Parole Officer Salaries

Parole officers lend their talents within the correctional system, monitoring and counseling parolees in an effort to help them rehabilitate back into society and lead crime-free lives after being released from prison. It’s a unique profession that requires a head for law enforcement, but also some heart too. This makes it a career that calls for skilled professionals with the right blend of experience and education. Land a job in a county or state correctional system as a parole officer and you’ll enjoy a solid salary and a lot of opportunity to make a real difference in your community.

FIND SCHOOLS
Sponsored Content

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nationally, parole officers earned an average salary of $61,900 as of May 2020.

Anybody fairly new to the profession can expect to earn salaries within the 10th – 25th percentile of the total range of PO salaries, which means somewhere in the range of $36,990 – $43,720. Seasoned pros with plenty of experience and senior-level titles, on the other hand, can expect to earn salaries closer to the 75th – 90th percentile range, which was about $75,030 – $98,510 as of the last report in 2021.


PO Salaries with State and County Government and Other Employers
Education and Its Impact on a Parole Officer’s Salary
Parole Officer Salary Expectations Based on Job Title
Top Paying States and Metro Areas for Probation Officers
State Guide to Salaries for Parole Officers


PO Salaries with State and County Government and Other Employers

The largest share of parole officers – about 52% – worked for state correctional facilities as of May 2020, where they earned an average salary of $60,870.

Parole officers working in county correctional facilities comprised about 44% of all parole officers in the country during this time and earned an average salary of $64,250 —slightly surpassing their colleagues in state corrections.

The top earners among parole officers worked in vocational rehabilitation services, where they earned an average salary of $67,690 as of May 2020.

Education and Its Impact on a Parole Officer’s Salary

You won’t find any standard requirements or qualifications to become a parole officer that are the same across the board for all employers. Instead, you’ll find that requirements vary widely from one state or local correctional system to the next. And within most correctional systems, you’ll also find a number of pathways to a career as a parole officer.

Nearly all state correctional systems require some form of college education, but it can be in any number of different areas. You’ll find parole officers with degrees in everything from criminal justice with a focus in corrections, law enforcement or police science, to an area like social work, psychology, sociology and other fields.

In states like New York, California, and North Carolina, a bachelor’s degree serves as the minimum educational requirement to qualify for a job as a parole officer. In other states, like Pennsylvania, an associate’s degree remains the minimum educational requirement, although applicants must also have at least two years of relevant experience to qualify. However, applicants can qualify with a bachelor’s degree and no previous experience.

But beyond serving as a pathway to the profession, a bachelor’s or master’s degree can earn you a competitive edge for a promotion, senior-level title, or simply a higher salary.

In the parole officer profession, a solid college education has become a necessity, and a master’s degree in either criminal justice or a human services field, such as the very popular Master of Social Work (MSW), is increasingly becoming the ticket  to career advancement and a bigger paycheck.

Parole Officer Salary Expectations Based on Job Title – Career Advancement Matters

A state or county’s correctional system usually features a hierarchy that includes parole officer trainees, parole officers, and senior-level parole officers who hold titles like:

Parole Specialist – This professional is tasked with monitoring parolees who have been transferred to other states. Parole specialists must have knowledge of the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision that governs multi-jurisdiction parole operations.

Parole Intelligence Analyst – Parole intelligence analysts are specialists that collect data from across a corrections system and interpret it for use in developing agency policies. They also assist parole officers in managing their responsibilities. These are typically middle management positions with less interaction with parolees.

Chief Parole Officer – Chief parole officers are senior-level pros who manage parole officers, surveillance officers, and administrative professionals and oversee administrative tasks within the parole system that includes assigning cases and training staff.

Senior-level roles for parole officers present unique opportunities to advance in the profession and earn bigger paychecks.

For example, parole officers within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation may be identified as a parole agent or a parole agent II (specialist). As of 2021, parole agents with the Department earned between $73,860 – $107,280, while parole specialists (earned through education, experience as a parole agent, or a combination of the two) earned between $97,512 – $122,724.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice also reveals a similar career ladder that includes salary increments based on role:

  • Parole Officer I: $41,700 – $41,940
  • Parole Officer II: $44,148 – $46,884
  • Parole Officer III (supervisor): $46,884 – $52,884
  • Parole Officer IV (supervisor): $52,884 – $59,724
  • Parole Officer V (supervisor): $59,724 – $66,576

Top Paying States and Metro Areas for Probation Officers

Parole officers earn similar average salaries based on the setting in which they work, while salaries for these correctional professionals tend to vary widely based on geographic location. In general, these differences in pay largely account for differences in costs of living, although larger county and state corrections agencies have more opportunities for advancement into senior positions that naturally come with higher salaries.

California tops the nation for its pay of parole officers, posting an average salary of $95,820 as of May 2020, followed by Massachusetts, with an average salary of $85,400. Other top-paying states for parole officers during this time, according to average salary, include:

  • New Jersey: $75,960
  • New York: $72,110
  • Minnesota: $70,070

Given California’s notoriously high cost of living and massive criminal justice system, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that many of its metro areas top the list of the highest average salaries for parole officers as of May 2020:

  • San Jose (includes Sunnyvale and Santa Clara), CA: $132,770
  • Sacramento (includes Roseville, Arden, and Arcade), CA: $109,040
  • San Francisco (includes Oakland and Hayward), CA: $104,320
  • Los Angeles (includes Long Beach and Anaheim), CA: $92,310
  • Riverside (includes San Bernardino and Ontario), CA: $92,050
  • San Diego (includes Carlsbad), CA: $88,090

State Guide to Salaries for Parole Officers

Where does your state stack up in terms of pay for parole officers? The following BLS table shows what parole officers are earning, by state, as of May 2020, at all levels:

Area Name
Employment
Annual median wage
Alabama
930
48020
Arizona
2540
53150
Arkansas
940
38460
California
14140
94990
Colorado
2090
59790
Florida
4590
39130
Georgia
2670
42820
Idaho
640
45740
Illinois
2730
63330
Indiana
1640
47540
Iowa
660
70890
Kansas
590
44410
Kentucky
1160
40760
Louisiana
1050
49620
Maine
280
52260
Maryland
1680
59680
Massachusetts
1150
87180
Michigan
2140
70050
Minnesota
1910
70080
Mississippi
470
38990
Missouri
2350
38000
Montana
330
45380
Nebraska
-
44770
Nevada
920
62940
New Hampshire
210
68080
New Jersey
2960
77060
New Mexico
660
47750
New York
4870
72200
North Carolina
3160
45130
North Dakota
230
59040
Ohio
3140
50760
Oklahoma
1060
40830
Oregon
1820
61190
Pennsylvania
4120
58260
South Carolina
390
40630
Tennessee
1970
43070
Texas
7230
46700
Vermont
190
66560
Virginia
2780
46270
Washington
1900
65650
West Virginia
800
43870
Wisconsin
1380
49250
Wyoming
160
48890

 

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed May 2021.

Back to Top