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Get a Job As a Probation Officer Assistant

A probation officer assistant helps probation officers with field work, presentence investigations, drug screenings, criminal record checks and file maintenance. These positions are available with the federal government as well as with many state and local governments. The qualifications for probation officer assistant positions vary by district or state, but overall there are a few things that could give you an advantage over another applicant.

Obtain a college degree. While not always required, having a degree will put you at a definite advantage over applicants with only a high school diploma. Seek an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or other related human services fields. In lieu of a degree, actively attending school and taking some classes related to the job will give you significant knowledge about the position.

Apply for an internship at a probation office. Some offices will allow volunteers, but even more will allow interns enrolled in a criminal justice program to shadow and assist probation officers during their work day. Interning will allow you to gain valuable experience and learn the job hands-on. Not only is this great for your resume, but you can also draw on this experience when responding to interview questions.

Observe courtroom procedures. Unless otherwise specified by the judge, a courtroom is a public place. Contact the probation office beforehand to determine where and when probation violation hearings will be held. Observe and take notes. For United States District Courts, it is probably best if you have permission beforehand or accompany a probation officer. If you do not, be prepared as the judge may ask why you are present.

Gain related work experience. Realistically, you may need to start your career in a job other than probation in order to gain the required experience. Jobs in counseling, correctional case management, criminal investigations or substance abuse fields are viewed as most valuable. Some jobs that may not count as applicable experience are police, custodial or security officer positions, with the exception of positions where criminal investigation job duties were required.

Tie up loose ends in your background. The probation office will conduct a background check on you, which may vary from a criminal record check to a more in-depth investigation where friends, family and former employers are interviewed. If there is anything questionable in your background, disclose this to the probation office prior to the investigation. If you are caught lying, you will be disqualified indefinitely.



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