Probation services officers (PSOs) supervise people serving community and prison sentences who are considered to be ‘low-risk’.
Salary range: £22,039 to £27,373
How to become a probation services officer
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You may find it helps your application if you take a college course like:
- a diploma in public services
- a qualification in youth and community work
- A levels
You may need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You may be able to do a probation services practitioner advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could apply directly for job vacancies with probation services. You’ll need:
- experience of working with vulnerable people or people who have challenging behaviour
- a minimum of 5 GCSEs or equivalent qualifications
You can get experience through volunteering or paid work, or by contacting your local community rehabilitation company for opportunities.
If you’re successful with your application, you’ll train on the job. You’ll do the Level 3 Diploma in Probation Practice during your first 12 months to qualify as a probation services officer.
You can find out more information about careers, training and job vacancies in probation from HM Prison and Probation Service.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of public safety and security
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- leadership skills
- to be flexible and open to change
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
In this role you could be:
- gathering information and interviewing offenders
- assessing the risk an offender may pose to the public
- preparing court reports
- delivering individual or group programmes to challenge offending behaviour
- helping clients get work or training, housing or drug/alcohol treatment
- arranging and supervising community work placements for offenders
- supervising residents living in approved accommodation
- supporting victims of crime
- giving education or employment support to prisoners in the community or before their release
- working with other agencies like the police, drug and alcohol services, social services, and health organisations
You could work in a prison, in a court, in the community or in an office.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could move into a supervisory role, or train as a probation officer.