The roughly 1,800 probation officers in the State of New Jersey are in charge of supervision over 70,000 offenders at any given time, or about 130,000 adults per year. They play a crucial role in the criminal justice system, making sure offenders meet the requirements of their probation terms such as maintaining employment, attending substance abuse programs, or going to school, while at the same time holding them accountable for any violations. Probation officers in New Jersey are key to helping offenders learn how to become productive members of society.
Required Education for Probation Officer Jobs in New Jersey
New Jersey requires those applying for probation officer jobs to have a bachelor’s degree in the behavioral or social sciences, including psychology, criminal justice, or social work. Also acceptable is a bachelor’s degree in any field that is supplemented by or includes 24 credit-hours in the social or behavioral sciences fields.
Applicants may also be required to perform their job duties in the Spanish language depending on the offenders in their caseload; so Spanish proficiency is a plus.
Those interested in probation officer careers in New Jersey must also be able to meet several minimum requirements:
- Legally able to be employed in the United States
- No significant driving infractions or criminal history
- Have excellent organizational, communication, reading, and writing abilities
- Be able to positively influence a wide variety of people
- Effectively carry out all training and job duties including:
- Good knowledge of the legal system: court procedures and practices, legal research, civil and criminal law
- Knowledge of community resources available for offenders in many types of situations
- General knowledge of physical and mental conditions
- Ability to identify training and education needs
- Act as a mentor, teacher, or coach and give responsible guidance and advice
Application and Civil Service Exam
Applicants must first monitor the New Jersey judiciary’s website for job listings under Court Services Officer or Judiciary Case Processing Band. When there is a vacancy, candidates can apply by emailing the job announcement’s requested information to the New Jersey Judiciary’s hiring department.
If the initial information provided shows the candidate to be in a competitive position, he or she will receive an appointment to take a civil service exam, the results of which will be factored in to the candidate’s overall ranking on a recruitment and eligibility list.
What to Expect from a Career as a Probation Officer in New Jersey
Probation officers are one of the foundations of the judiciary and criminal justice system. They act as a bridge between correctional facilities and/or criminal behavior and the outside world. Offenders are guided back into civil society while at the same time being supervised as a means of protecting the public. The average caseload for probation officers in the state is 114 offenders per officer, and this number is only expected to rise nationwide over the next decade. Last year the average annual wage for a probation officer working in New Jersey was $74,780.