In 2012 there were 460 employees working in the probation offices of Pima County, supervising offenders and making sure any violations were properly documented, reported, and acted upon. There is a very positive side to a career in probation, as officers also have the chance to encourage and direct probationers on how to become productive citizens of Pima County.
- Grand Canyon University - B.S. in Justice Studies and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- SNHU - A.S. in Criminal Justice, B.S. in Criminal Justice - Corrections, and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Liberty University - Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Crime Scene Investigation
Statewide there are over 75,000 offenders in probation programs each year, and in 2012 there were over 36,000 under direct supervision, 4,869 of which were in Pima County.
Education and Experience for a Career in Pima County Probation
Candidates interested in applying for Pima County probation officer jobs need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a behavioral science field such as psychology, or a related field such as social work or criminal justice.
The Pima County Superior Court, one of the agencies in charge of probation officer standards, also prefers candidates to have one year of work experience in a relevant field such as counseling or one those mentioned above. Candidates must also have a valid Arizona driver’s license.
Working as a probation officer in Pima County requires a talented, strong-willed individual who can work well with all sorts of people from many different backgrounds. This includes:
- Knowledge of basic psychological and social science principles and the ability to apply these in real-life situations
- Ability to apply investigative and interviewing techniques to evaluate offenders
- Knowledge of crisis intervention techniques and methods and their application when symptoms and effects of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse are apparent
- Excellent communication skills with judges, courts, offenders, and victims
The Pima County Application Process
Probation officer vacancies are listed on the State Superior Court of Pima County employment webpage. Applications are only accepted when there are available jobs so it may be necessary to monitor the website and other local job advertisements.
Candidates can always create an online employment account, which is the first step to applying via the web. Candidates can always apply the old-fashioned way as well with a paper application, sending or faxing it to the Arizona Superior Court’s human resources office in Pima County.
In 2012, the average salary for employees in the probation field in Pima County was $41,490.
Arizona Probation Officer Academy
After being hired, new officers will need to earn their certification by completing the Arizona Probation Officer Academy. There are several stages during this two-week program:
- Defensive Tactics: At the end of this unit officers must pass a 40-question multiple choice exam, as well as a practical exam where defensive movements are demonstrated
- Firearms: Officers must pass a 40-question multiple choice exam and demonstrate appropriate shooting accuracy and speed in the shooting range
- Offender Psychology: Officers will also be trained in offender psychology and sociological trends as well as techniques in behavioral influencing
- Final Exam: Officers must pass this comprehensive exam at the end of the academy to receive certification