Probation Officer Career in Kern County, California

The Kern County Probation Department, created over 100 years ago, has six locations in the county seat of Bakersfield as well as field offices in the cities of Delano and Shafter.

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Under the direction of Chief Probation Officer David M. Kuge, the Kern County Probation Department has active adult and juvenile divisions. The work of adult deputy probation officers is divided among three units:

  • Adult Investigation Unit. Deputy probation officers (POs) focus on the pre-sentencing analysis of a defendant’s criminal/social history and the crime’s impact on victims (if any) in order to make sentencing recommendations. They also provide the court with input regarding bail and “own recognizance” releases.
  • Adult Supervision. POs supervise probationers by having regular office and home visits, testing for drug use, and referring them for needed community services. The great majority have been convicted of drug-related offenses. However, a select group of POs supervise high-risk offenders (gang members, sex offenders, domestic violence offenders). These probationers are given more intensive supervision by armed POs.
  • Prop 36. Defendants convicted of minor drug offenses (possession or being under the influence) are mandated to complete a substance abuse rehab program. POs strive to help the offender achieve sobriety and find employment.
  • PC 1000. In accordance with penal code 1000, these defendants are given a “deferred entry of judgment” which allows their cases to be dismissed if they successfully complete a counseling program.

Qualifications for Becoming a Probation Officer in Kern County

Applications for the job of Kern County deputy probation officer are only accepted from persons who meet the following requirements:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Graduation from an accredited four-year college/university, preferably in a behavioral or social science or criminal justice.
  • Class “C” California driver’s license
  • No felony convictions
  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Knowledge of various theories of human behavior
  • Ability to address issues/individuals in relation to substance abuse, sexual deviancy, domestic violence and mental illness
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to analyze information objectively

Recruitment Process for Job of Kern County Deputy Probation Officer

The necessary steps for becoming a probation officer in Kern County are:

  • Look for an open position on the Kern County Personnel Department website:
  • Apply online. Deputy probation officer applications are only accepted for open positions. Paper applications can be requested at 661/868-3480.
  • Notifications sent to both accepted and rejected applicants
  •  Possible written and/or oral test
  • Fingerprinting
  • Background investigation
  • Medical and psychological evaluations
  • Job offer

All new recruits receive standard training, including firearms range training. College/university students can apply for student internships. Interns gain valuable experience by assisting deputy probation officers and by making weekly visits to defendants in substance abuse rehab facilities (see Prop 36 above) to report on their progress. Call the main probation department office (661/868-4500) for information.

The average annual salary for deputy probation officers in Kern County is $37,000.

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