Probation officers


Average Annual Pay

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Average Weekly Hours

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Unemployment Rate

Labour Force Survey 2018

Future employment projections (Working Futures UK)


Probation officers work to rehabilitate offenders. They supervise, counsel and help them before trial, during any prison or community sentence and on release from prison.


Candidates are recruited with a variety of academic qualifications or with relevant experience. In England and Wales all candidates must complete a two-year Diploma in Probation studies. There is a minimum age limit of 20 years to undertake training. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, entry requirements are the same as for social workers. Background checks including a CRB check are required.

Typical tasks

  • produces pre-sentence reports to the court about an individual’s crime, their personal circumstances, the suitability of sentencing, the likelihood of re-offending and the future risk to the public;
  • enforces court orders and serves the public by providing a wide range of supervision programmes for those in receipt of a community sentence;
  • draws up probation plans with offenders and helps them follow it, advises them on any work and helps them with any family or social problems;
  • works with prisoners in giving advice on problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, addressing training needs, finding work and getting accommodation;
  • keeps accurate and comprehensive records.

Common job titles

Officer, probation
Officer, justice, youth
Officer, probation, chief
Officer, service, community (probation service)
Inspector (National Probation Service)

Education background

Destination of Leavers survey, supplied by the Higher Education Statistics.