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Career and Education Opportunities for Probation Officers in Huntsville, Alabama

If you want to be a probation officer, the Huntsville, Alabama area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 840 people work as probation officers in Alabama. This is expected to grow by 17% to 990 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for probation officers are expected to grow by about 19.3%. In general, probation officers provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole.

Probation officers earn about $19 per hour or $39,720 annually on average in Alabama and about $22 per hour or $45,910 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Social Work and Community Services, people working as probation officers in Alabama earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Social Work and Community Services nationally. People working as probation officers can fill a number of jobs, such as: deputy juvenile officer, detention attendant, and certified juvenile probation officer.

The Huntsville area is home to eleven schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Huntsville where you can get a degree as a probation officer. Given that the most common education level for probation officers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become a probation officer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Probation Officer

In general, probation officers provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. They also make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.

Probation officers consider with offenders how such issues as drug and alcohol abuse and anger management problems might have played roles in their criminal behavior. They also write reports describing offenders' progress. Equally important, probation officers have to manage medical or substance abuse treatment services in line with individual needs or court orders. Finally, probation officers ready and maintain case folders for each assigned inmate or offender.

Every day, probation officers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for probation officers to design rehabilitation programs for assigned offenders or inmates, establishing rules of conduct and objectives. They are often called upon to inform offenders or inmates of requirements of conditional release, such as office visits or educational and employment stipulations. They also gather data related to offenders' backgrounds by talking to offenders, their families and friends, and other people who have relevant data. They are sometimes expected to design liaisons and networks with other parole officers and aftercare agencies to develop for helping offenders with life adjustments. Somewhat less frequently, probation officers are also expected to conduct prehearing and presentencing investigations and testify in court regarding offenders' backgrounds and recommended sentences and sentencing conditions.

Probation officers sometimes are asked to assess the suitability of penitentiary inmates for release under parole and statutory release programs and submit recommendations to parole boards. They also have to be able to supervise people on community-based sentences, including people on electronically monitored home detention and manage postrelease services, such as employment and social activities. And finally, they sometimes have to investigate alleged parole violations, using interviews, surveillance, and search and seizure.

Like many other jobs, probation officers must be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Huntsville include:

  • Child and Family Services Worker. Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist single parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers on how to deal with problem children.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Probation Officer Training

Oakwood University - Huntsville, AL

Oakwood University, 7000 Adventist Blvd NW, Huntsville, AL 35896. Oakwood University is a small university located in Huntsville, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,850 students and an admission rate of 57%. Oakwood University has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Alabama A & M University - Normal, AL

Alabama A & M University, 4900 Meridian St, Normal, AL 35762. Alabama A & M University is a medium sized university located in Normal, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,124 students and an admission rate of 49%. Alabama A & M University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Social Work which graduated forty-seven and thirty-nine students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama photo by Anivron

Huntsville is located in Madison County, Alabama. It has a population of over 176,645, which has grown by 11.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Huntsville, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Huntsville are valued at $44,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,004 new homes were constructed in Huntsville, down from 1,558 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Huntsville are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 36.1% of Huntsville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Huntsville is 7.6%, which is less than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Huntsville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.2%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Whitesburg Church of God, Whitesburg Church and Maple Grove Church are among the churches located in Huntsville. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Huntsville is home to the Valley Hill Golf and Country Club and the Lowe Industrial Park as well as John H Steigerwood Field and Milton Frank Stadium. Shopping malls in the area include Madison Plaza Shopping Center, Madison Square Mall Shopping Center and Memorial Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Huntsville can choose from King's Inn, Candlewood Suites and Economy Inn for temporary stays in the area.