As one of the fastest growing areas in the state, the city of Bowling Green and the surrounding counties of Adair, Barren, Casey, Cumberland, Metcalfe, Monroe and Warren offer some of the best opportunities for aspiring probation and parole officers in the state.
- 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
All seven of these counties are covered by the third judicial district of the Kentucky Department of Corrections. The third judicial district is one of 20 such districts in the state, and is one of the largest in terms of population and the number of offenders on parole and probation in the state. Besides Bowling Green, the third judicial district also includes the towns of Glasgow, London and Madisonville among many other smaller, more rural towns and unincorporated areas.
Requirements and Qualifications
When considering how to become a probation and parole officer in Bowling Green and the rest of the third judicial district, an applicant should first review the basic requirements and qualifications for the job. The initial requirements include the following:
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Must have a valid drivers license with a clean driving record
- Must be able to pass a drug screen and a criminal background check
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
In order to obtain entry-level probation and parole officer jobs in Bowling Green, applicants are not required to have any work experience in the field, although experience in social work, criminal investigation or the military is often helpful during the interview process. Also, applicants that have at least a bachelor’s degree in sociology, psychology, counseling, criminal justice, criminology or other human services fields will be given special consideration during the hiring and recruitment process.
The hiring process in Kentucky consists of a series of interviews with representatives from the Department of Corrections and supervisors from the third judicial district. Applicants must also be able to pass a criminal background check without any felonies, serious misdemeanors or charges that include obstruction of justice or perjury, since testifying in court is a large part of the probation and parole officer duties.
Applicants that successfully complete the hiring process will then move on to training. Recruits in the third judicial district will train at the Western Region Training Center in Eddyville. Training consists of three weeks in the academy for a total of 120 hours. During training, recruits will learn Level of Service Case Management Inventory skills, which has to do with honing interview and investigation skills where offenders are concerned.
Recruits will also be required to get firearms certification before beginning a career as a full-time probation and parole officer in Bowling Green and the surrounding third judicial district.
After the first year of employment, all officers are then required to complete 40 hours of training each year, which includes the renewal of firearms certification.