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How do you become a probation officer?

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Quick Answer

To become a probation officer, meet general requirements, such as being between 21 and 37 years old and passing a criminal background investigation for felony convictions, according to Study.com. Additionally, complete a bachelor's degree, gain one to two years work experience, and undergo a probation officer training program.

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Full Answer

Choose an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, psychology, social work or another relevant field, and complete an internship to get an idea of a probation officer's work demands, suggests Study.com. Additionally, pass drug tests as well as physical and mental health exams. Find out particular state-mandated qualifications as different states and government agencies may have varying requirements.

After obtaining a bachelor's or master's degree, acquire experience in fields such as counseling or substance-abuse treatment, recommends Study.com. Hone your communication, judgment and critical-thinking skills, as probation officers typically work with parolees, perform interviews and find rehabilitative services.

Finish a government-sponsored probation officer training program, which usually starts with a one- or two-week classroom instruction regarding court-probation procedures and state codes, says Study.com. Some programs also require passing a certification exam and involve firearms and basic officer training. Moreover, continuing education is a requirement in some states. Because training programs have time restrictions, make sure to enroll within six months after getting a job, and finish the program on time.

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