There are over 400,000 offenders under adult probation, or “community supervision” as it is referred to in Texas. The lawbreakers that get sentenced to community supervision instead of serving prison terms are handled by community service and correctional departments (CSCDs) that are regulated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Currently, there are 121 of these CSCDs that actively maintain probationary cases across 254 counties in the state. Professionals that hold probation officer jobs in Texas are called “community service officers.”
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Professionals from all over the country are seeking probation officer jobs in Texas because employment growth for this occupation is on the rise. The US Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration reports there were 5,690 probation officers employed statewide in 2008. By 2018, this number is expected to balloon to 7,310. This impressive increase signifies a 29% employment growth change, which is 11% higher than the national average for this same profession.
Probation Officer Eligibility in Texas
Anyone with ambitions of learning how to become a probation officer in Texas must be familiar with the eligibility requirements outlined by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. For instance, no one that volunteers, works, or is employed as a peace officer can qualify to be a probation officer. In addition, no one that is under community service, parole or currently serving a court sentence can qualify for employment.
Education Requirements for Probation Officers in Texas
College experience is a basic educational requirement for all probation officers in Texas. Most workers have a bachelor’s degree from a postsecondary institution that is approved by the Texas Higher education Coordinating Board in one of the following disciplines:
Training Requirements for Texas Probation Officers
All probation officers are expected to have at least four years of professional experience prior to joining the work force in Texas. Upon securing employment, all officers must complete at least forty hours of skill training every two years thereafter.
Those that enter the force without past work experience must compensate by completing at least eighty hours of skill training every two years thereafter. Furthermore, during the first year of employment, all new hires complete certification course work that culminates in a formal examination. This examination must be met with a passing score to retain active status.
Job Responsibilities of Texas Probation Officers
According to the Community Justice Assistance Division, one of the initial responsibilities of a probation officer in Texas is to administer a standard assessment tool for assigned probationers. The results of these assessments help probation officers create individual strategies to effectively approach each case. From there, probation officers use various techniques to ensure successful supervision, including:
- Community service restitution
- Urinalysis testing
- Court residential treatment centers
- Domestic violence programs
- Education programs
- Day reporting centers
- Intensive supervision probation
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- Pretrial services
- Intermediate sanction facilities
- Substance abuse treatment
- Residential services
- Sex offender treatment
- Electronic monitoring
- Restitution centers
- Surveillance supervision
- Victim support services
- Employment programs