Probation Officer Career in Lake County, Indiana

The Lake County probation office oversees the second-largest number of offenders in Indian, with a main office located in Gary. In the state of Indiana, all probation offices are decentralized and are divided into counties, in order to focus probation services on a community level. The community-based initiative was adopted by Lake County in 2006, and has proven to be an effective model for the area.

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Probation officer jobs in Lake County are not considered peace officer jobs, which means probation officers here are not allowed to arrest probation offenders and violators. All probation services are supervised by the Indiana Judicial Center, which is located in Indianapolis.

How to Become a Probation Officer in Lake County: Qualifications

In order to become a probation officer in Lake County, applicants must first meet a set of qualifications and requirements, as stated by the Indiana Judicial Center. The following are some of the requirements and qualifications:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must be of good moral character
  • Must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university

Most probation officer job applicants have a bachelor’s degree in social work, counseling, criminal justice, psychology or sociology, although it is not required. Applicants with a master’s degree are given special consideration and qualify to be paid 5-percent more than other new recruits into the Lake County probation department. The average salary for a probation office in Lake County ranges from $25,000 to $30,000 a year, depending on experience, performance during the recruitment and examination process, prior experience and other factors.

Applicants must also have probation officer certification in order to work in Lake County. The certification is required before training is complete, but can be taken before or after an application is completed with the department.

Training and Orientation

Applicants who meet the minimum requirements and pass the probation officer certification exam with a score of at least 70-percent may possibly go onto the training and orientation programs in Lake County. If employed by the department, probation officers in Lake County require 12 hours of training each year, and attendance at a week-long orientation. Lake County probation officers are required to attend the orientation within the first year of employment, but it is recommended that attendance be done within the first 6 months of employment with the department.

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Additional training is required if a probation officer wants a career in the drug and alcohol-related probation services. In order to work in this field, probation officers in Lake County must receive the Court Substance Abuse Management Specialist credential and attend additional training and special orientation.

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