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How to Become a Probation Officer in New Jersey

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Probation officers are responsible for supervising adult offenders who have been granted probation to avoid a prison sentence. Probation officers must also collect fines from offenders and oversee any assigned community service. Juvenile offenders are also assigned probation officers, who must guarantee that the offenders complete the terms of their probation, according to the NJ Courts Online website. Outside of a college degree and relevant work experience, as a probation officer you must be 21 years old, be in superior physical condition, have a valid New Jersey driver's license and possess excellent communications skills, as you will have to interact often with dangerous offenders, as well as their families and attorneys.

Work out regularly to maintain the superior physical condition that is needed.

Earn a bachelor's degree in social work, criminal justice or psychology. Rutgers University, Kean University and Camden County College are generally viewed as having the state's top criminal justice programs. Candidates who are interested in advancement may also have to return to school to pursue a master's degree in one of the aforementioned fields.

Attain some practical experience upon graduating. This may entail working in: probation, parole, corrections, social work or law enforcement. Complete a state-mandated training course that will outline some of the codes and procedures you will have to adhere to while on the job.

Enroll in a New Jersey Civil Service Commission (CSC) exam review in the area to help you prepare for the exam, which will test your ability to communicate clearly, as well as your grasp of the state criminal justice system. Also be sure to familiarize yourself with New Jersey Administrative Code Title 10A. Registration applications for the exam are available on the state DOP website, and a limited number will be available at libraries and employment offices.

Pass the civil service exam, administered by the New Jersey State Department of Personnel (DOP), to receive your certification. Most candidates will then go through a year-long probationary period, before embarking on their full-time career.

Undergo training that includes an orientation, training class and a number of safety classes. If you will carry a firearm, you will need to complete a Police Training Commission course. Search online job listing sites like Indeed for vacancies in your area.

Tip

While probation officers typically work 40 hours per week, essentially they are expected to work as long as it takes to complete their duties. They are also often on-call 24 hours a day.

About the Author

Marlon Trotsky was born in St. Paul, Minn. and graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, while minoring in sociology. His work has appeared in various print and online publications, including: "The Trentonian," "San Jose Mercury News" and "Oakland Tribune."

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