According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of probation officer jobs is projected to grow 18 percent in the next decade. In the State of Indiana alone there are 2,360 people working in this field, and the BLS projects new openings for probation officer jobs in the future as growth in the industry continues.
Education Requirements for Indiana’s Probation Officers
The Indiana Judicial Center (IJC) sets the qualifications and requirements for how to become a probation officer in the Hoosier State. According to these regulations, a person may not be employed as a probation officer until the candidate has received a bachelor’s degree, such as one in the fields of psychology, criminal justice, social work, or any other field approved for a bachelor’s degree by an accredited college or university.
Application Process for Probation Officers in Indiana
Applicants for parole officers in Indiana have to meet all minimum requirements including being of good moral character, an American citizen, and at least 21 years of age. Once these have been satisfied the prospective officer must fill out an application to take the certification exam which will require:
- A non-refundable $50.00 application fee
- An official transcript from the college where the candidate obtained a B.A. degree
- A photocopy of a government-issued id
- A personal statement if you have ever been arrested
- The application filled out completely and legibly
Indiana’s Probation Officer Certification Exam
It is required of all probation officers to take and pass the Probation Officer Exam within six months of becoming employed. If the exam is failed on the first attempt a 90-day period must elapse before candidates my take it again, during which time a person will not be able to work as a parole officer. If the exam is failed a second time the candidate must wait one year before re-taking the test and working as a probation officer. The IJC recommends candidates prepare for the test by reading actual state codes regarding:
- Probation Officers
- Sex Offender Registration
- Juvenile Code
- Interstate Compact for Probation
- Probation and Home Detention
The test itself lasts two hours and consists of:
- True or false questions for 35 points
- Short answer questions for 35 points
- Multiple choice questions for 35 points
- Definition questions for 35 points
- Situational essay based on a juvenile or adult scenario for 12 points
Indiana’s Probation Officer Orientation Program
Within one year of being hired in a probation officer career, it is required that the employee attend an IJC-sponsored orientation program, though this is recommended to be completed within the first six months. Faculty at this event will include judges, probation officers, and other professionals in the field, with subjects discussed being:
- Adult and juvenile procedures
- Techniques and skills of conducting investigations
- Supervision of probationers
- Training and skills for career development
The IJC picks up the cost of a hotel room and lunch for each day of the conference, which generally runs from Tuesday morning until Friday afternoon.
Part of a career as a probation officer in Indiana means attending at least 12 hours of continuing education each year. The IJC sponsors classes periodically where officers can pick up the hours they need free of charge.