Tacoma is home to some of Pierce County’s finest. Probation officers in the city serve a vital community role- protecting public safety while at the same time giving offenders a chance to become responsible citizens; all while reducing the cost to taxpayers. To strategically accomplish the goals of public service and rehabilitation, probation services offered in Tacoma and throughout Pierce County include:
- Offender work crew program
- Pre-trial supervision
- Community service programs
- Probation supervision
- Day reporting program
Education Required for a Career in Pierce County Probation
Pierce County requires candidates for probation officer jobs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field that addresses the remediation of complex legal and human issues. This includes social work, and a preference is given to course studies in psychology, sociology, and criminal justice.
Those seeking careers as Tacoma-based probation officers must possess knowledge related to:
- Operation and philosophy of the criminal justice system
- Private, local, state, and federal program and agency resources available for rehabilitation assistance
- Group behavior and psychology- interviewing and diagnosing techniques with the aim of treatment referral and rehabilitation
Candidates are also required to have the following capabilities:
- Prepare and compile detailed case history and other reports
- Effective communication with a wide variety of people
- Be organized, able to use a computer, and work efficiently in a highly stressful environment
- Able to work respecting others’ religious, cultural, and sexual orientation backgrounds
- Ability to pass a background investigation and drug test
Applications for probation officer positions are accepted online when vacancies are posted on Pierce County’s jobs listing website. Candidates should make sure to fill out the application completely and honestly, attaching all required documents and supplying as much relevant information as possible.
Training to Become a Probation Officer in Pierce County
Upon being hired, new probation officers will complete an extensive training process. This includes completion of the Correctional Services Academy and 2000 supervised hours of experience as a Probation Assessment Officer trainee in a state-certified DUI program if the officer has a bachelor’s degree, and 1,500 hours if he or she has a master’s degree or higher.
An additional continuing education requirement of 15 annual hours each year is also mandated for Tacoma and greater Pierce County-based probation officers, as is a firearms re-certification course if officers elect to carry a sidearm.
Working in Tacoma
In 2010 employees working in the probation field nationwide made a median annual salary of $47,200. The average annual salary in Tacoma in 2012 for the Tacoma metropolitan area was $56,910 or nearly $10,000 more than the national median. Across the United States, jobs in the probation field are projected to grow by 18 percent through 2020. In the metro Tacoma area there were 240 employees working in probation in 2012.