Individuals that aspire to positively contribute to their community through public service should consider a probation/parole officer career in Tennessee. Probation officers are considered a great asset to society by providing guidance, support and supervision for convicted offenders avoiding prison terms.
According to the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration there were 2,210 probation officer jobs in Tennessee in 2008. Yet these professionals are predicted to number 2,620 by 2018. This equates to a 19% jobs growth rate during a ten-year span, which is even higher than the national growth rate of 18% for this occupation.
Probation Officer Education in Tennessee
The best way to learn how to become a probation/parole officer in Tennessee is through postsecondary education and training programs. Even though entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s degree, field rookies can gain a competitive edge by earning graduate degrees. Findings by the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration reveal that 37.9% of probation/parole officers between the ages of twenty-five and forty-four hold a bachelor degree. Yet, 13.5% of them hold a master’s degree, and this percentage is expected to continue rising.
Qualification Standards for Probation/parole Officers
According to Tennessee Department of Human Resources, probation/parole officers are divided into three tiers: entry-level (I), managerial (II), and supervisory (III). The qualification requirements for each tier are dependent on a combination of education and experience:
Entry-Level (I): Candidates applying for entry-level probation/parole officer positions are required to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Probation/parole officers are expected to possess sufficient knowledge in areas of administration, management, social work, law, government, public safety, psychology and criminal justice. Therefore, earning a career-related degree will prove beneficial and increase marketability during the hiring process. Level I probation/parole officers must exhibit sound skill development during the first year of obligatory training in order to ascend to Level II status.
Manager (II): Along with fulfilling the educational requirements of entry-level workers, managerial Level II probation/parole officers must also have the one year of professional experience in counseling, law, social work, investigation and/or probation/parole. Probation/parole officers may bypass the experience portion of eligibility on this level by completing thirty-six quarter hours of graduate course credit in areas of law, criminology, behavioral science, social work, criminal justice, and/or social science.
Supervisor (III): Along with fulfilling the educational requirements of manager-level workers, Level III probation/parole officers must also have at least three years of professional experience in the areas stated above. The exchange for graduate course credits for work experience is still upheld: thirty-six quarter hours=one year of work experience.
Employment of Probation/parole Officers in Tennessee by Region
Usually job opportunities are more prevalent in areas of high population concentration. However, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, probation/parole officer jobs in Tennessee are greater in the nonmetropolitan Western and North Central regions of the state. Employment changes across major regions in Tennessee are shown below:
- Western (nonmetropolitan): 170
- North Central (nonmetropolitan): 100
- Jackson (TN): 90
- Eastern (nonmetropolitan): 80
- Clarksville (TN-KY): 70
- Johnson (TN): 70
- Kingsport-Bristol (TN-VA): 70