Probation and Parole Officer Careers in Iowa

There are currently about 25 thousand people on probation and parole in Iowa, with over 8,200 others incarcerated. Over the next decade nationwide, parole officer careers are expected to grow by 18 percent. In Iowa there are currently around 600 people working jobs as probation and parole officers, making an average of over $62,000 each year.

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Required Experience and Education

Candidates for parole and probation jobs in Iowa must have at least an associate of arts degree, and a bachelor’s degree is preferred. Relevant fields of study include social work, criminal justice, and psychology, but the B.A. can be in any accredited subject. Although experience in related fields of employment is not a requirement, applicants with relevant training and experience are given priority over those without such qualifications. Applications from veterans, and especially disabled veterans, receive additional favorable consideration.

Placement Exam

A placement exam may be required depending on the jurisdiction to which the candidate is applying. The exams cover Iowa statutory law, hypothetical situations, basic grammar and writing skills, and deductive reasoning. Typically they consist of sections including:

  • Multiple choice
  • Short answer
  • Essay

Jurisdictional information can be found on the Iowa Department of Corrections website.

Training and Continuing Education

During the first year of employment probation and parole officers must attend 80 hours of training classes, including some at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. Depending on the jurisdiction, some additional hours of continuing education are required during each additional year of employment. The Iowa Department of Corrections provides refresher courses and continuing education annually for the training and benefit of current employees.

How to Become a Probation and Parole Officer in Iowa

For those seeking careers as probation and parole officers in Iowa, the first step is to meet the minimum requirements. These include:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Ability to communicate in the English language
  • Technologically proficient
  • Good abilities in documentation and observation
  • Knowledge of laws pertaining to Iowa probation and parole

Probation and Parole Officers in Iowa

Probation and parole officers (PPOs) in the Hawkeye State are considered to be peace officers with the power of arrest. Officers may arrest parolees under the following conditions:

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  • The officers have been trained in arrest procedures
  • The officers have training in search and seizure, the use of force, and restraints such as handcuffs
  • If there is probable cause an offender has violated parole/probation conditions
  • Whenever possible, the PPO must consult with a supervisor and request appropriate assistance prior to making an arrest
  • An arrest warrant must be obtained when possible
  • If an appropriate unit is not available a PPO may arrest an offender if:
    • He or she surrenders to the PPO
    • When time is of the essence
    • When the offender poses an immediate threat to him/herself or the community
    • The PPOs supervisor has cleared the PPO to use the power of arrest

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