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Parole Officer

Career Overview

A parole officer works in the criminal justice system, usually within the court structure, supervising convicted criminals who have been released from jail after completing their sentences. A parole officer works with a plan developed for the parolee that includes employment search or training, usually random drug testing, family re-integration and readjustment to life back in society.

Parole officers have a case load of parolees with whom they meet on a regular basis, often in the home and with the parolee's family. They generally have some control over the parolee's right to travel and right to associate with former associates. Parole officers take an active interest in the parolee's activities, write reports for the court and make periodic appearances to give oral reports to a judge or parole board.


Parole officer applicants are expected to hold a bachelors degree. Some experience in the penal system or courts is helpful for entry level applicants. Parole officers who wish to work their way up to a supervisory role often return to school to obtain a masters degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Current Employment

There were 94,000 people employed as probation officers, correctional treatment specialists and parole officers in 2006.

Job Outlook

The field is expected to grow as fast as the national average for all job classifications over the next several years. Some parole officers are seeking early retirement due to the case load that can be overwhelming in some jurisdictions.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $13.65  $28,400
Median Salary  $21.40  $44,510
Highest 10%  $36.34  $75,790

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