Birmingham probation and parole officers have a dual responsibility to both protect public order and safety while providing their assigned offenders with opportunities and assistance in rehabilitation. Probation and parole officers will arrest and/or report probation and parole violations and at the same time help offenders learn how to become productive members of society. Officers in The Magic City maintain the public order and reduce the tax burden resulting from incarceration.
Probation and parole officers working in Birmingham will find themselves in Alabama’s largest city, a metropolitan area that contains approximately one-fourth of the entire state’s population. An added advantage comes with the fact that the metro region offers some of the highest wages in the state. As of May, 2012 there were 280 people employed in the probation and parole field in the Birmingham area, making an average of $43,150 each year.
Education for a Career in Probation and Parole
Whether an officer is checking in on someone released early from prison on parole, or reviewing the conditions of an offender’s probation sentence, all probation and parole officers in Birmingham are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. This can be in any subject field, including criminal justice, psychology, and social work.
A probation and parole officer career starts by going online and printing off an Alabama State Application for Examination. Probation and parole officer positions are open year-round for recruitment so candidates can apply at any time by returning this fully-completed application to the State’s personnel department in Montgomery. The application for examination is a basic four-page document that screens candidates to see if they have any disqualifying circumstances such as a felony conviction or lack of a bachelor’s degree. If all is well the human resources office will notify candidates for the date, time, and place of their written exam.
The written exam is a basic knowledge, multiple choice test. After successful completion candidates will need to complete a physical ability test that includes:
- A 90-second obstacle course consisting of:
- Running and climbing
- Balancing, lifting, and dragging
- 22 push-ups completed in one minute
- 25 sit-ups completed in one minute
- 1.5-mile run completed in 15 minutes and 28 seconds
After candidates have completed these requirements competitively they may be invited for an interview, to be followed by a drug test, and a check of the candidate’s criminal background, driving record, and employment history.
Training for Probation and Parole Officer Jobs
Upon being hired, Birmingham probation and parole officers will attend a 12-week training academy where they will learn the fundamentals of their jobs. These will include
- Firearms training and certification
- Arrest procedures and techniques
- Persuasive psychology and positive reinforcement
- Offender intake, evaluations, and risk assessment
- Alabama State Codes and court jurisdiction
Upon graduation from the training academy, officers will also complete an in-service training program lasting 80 hours. After their first year of employment, officers will also be required to complete at least 12 hours of continuing education and training each year.