Tuscaloosa probation and parole officers can go home at the end of each day knowing they have made a positive difference in their city, and Alabama as a whole. Probation and parole officers keep the prison population down by supervising parolees who have been released early and probationers who received their sentence from a judge to supplement, or in lieu of, prison time. While having the authority and duty to report probation and parole violations, officers also play a role in helping offenders reenter society as responsible citizens.
In 2012, Tuscaloosa employees in the probation and parole field earned an average salary of $43,090. Nationally the outlook for jobs in the probation field is projected to grow by 18 percent through the year 2020, and Tuscaloosa’s future prospects are good as it is the regional center of healthcare, commerce, education and industry.
What it Takes to Become a Probation and Parole Officer in Tuscaloosa
Those considering how to become a probation and parole officer in Tuscaloosa should be aware that the State of Alabama requires all officers employed in this field to have a bachelor’s degree. Any major area of study suffices, including criminal justice, psychology, and social work, however the degree must be from an accredited college or university.
A career as a Tuscaloosa probation and parole officer begins with a simple four-page application that asks about a candidate’s previous jobs, education, and criminal history. This is a state application to determine one’s eligibility to take a multiple-choice civil service exam, which tests for basic skills and knowledge. Applicants will be notified by the Alabama Personnel Department if they are eligible to take this test.
If a candidate successfully passes this exam, he or she may be invited to participate in a physical ability test that evaluates the candidate’s ability to complete a short obstacle course, a set amount of push-ups and sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run, all in a specified amount of time.
If the candidate successfully navigates these hurdles, he or she may be invited to continue in the application process that consists of an interview, background check, and drug test. To begin the process applicants need to return their fully and legibly completed application to the personnel department’s office in Montgomery.
Probation and Parole Officer Training in Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa sends all its new probation and parole officer recruits to a 12-week Police Academy where they gain the essential training and education needed to become successful and effective officers. This includes information in the areas of:
- Arrest procedures and the use of force
- Firearms training
- Alabama State Code, laws, and legal procedures
- Offender intake evaluations and risk assessments
- Awareness training for community resources and client referral procedures
After graduating from the training academy, officers will have Alabama Peace Officer status and will begin a two-week supervised training program with the Tuscaloosa Probation and Parole State Office. Officers will need to complete an annual total of 12 hours of refresher training courses during each succeeding year of employment.