- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of psychology
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to work on your own
- customer service skills
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- knowledge of English language
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
In this role you could:
- interview offenders before sentencing or parole
- make sure offenders attend supervision appointments and take part in group programmes
- run programmes to change offenders' behaviour
- assess risks and write reports to help prisons and parole review boards decide about early release
- work with victims of violent or sexual crime when prisoners are being considered for parole
- work with prisoners about to be released
You could work in a prison, in a court, in an office or in the community.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
With experience you could become a senior probation officer.
With further training you could specialise in working with particular groups, like high-risk or sexual offenders.
Further promotion usually means moving into management and away from working with offenders. You could become an area manager.
You'll find more on how to become a probation officer from HM Prison & Probation Service.