Probation Officer Salary: What You'll Earn

A Career as a Probation Officer in the Criminal Justice System Can Offer Promising Earning Opportunities

A probation officer's work goes far deeper than reviewing paperwork and communicating requirements for their assigned cases. They also play a key role in the rehabilitation of offenders by organizing support programs, providing useful information to officers, and helping them transition into a new life. Not only does the work hold meaning, but the probation officer's salary reflects their hard work. With several branches to choose from, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows steady, consistent job growth of 6% in this field and excellent pay for a career that involves little prior training. Read on for more facts and statistics about this growing field.

How Much Do Probation Officers Earn?

Typically, an entry-level position in this field requires a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field; students acquire much of the training through on-the-job learning. Obtaining a master's degree in criminal justice may warrant advancement in a criminal justice career, but additional experience also opens doors to higher-paying jobs and promotions.

Probation officers often work on the state or local level, with the local level typically paying slightly more

A probation officer's salary also depends on the type of work they are doing. Thanks to the career's nature, more densely populated areas and higher crime rates naturally require more of a need for probation officers, meaning professionals find jobs more easily in larger cities. Probation officers often work on the state or local level, with the local level typically paying slightly more; however, a host of other industries exist, including individual and family services and residential care facilities. Although these fields pay less on average, they still offer competitive wages for an entry-level worker.

Probation officers earn between about $38,000 to $60,000. Continue reading to find specific information about average probation officer salaries in several fields available to professionals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median annual salary for probation officers was $53,020 in May 2018. The top 10 percent earned $94,770, and the lowest 10 percent earned $34,630.

What's My Earning Potential as a Probation Officer?

For recent graduates of a bachelor's program in criminal justice or a related field, a career as a probation officer offers excellent starting pay and promises growth with gained experience. Although many probation officers use the skills and experiences they acquire at this job to launch into a higher-level career, a lifelong career as a probation officer offers rewarding and well-paid work. The following table illustrates what a probation officer earns on average throughout their career. Actual salaries vary depending on location and industry, meaning readers should also check statistics specific to their situation.

Average Pay by Experience Level for probation Officers
Entry Level (0-12 Months) $38,000
Early Career (1-4 Years) $39,000
Midcareer (5-9 Years) $43,000
Experienced (10-19 Years) $48,000

Source: PayScale

How Do Probation Officer Careers Compare to Other Criminal Justice Careers?

While looking to pursue a career in criminal justice and also researching all available options, the following chart serves as a helpful tool, listing median salaries and job growth rates for five other law enforcement careers, allowing you to easily compare them to a probation officer career. Although the actual salary of these careers depends on experience and location, these averages help gather a general idea of the various career paths. Many of the careers have a comparable median salary, but overall probation officers have higher salaries in many of their different industries. However, because there are so many excellent jobs with consistent projected growth rates, working as a probation officer may provide enough entry-level experience to land another excellent job in the criminal justice field.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs $43,510 -7%
Police and Detectives $62,960 7%
Social and Human Service Assistants $33,750 16%
Social Workers $49,470 6%
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $44,630 23%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Take the Next Step in Your Probation Officer Career Today

Probation officers primarily help people transition back into their community after serving time as a law offender. With consistent job growth and a median salary of $53,060, these professionals remain steadfast in their demanding but rewarding careers. To begin the next step in a probation officer career, follow the link below to read a comprehensive job description.

Learn More About Probation Officer Jobs

Take the first step in pursuing your passion for law enforcement

Explore More Careers in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement

If you still need more information on a career in criminal justice and law enforcement, the links below can help. Doing thorough research on all of your options requires a lot of work, so these links serve as more tools to learn about criminal justice careers and degrees.