Parole administrators supervise and provide services to individuals released from prison. This includes preparing plans for the rehabilitation, treatment, education and employment of former inmates. A parole administrator career path may begin with enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists will increase rapidly in coming years. Job growth will occur as probation and parole become more widespread as alternatives to incarceration in budget-conscious states, spurring demand for parole administrators.
Individuals released from prison are often placed on parole, under the supervision of parole agents and administrators. Parole administrators work to keep offenders out of trouble and ensure that former inmates meet the requirements of their release. As part of their job duties, parole administrators often meet parolees in their homes or at work to monitor their behavior and movements.
Parole administrators may use information from parolees’ friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members to develop rehabilitation plans and obtain services for their charges. Other responsibilities include creating progress reports and maintaining case folders for each parolee they supervise.
These criminal justice professionals may recommend drug or alcohol treatment or anger management training in an effort to help offenders avoid criminal behavior. Interacting with community service agencies is another important part of the parole administrator’s work, and may involve arranging housing, medical care, counseling, education and social activities for parolees.
At times, parole administrators work with law enforcement agencies, investigating parole violations or criminal behavior. These investigations typically involve processes such as interviewing, surveillance, or search and seizure. Additional aspects of a parole administrator’s job may include testifying in hearings and judicial proceeding as well as arresting parolees accused of parole violation or criminal behavior.
A typical work week for a parole administrator is 40 hours. Some work longer hours, and may be required to be on call to supervise and assist offenders at any time.
According to BLS data from May 2009, the average salary for probation officers and correction treatment specialists – including parole administrators – was $50,500. The middle 50% earned between $36,030 and $62,080. Salaries for the lowest 10% were about $30,540, while the top 10% earned upwards of $78,860. Recent bachelor’s degree graduates will generally start out toward the lower end of the range. Parole administrators with extensive experience and advanced education generally earn the top salaries.
Most parole administrator positions require a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology or criminal justice. Some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree and work experience, or a master’s degree. Some states require parole agents and administrators to complete a training program and certification test.
The road to a career as a parole administrator can begin with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Coursework typically includes introduction to criminal justice, criminology, criminal investigation, and law enforcement systems.
Employers can be confident that graduates of a criminal justice program are able to:
Many employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use tuition assistance to further your education.
If you have an interest in helping others and protecting the public, then becoming a parole administrator could be a great career option for you. This occupation requires excellent communication skills, tact, emotional stability and the ability to inspire respect and confidence. By honing these attributes and earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you could be on your way to a rewarding career as a parole administrator!