a probation office, particularly if the defendant lacks transportation, is physically disabled, lives in a remote area, is responsible for small children, or otherwise finds it difficult to travel to a probation office.

Yes, simply call the police and inform him or her that you are a “friend” of the individual on probation and that you advise a drug test or a check of the home.

No, they don’t usually physically check AA meetings, although in some situations they may need you to sign a document to prove your presence.

Probation Officer Test Prep and Test-Taking Techniques

Only individuals who passed the Probation Officer Test will be deemed eligible, which means that a 70 percent pass mark is required. To achieve this, one actually needs to train and practice in whatever way they can. Preparation can include any of the following forms:

  1. Read the official exam notification – this provides the applicant an idea of the duration of the test, what to expect, and what testing centers are providing the exam.
  2. Use the official study guides.
  3. Take practice tests on numerous civil service sites – ideally tests that provide both realistic questions and answers.
  4. Search the internet for exam tips.
  5. Consult with current probation officers and get an idea of what will happen from the tests.

Aside from the above-mentioned test preparation, we’ve also outlined test-taking techniques you can utilize when taking the examination:

Tip #1

Work fast, but not as quickly as to get reckless. The time limit has been set to give you a great deal of time. When you have a concern during the exam, lift your hand, and a proctor will facilitate you.

Tip #2

Always read all possible options before you give your answer. When you don’t know the answer to the questions, it’s usually better to skip and just go to the others. If you finish before the timer ends, you may go back to the questions you may have missed.

Tip #3

If you’re not sure of the answer to the question, remove the answers that you think are wrong, and then mark the answer that is your best guess. You’re not going to be punished for guessing. Your score is actually the number of questions that you answered correctly, so you shouldn’t leave any problems unanswered even if you’re just guessing.

Tip #4

You must have a good night’s sleep the night prior to the actual test. Many people find that eating a snack or a light meal for an hour or two before testing is good prep.

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