Títulos similares

Booking Officer, Community Services Officer, Correctional Officer, Corrections Officer, Deputy Jailer, Detention Deputy, Detention Officer, Jail Officer, Jailer, Jailor, Probation Officer

Descripción del puesto

When someone breaks the law, they may get convicted of a crime and be sent to jail or prison. While incarcerated, they’re guarded and supervised by Correctional Officers—and once released, they’re assigned to a Parole Officer who helps them readjust to normal life.

In some cases, those who get convicted are put on probation. That means they can avoid prison time as long as they follow certain restrictions or rehabilitation instructions. In these instances, the person is assigned to a Probation Officer (aka Correctional Treatment Specialist), who checks in regularly with them to monitor their progress and compliance.

Correctional Officers, Parole Officers, and Probation Officers all play unique and critical roles in the criminal justice system. They work hard to ensure public safety by managing offenders and facilitating their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Aspectos gratificantes de la carrera profesional
  • Direct involvement in the rehabilitation of offenders
  • Contribution to public safety
  • Helping to improve the criminal justice system 
2022 Empleo
2032 Empleo proyectado
La primicia
Responsabilidades laborales

Horario de trabajo

  • Correctional Officers work full-time, usually in shifts that cover all hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Some shifts may extend to 10 or 12 hours. 
  • Probation and Parole Officers work full-time, with more regular schedules, but they may have to travel and respond to after-hours situations.

Tareas típicas

Funcionarios de prisiones

  • Maintain order in jails or prisons. Resolve conflicts among inmates
  • Oversee and monitor offender activities, ensuring adherence to facility rules
  • Conduct risk assessments. Report on offender conduct, progress, and incidents
  • Inspect facilities for security and safety compliance
  • Search inmates, living quarters, mail, and vehicles for contraband
  • Coordinate inmate transportation with law enforcement and judicial authorities
  • Operate vehicles, if trained and authorized. Escort inmates to appointments outside the facility
  • Implement rehabilitation plans, counsel inmates, and respond to questions
  • Perform routine tasks, such as distributing items, dispensing medication, and managing work assignments and counseling session schedules
  • Conduct emergency drills and inspections such as fire, safety, and sanitation checks
  • Oversee community and recreational activities for inmates
  • Investigate crimes within the facility or aid law enforcement with such investigations

Parole Officers

  • Assess inmates’ readiness for reintegration. Evaluate factors such as behavior and rehabilitation indicators to assist parole boards in parole decisions
  • Explain the terms and conditions of their release, such as check-ins or restitution payments
  • Develop post-release plans to help arrange job training, employment, housing, counseling, social activities, education, or legal assistance
  • Interview parolees to monitor their re-adjustment back to society
  • Assess their compliance with parole conditions, such as employment or community service sentences
  • Conduct drug screenings to ensure adherence to substance abuse programs
  • Investigate alleged parole violations. Determine if follow-up court action is needed

Probation Officers

  • Evaluate probationers to identify effective rehabilitation paths with clear goals
  • Discuss issues contributing to prior criminal behavior, such as substance abuse, anger problems, or close connections with other offenders
  • Interview probationers and their family and friends to assess progress
  • Connect probationers with resources like job training or mental health and substance abuse treatment centers
  • Administer drug tests to ensure compliance with treatment programs
  • Supervise community-based sentences including home detention
  • Investigate probation violations and recommend corrective actions
  • Write detailed reports on probationers’ progress and compliance
  • Participate in court hearings and provide testimony related to continued probation

Responsabilidades adicionales

  • Additional duties vary by position. In general, officers should:
  • Participate in ongoing training and professional development
  • Train in the use of weapons, physical restraint methods, and non-violent communication to ensure safety and prevent injuries in the event of conflicts
  • Review employer policy updates to ensure compliance 
Habilidades necesarias en el trabajo

Habilidades sociales

  • Adaptabilidad
  • Atención al detalle
  • Calma bajo presión
  • Colaboración
  • Resolución de conflictos
  • Crisis intervention
  • Razonamiento deductivo
  • Diligencia
  • Empatía
  • Ethical judgment
  • Independencia
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Liderazgo
  • Negociación
  • Resolución de problemas
  • Resiliencia
  • Trabajo en equipo

Competencias técnicas

Required technical skills vary by position, but may include:

  • Use of digital case management systems to track offender progress, document interactions, and manage case files
  • Understanding institutional security measures, including emergency response, contraband control, and facility inspections
  • Use of electronic monitoring devices like ankle monitors and GPS tracking
  • Substance testing procedures and protocols
  • Crisis intervention techniques
  • Knowledge of applicable laws, regulations, and guidelines
  • Understanding rehabilitation methods and counseling techniques
  • Report writing and documentation
  • Proficiency with risk assessment tools
  • Knowledge of community resources (job training, educational opportunities, support services, etc.)
Diferentes tipos de organizaciones
  • Local, state, and federal facilities
  • Facilities support services
Expectativas y sacrificios

Correctional Officers must maintain order within prisons while balancing the need for safety with rehabilitation efforts. They face the daily stress of a potentially dangerous environment and the emotional challenge of interacting with inmates, which requires a blend of authority and empathy.

Parole Officers supervise individuals released from prison, trying to help them reintegrate into society. Their work can be like walking a tightrope sometimes, as they must ensure public safety while supporting parolee rehabilitation.

Similarly, Probation Officers must focus on preventing further offenses through rehabilitation. They juggle the needs of the offender with the enforcement of rules—while dealing with the complexities of several cases at once!

Tendencias actuales

The criminal justice field has seen a shift towards restorative justice and rehabilitation over punishment, impacting the duties and priorities of Correctional, Parole, and Probation officers.

This change reflects the importance of addressing the root causes of criminal behavior, such as substance abuse and lack of education or employment opportunities. Correctional facilities are increasingly implementing programs focused on education, vocational training, and mental health support to prepare inmates for reentry into society.

Meanwhile, parole and probation practices put more emphasis on personalized, supportive supervision, risk assessment tools, and evidence-based strategies to reduce recidivism. Electronic monitoring devices and data analytics are helping to tailor such support to individual needs. 

¿Qué tipo de cosas le gustaba hacer a la gente de esta carrera cuando era más joven...

People who pursue careers in this line of work often have a natural inclination towards roles that involve leadership, problem-solving, and service to the community. Even in their younger years, they might have been drawn to activities that reflect these interests. They’re usually tough but fair, with a genuine desire to improve the lives of those they are working with. 

Educación y formación necesarias

Funcionarios de prisiones

  • Typically, a high school diploma or equivalent is required for Correctional Officers
  1. Note, that federal prisons may require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in security and protective service or have a few years of relevant work experience
  • Candidates first apply to become Correctional Officers and may be required to pass initial screenings. These may include the Corrections Officer exam (or the REACT test), a physical fitness test, a psychological evaluation, a medical examination, and a background check
  1. The Corrections Officer exam tests general aptitude, including reading comprehension, writing skills, judgment, and reasoning abilities
  2. The REACT test is a more specialized test that some agencies use to vet candidates
  3. Upon passing the Corrections Officer exam or the REACT test, and meeting other initial qualifications, candidates may receive a conditional offer of employment
  1. The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training’s website features links to each state’s POST programs
  2. Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers maintains a list of federal POST training centers
  • During training, students are known as cadets. Programs may range from 3 to 12 weeks in duration for Correctional Officers
  • The curriculum incorporates physical exercise, in-class academics, and outdoor field training activities. Topics may include:
  1. Self-defense
  2. Firearms training
  3. Primeros auxilios/RCP
  4. Offender disciplinary protocols
  5. Offender rights and responsibilities
  6. Report writing
  7. Riot prevention and control
  8. Use of force and use of restraints
  • Additional On-the-Job training is provided at the employing facility. After passing the POST certification and starting work, Correctional Officers often go through a probationary period
  • In addition, the American Correctional Association (ACA) offers popular certifications such as the Certified Corrections Officer. Other ACA certifications include:
  1. Certified Corrections Supervisor
  2. Certified Corrections Manager
  3. Certified Corrections Officer/Juvenile
  4. Certified Corrections Nurse
  5. Certified Corrections Officer/Provisional
  • Optional specialized training can qualify Correctional Officers for extra duties such as working on gang task forces

Probation and Parole Officers

  • Probation and Parole Officers often need a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology, or a related field
  1. Some positions may only require an associate in criminal justice. Per O*Net, 88% of Probation Officers have a bachelor’s
  • Relevant work experience is typically required
  • Some states require applicants to be at least 21 years old and possess a driver’s license
  • Applicants must be ready to pass a written exam in some jurisdictions, before being able to proceed with the hiring process
  • Many agencies require a thorough background check plus medical, psychological, and fitness exams
  • They must then local or state government training and certification programs, with requirements varying by state. CPR certification and firearm training is often needed, too
  • Additional On-the-Job and specialized training is provided, as needed
  • Extra training may include ethics, professional conduct, or special topics such as working with juveniles or substance abusers
Lo que hay que buscar en una universidad
  • Not every position in these career fields requires a degree, but consider programs with strong criminal justice or social work departments.
  • Look for internships or cooperative programs that provide hands-on experience in correctional or probation settings.
  • Verify that the program is accredited by a legitimate accrediting body. As notes, “Remember, most diploma mills and degree mills are accredited—but by fake or phony agencies that the degree mills themselves own and operate!”
  • Consider the program's cost and the availability of financial aid or scholarships.
  • Be mindful of in-state versus out-of-state tuition and fees. 
Cosas que hacer en el instituto y la universidad
  • Decide which career you want to pursue
  • Participate in courses related to law, psychology, and social work
  • Engage in volunteer activities related to community service or law enforcement
  • Seek internships or part-time jobs in correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies, or related fields to gain experience
  • Join clubs or organizations focused on criminal justice or community service
  • Stay physically fit and be ready for any background checks or medical exams
  • Consider taking some self-defense and weapons courses
  • Keep a record of your achievements, projects, and skills for your resume
  • Decide who you want to serve as your references. Ask for their permission to give out their contact information
  • Start studying for any pre-employment exams such as the REACT test or the Corrections Officer exam. Contact the potential employer if you have questions or need guidance with preparing. Most likely, they’ll be happy to assist! 
Correctional Officer/Probation Officer Roadmap
Correctional Officer/Probation Officer Roadmap
Cómo conseguir tu primer empleo
  • Sometimes the requirements can be confusing, so you’ll need to do some research!
  • Start studying for any pre-employment exams (such as the REACT test or the Corrections Officer exam). If you’re unsure about which test to study for, reach out to a potential employer and explain your goals
  • Review job postings on Indeed, Glassdoor, and National Testing Network, as well as local, state, and federal job portals dedicated to law enforcement and criminal justice careers
  • Check out USAJOBS’ pathway programs for information about federal jobs for students and recent graduates!
  • Considering joining the military as a Corrections/Detention Specialist
  • Review possible apprenticeship opportunities for Correctional Officers and Parole or Probation Officers  
  • Note the keywords in job ads. Try to incorporate them into your resume where possible
  • Depending on the role you’re applying for, popular resume keywords might include:
  1. Behavioral analysis
  2. Case management
  3. Compliance monitoring
  4. Resolución de conflictos
  5. Crisis intervention
  6. Drug testing
  7. Electronic monitoring
  8. Emergency response
  9. Incident reporting
  10. Inmate supervision
  11. Mental health support
  12. Offender tracking
  13. Public safety
  14. Recidivism reduction
  15. Rehabilitation
  16. Evaluación de riesgos
  17. Security Protocols
  • Take a look at templates for Correctional Officer, Parole Officer, and Probation Officer resumes to get tips and ideas
  • Practice for interviews by familiarizing yourself with common scenarios faced by Correctional, Parole, and Probation Officers.
  • Practice your replies in mock interviews with friends
  • Dress professionally for interviews!
  • Network with professionals in the field and ask for tips on job openings and advice for getting hired
  • Visit your school’s career center for help preparing resumes and doing mock interviews
Cómo subir la escalera
  • Talk with your supervisor about which professional development courses you could take the benefit the organization
  • Pursue advanced or specialized certifications such as in juvenile justice or substance abuse counseling
  • Consider earning a master’s degree in criminal justice or social work
  • Grow your network and establish a reputation as an effective officer
  • Participate in professional organizations. Volunteer to serve on committees or give speeches
  • Demonstrate leadership skills and ask to take on supervisory or administrative responsibilities
  • Find someone who can mentor you about career progression and options
  • Demonstrate loyalty to your employer, but if needed to advance your career, consider looking for jobs at larger organizations. You may have to relocate if there are no opportunities in your area
Herramientas/recursos recomendados

Páginas web


  • Corrections Officer Study Guide: Test Prep with Practice Questions for Correctional Exams, by Elissa Simon
  • Officer Survival for Probation and Parole Officers, by Scott Kirshner
  • The Correctional Officer: A Practical Guide, by Gary Cornelius 
Plan B

Working with offenders, parolees, and probationers all day can be stressful and may take a mental toll after a while. Stress or even job burnout can happen to even the more resilient officers!

If you’re interested in exploring some alternative careers related to law enforcement, social work, community service coordination, or security management, check out our list below!

  • Alguacil
  • Detective and Criminal Investigator
  • First-Line Supervisor of Police and Detectives
  • Trabajador social sanitario
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officer
  • Consejero de rehabilitación
  • Residential Advisor    
  • Security Guard
  • Asistente social
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
  • Transit and Railroad Police



Cursos y herramientas en línea