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Career and Education Opportunities for Probation Officers in Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for probation officers. There are currently 660 working probation officers in South Carolina; this should grow 9% to about 710 working probation officers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for probation officers, which sees this job pool growing by about 19.3% over the next eight years. 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 $17 hourly or $35,900 annually on average in South Carolina and about $22 hourly or $45,910 per year on average nationally. Probation officers earn more than people working in the category of Social Work and Community Services generally in South Carolina and more than people in the Social Work and Community Services category nationally. Probation officers work in a variety of jobs, including: detention worker, drill instructor, and detention officer.

The Columbia area is home to twenty schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Columbia 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, it will take about four years to learn to be 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 Columbia include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • 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

Benedict College - Columbia, SC

Benedict College, 1600 Harden Street, Columbia, SC 29204-1086. Benedict College is a small college located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,892 students. Benedict College has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Midlands Technical College - West Columbia, SC

Midlands Technical College, 1260 Lexington Drive, West Columbia, SC 29170-2176. Midlands Technical College is a large college located in West Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,157 students. Midlands Technical College has an associate's degree program in Social Work which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

Columbia College - Columbia, SC

Columbia College, 1301 Columbia College Dr, Columbia, SC 29203. Columbia College is a small college located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,405 students and an admission rate of 77%. Columbia College has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated one student in 2008.

University of South Carolina-Columbia - Columbia, SC

University of South Carolina-Columbia, , Columbia, SC 29208. University of South Carolina-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,500 students and an admission rate of 59%. University of South Carolina-Columbia has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Social Work which graduated 188 and six students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina photo by Akhenaton06

Columbia is located in Richland County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 127,029, which has grown by 9.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia cost $142,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred thirty-four new homes were built in Columbia, down from seven hundred the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 35.7% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 16.1%, which is greater than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Progressive Church, Bishop Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lutheran Seminary are among the churches located in Columbia. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Columbia is home to the Booker T Washington Center and the Longstreet Annex as well as Irwin Park and Columbia Historic District II. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Shopping Center, Market Place Shopping Center and Columbiana Centre Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn Columbia-SE-Fort Jackson and Embassy Suites Hotel for temporary stays in the area.