Probation Services Officer

Job Description:

Probation services officers (PSOs) supervise people serving community and prison sentences who are considered to be 'low-risk'.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • gather information and interview offenders
  • assess the risk an offender may pose to the public
  • prepare court reports
  • deliver individual or group programmes to challenge offending behaviour
  • help clients get work or training, housing, or drug and alcohol treatment
  • arrange and supervise community work placements for offenders
  • supervise residents living in approved accommodation
  • support victims of crime
  • give education or employment support to prisoners in the community or before their release
  • work with other agencies like the police, drug and alcohol services, social services, and health organisations


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Probation Services Officer, you’ll typically need a strong educational background and essential skills to work with individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Here are some suggested subjects that can help prepare you for a career in probation services:

  1. English: Strong communication skills are essential for working with clients, writing reports, and documenting case details.
  2. Mathematics: While not a strict requirement, having a good foundation in mathematics can be useful for analysing data and managing case files.
  3. Psychology or Sociology: These subjects can help you understand human behavior, which is crucial for working with individuals in the criminal justice system.
  4. Health and Social Care: Courses in this area can provide insights into social issues, healthcare, and the challenges faced by individuals involved with the criminal justice system.
  5. Law (if available): If your school offers law courses, taking them can provide valuable insights into the legal system and criminal justice procedures.
  6. Citizenship or Government & Politics: These subjects can help you understand the government and legal systems, which is relevant to probation services work.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • applying directly


You may find it helps your application if you take a college course. Entry requirements for these courses vary.

Direct Application

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

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 Diploma in Probation Practice during your first 12 months to qualify as a probation services officer.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends flexibly.

You could work in a prison, in a court, in the community or in an office.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could move into a supervisory role, or train as a probation officer.