Employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. Job opportunities are expected to be excellent.
Employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is projected to grow about 19 percent between 2008 and 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. Mandatory sentencing guidelines calling for longer sentences and reduced parole for inmates have resulted in a large increase in the prison population. However, mandatory sentencing guidelines are being reconsidered in many States because of budgetary constraints, court decisions, and doubts about the guidelines' effectiveness. Instead, there may be more emphasis in many States on rehabilitation and alternate forms of punishment, such as probation, that will spur demand for probation and parole officers and correctional treatment specialists. Additionally, there will be a need for parole officers to supervise the large number of currently incarcerated people when they are released from prison.
However, employment growth depends primarily on the amount of government funding that is allocated to corrections, and especially to probation and parole systems. Although community supervision is far less expensive than keeping offenders in prison, a change in political trends toward more imprisonment and away from community supervision could result in reduced employment opportunities.
In addition to openings due to growth, many openings will be created by replacement needs, especially openings due to the large number of these workers who are expected to retire. This occupation is not attractive to some potential entrants due to relatively low earnings, heavy workloads, and high stress. For these reasons, job opportunities are expected to be excellent.
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists held about 103,400 jobs in 2008. Most jobs are in State or local governments. Depending on the State, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists may be employed solely by State or local government, or they are employed at both levels. Jobs are more plentiful in urban areas than in rural ones. In the Federal Government, probation officers are employed by the U.S. courts, and correctional treatment specialists are employed by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons.
Job Zone 4 - Preparation needed
A minimum of two to four years of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant needs four years of college and several years of accounting work to be considered qualified.
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Accountants, chefs and head cooks, computer programmers, historians, and police detectives.
These occupations often involve coordinating, supervising, managing, and/or training others.
[Back to Top]
For information about criminal justice job opportunities in your area, contact your State's department of corrections, criminal justice, or probation.
Further information about probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is available from:
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
[Back to Top]