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Career and Education Opportunities for Probation Officers in Laredo, Texas

For those living in the Laredo, Texas area, there are many career and education opportunities for probation officers. Currently, 6,000 people work as probation officers in Texas. This is expected to grow by 21% to about 7,240 people by 2016. This is better than 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.

Income for probation officers is about $16 per hour or $33,460 per year on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $22 per hour or $45,910 yearly. Earnings for probation officers are better than earnings in the general category of Social Work and Community Services in Texas and better than general Social Work and Community Services category earnings nationally. Probation officers work in a variety of jobs, including: juvenile probation officer, parole supervisor, and prisoner classification interviewer.

The Laredo area is home to five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Laredo where you can get a degree as a probation officer. Probation officers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Laredo 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

Texas A & M International University - Laredo, TX

Texas A & M International University, 5201 University Blvd, Laredo, TX 78041-1900. Texas A & M International University is a medium sized university located in Laredo, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,859 students and an admission rate of 63%. Texas A & M International University has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated nine students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Laredo, Texas

Laredo, Texas
Laredo, Texas photo by Billy_Hathorn

Laredo is situated in Webb County, Texas. It has a population of over 221,659, which has grown by 25.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Laredo, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Laredo cost $137,000 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, six hundred sixty-eight new homes were constructed in Laredo, down from 1,257 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Laredo are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, other transportation, and support activities, and couriers, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 14.7% of Laredo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Laredo is 8.1%, which is the same as Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Laredo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 73.6%, is more than both the national and state average. El Buen Pastor Assembly of God Church, El Mesias United Methodist Church and Heights Baptist Church are among the churches located in Laredo. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Laredo is home to the Webb County Courthouse and the Dolores Ranch as well as Shirley Field and Laredo Entertainment Center. Visitors to Laredo can choose from Blue Caribbean Ventures, Motel 9 and Bender Hotel for temporary stays in the area.