In Seattle and throughout King County, probation officers provide a link between criminal offenders sentenced to terms of probation and the law-abiding citizens of the city and greater metropolitan area. They provide a service to the courts, producing pre-sentence reports and recommendations for prison alternatives that support rehabilitation. Probation officers in King County provide a service to offenders by teaching them how to become responsible members of society. They also serve the citizens of Seattle and King County by first protecting the public safety and secondly by reducing the costly rate of incarceration.
In statistics from May of 2012, there were 510 people working in the probation field in the greater Seattle metro area, making an average wage of $55,670 per year. This included the cities of Bellevue, SeatTac, Issaquah, Renton, Kent, Federal Way, Redmond and dozens more.
Education and Additional Experience Requirements for a Probation Officer Career in the Seattle Area
King County provides district court probation for offenders in Seattle and the surrounding area. There are three main types of probation officers working in Seattle:
- Mental health probation officers
- Domestic violence probation officers
- Traditional probation officers
All probation officers are certified through the Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery. This agency and the County require all probation officers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field including social work, psychology, or criminal justice. Mental health probation officers must have a master’s degree in the behavioral or social sciences fields.
Seattle-based probation officers must either be certified as a chemical dependency professional or have education or a recognized equivalent of experience in at least one of the following:
- Addiction and substance abuse treatment methods
- Cultural diversity and people with disabilities and how this affects treatment
- Substance abuse and dependency treatment, continuing care, and discharge standards
Training to Become a Probation Officer
Probation officers in King County must log 2000 hours of supervised experience as a Probation Assessment Officer trainee in a DUI assessment program that is certified by Washington State if the candidate possesses a bachelor’s degree, or 1500 hours if he or she has a master’s degree.
After the first year as a career probation officer, employees are required to accumulate 15 hours of continuing education each year, as well as a firearms refresher course if an officer chooses to carry a weapon.
How to Apply to Become a Probation Officer in King County
Applicants can only apply online for probation officer positions when they become available on King County’s jobs listing website. Besides regularly checking this website, candidates can fill out a jobs notification card that will generate an email when probation officer positions become vacant. When there is an opening, candidates should be careful to fill out the application fully and accurately, as there will be a background check and drug test later on in the application process.