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The Risks and Rewards of Probation Officer Jobs

Are probation officer jobs a good career choice? Let's analyze the pros and cons that come with the territory.


Social work can be a rough business, because you’re seeing people in dire situations, and not everybody can be helped or saved.  But they are also extremely rewarding and invaluable jobs that need to be filled.  You’ll find that there are all sorts of different types of careers out there, and probation officer jobs are some of the best if you want to help reintegrate those who have served their debt to society.  There are plenty of rewards of this type of job, both financially as well as morally.  But you will also find that it does come with some risk and some stress as well.

You want to be prepared for both sides of the coin, so that you fully acknowledge what you stand to gain, as well as what you could have to deal with as hardships.  You’ll find that there are a ton on both sides of the coin, but some major ones that are going to stand out more than others.  These are the factors that you want to be most aware of, as they will determine if a career in probation officer jobs is really the right choice for you.

First up, the rewards of working in this branch of public service:

1) Rewarding job opportunities.

There are plenty of those that have served their debt to society through jail time, that are looking for a legitimate second chance.  You can help manage them and find that second chance at a normal law abiding lifestyle.  That can make these more social worker jobs than actual criminal justice jobs, and that can give you a great sense of self satisfaction.

2) Pretty good salary outlook in most cases.

Most probation officer jobs are going to pay at least $30,000 starting out, even if you work in a less active more rural type of area.  But you will find that the numbers can increase to more than $70,000 in some cases, depending upon your expertise and your actual workload.  But the median salary typically falls around $55,000 to $60,000 range making it a great job opportunity for most people, and you can ensure a probation office salary is extremely livable.

3) Fantastic benefits.

This is right up there with any other style of government job, and you can ensure that you will be well taken care of for your service to society.  This type of career path comes with great benefits in terms of actually what you get for insurance when working.  Plus you get a great retirement package, and you also get a personal vehicle in most cases, because of all the driving that you’re going to have to do as a regular part of the job.

But of course, the rewards do not come without some amount of risk, as well as just generally negative aspects of the job.  Those include:

1) Sometimes you work with some scary former inmates.

A big part of probation officer training is learning how to defend yourself, as well as what to do if you’re attacked, as you’re going to be responsible for watching over and almost parenting in some cases, people that have pretty violent pasts.  That can be really scary, as not everybody is so willing to turn over a new leaf, and make the most of a second chance at life.

2) Heavy workload.

Another thing that you’re going to find is that most areas have a really heavy workload. There are only so many probation officer jobs to go around, and the jail system in America is well overcrowded.  That means picking up a lot of inmates, and also doing a ton of traveling in order to keep up with them all.  That’s going to become a hassle at times, and can have you feeling downright stressed as you struggle to keep track of them all.

3) Probation officer training is pretty harshly judged.

It’s not easy to get positions as a probation officer, and something that you’re going to find is that the training program is pretty rigorous.  In most cases, if you perform poorly just in the beginning of your training and trial period, you’re going to end up losing out immediately, before even being considered for employment.

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