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Career Overview

Probation officers are responsible for supervising and supporting adult clients under court-ordered community supervision. In British Columbia, there are around 18,000 Community Corrections clients being supervised by probation officers each day. These individuals have either been ordered to await trial in the community or serve a community sentence, such as a probation order, a conditional sentence order, or a recognizance order.

Probation officers have a range of complex duties that include assessing risk and developing case management strategies based on the Risk Needs Responsivity principle. They also provide individual and group interventions that target the factors most linked to criminal recidivism for sentenced clients. Probation officers monitor compliance with court-ordered conditions, prepare court reports, testify in criminal trials, liaise with justice and community partners, and refer clients to appropriate community-based resources.

As members of the Community Corrections Division of BC Corrections probation officers work in alignment with three main goals: support behavior change through cognitive-behavioral interventions, provide innovative case management for clients, and strengthen communities through partnerships. 

Career Prospects

Probation officers are a specialized and vital component of the correctional system. BC Corrections foresees a significant and consistent demand for probation officers over the next decade due to retirements and workforce projections. Probation officers are located in 56 communities throughout the province, and job openings will be present in all locations, with more demand in northern areas of BC and smaller communities. As required by the 19th  Main Agreement hired probation officers for permanent positions must remain within their geographic location for 2 years before applying for equivalent positions in other areas of the province.
There are three classifications of probation officers.  

Probation officer 14s supervise clients assessed as low risk for re-offending and clients awaiting trial. They prepare Alternative Measures reports and may assist with the delivery of correctional programs.  Probation officer 14s generally deal with a higher number of clients but have briefer interactions and do not apply interventions.  Probation officer 14s must be flexible and have strong organizational and decision-making skills.  Probation officer 14 positions exist in some, but not all locations, depending on the staffing needs of that office and community.

Probation officers assess client risk and supervise medium and high-risk sentenced clients.  They facilitate correctional programs, write Pre-Sentence Reports and teach cognitive behavioural interventions to clients. Probation officers have lower caseloads than a probation officer 14 but provide more intensive supervision and support to their sentenced clients.  They also participate in regular professional development activities to enhance their client service work.  Probation officers must be empathic, have strong written and oral communication skills and be motivated to continually develop their skills.  Probation officers position exist in all locations in the province.  This is the largest classification of probation officer and the one with the greatest anticipated need.

Job opportunities are posted on the BC Public Service Website. Job applicants are required to create an account to view and apply to current positions.

For career outlook information for probation officers, visit the BC Public Service Featured Careers page.

Adult probation officer applicant information packages can be found here: Adult Probation Officer 14 or Adult Probation Officer 24 positions.

For more information about BC Corrections, including Community Corrections, visit the Profile of BC Corrections.  

For information about parole officers, visit the Correctional Service of Canada website.

Probation Officer Competencies

  • Continuous Development
  • Decisive Insight
  • Flexibility
  • Integrity
  • Cultural Agility
  • Listening, Understanding and Responding
  • Service Orientation
  • Teamwork and Cooperation

 For specific definitions of these competencies, visit the BC Public Service webpage.

Position Requirements

  • 60 credits of post-secondary education (preferred completion of a bachelor’s degree in a relevant social science area of study from a recognized post-secondary institution)
  • Successful completion of the JIBC Adult Probation Officer online course
  • Valid Class 5 driver’s license (a valid Class 7 may be considered)
  • Clean criminal record and successful completion of an enhanced security screening
  • Educational requirements:
    • Adult Probation Officer 14 - Completion of two years of credit towards a degree or education equivalency (60 credits of post- secondary education towards a diploma or degree will be accepted as equivalent to a two-year diploma). For more information, review the job application information package for Adult Probation Officer 14 positions
    • Adult Probation Officer 24 - A Bachelor’s degree (4 years; 120 credits), instructed in the English language, from a recognized Canadian institution, with a minimum of 35% of the credits at 300 & 400 level courses.  For more information, review the job application information package for Adult Probation Officer 24 positions.


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