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How to Become a Tennessee Probation Officer

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The role of a probation officer is considered to be a Career Service job by the State of Tennessee Department of Human Resources. When filling any Career Service job positions in Tennessee, the state begins the interview process with the top five applicants from its applicant eligibility list. Becoming one of those top five applicants requires certain educational and work experience prerequisites and the completion of Tennessee's Career Service application process. The state's application process is simple to follow.


Obtain a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree is required when applying for any job level for a probation officer. Tennessee has three levels of probation officers: worker (includes an entry-level officer), manager and supervisor. The type of bachelor degree is not necessarily important for Tennessee probation positions but degrees in psychology, criminal justice, social work or law are helpful.

Obtain the necessary work experience. Applying for an entry-level probation position in Tennessee does not require prior work experience because entry-level probation officers are trained on the job. However, applying for an advanced probation officer position will require one or more years working in one of these areas: counseling, social work, investigation, probation, parole or the legal field. Graduate school courses can sometimes be substituted for work experience.

Search for open probation officer jobs at the State of Tennessee Department of Human Resources job search page.


Apply for a Tennessee probation officer job. Once you locate an open position, click on the “Apply” button and sign up for a free user account. Once you have signed up for the account, you can complete the application and submit it to the Department of Human Resources.

Complete any required testing. Entry-level probation officers in Tennessee must take a written test before being identified as eligible. After your application is reviewed, you will be informed of any tests that need to be taken before becoming eligible. The state will provide applicants with the information necessary to schedule and take the tests.

Wait to receive your rating score from the State of Tennessee Department of Human Resources. The receipt of a rating score lets you know that you are eligible for the probation officer position for which you have applied. Scores are usually received several weeks after applying for a job or after the completion of any requested tests.

Wait to be called for an interview. Eligible applicants are put on a list that is then used to select an applicant for an interview. The interviewing process begins with the first five eligible applicants. You may not be called for an interview if you are lower on the eligibility list. You may reapply when the probation officer position occurs at a later time.

Starting the Job

Submit to the fingerprint process. You will need to pass a background check and sign a release form allowing the state to examine all criminal records.

Get a current drivers license. Probation officers are often asked to drive to and from appointments using state or department-owned vehicles or their own cars.

Complete all other required training. Probation officers may be required to take further classes that train them to administer or manage drug testing, provide counseling sessions or give advice to offenders on employment and education opportunities.


Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.

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