Probation officer career opportunities

Last updated: September 23, 2021

BC Corrections, community division

Vision of the community corrections division

The community corrections division leads change every day. As a research-based organization, we develop programs and services based on the most current knowledge and understanding of 'what works' in community supervision.

We strive to support our clients in making positive changes which contribute to safe communities for all British Columbians. To accomplish this goal, our first priority is to support our staff so they can provide innovative and effective service to our clients. 

Probation officer role

Probation officers are agents of change. They work with adult clients providing support, guidance and the administration of court orders. Probation officers help their clients change their criminal behaviour to pro-social behaviour through the application of the risk-needs-responsivity (RNR) model of correctional supervision. Probation officers teach skills and interventions when instructing CORE programs and to clients during individual appointments.

Probation officers work in 55 community corrections offices throughout B.C., often driving to smaller communities or remote areas to provide service. In addition to supporting clients, probation officers are designated peace officers and act as officers of the court, providing assistance to the criminal court process as required. This position can include writing court reports, testifying in criminal trials and laying information with a justice of the peace.

There are 2 classifications of a probation officer:

  • Probation officer 14 supervises low risk clients and clients who are awaiting disposition on criminal court matters.
  • Probation officer 24 supervises medium and high-risk clients.

Work environment and compensation

Probation officers work with adult clients who may have behavioural, health and mental health challenges. Many of our clients are socially marginalized and victims of trauma or intergenerational abuse. They can also be motivated, engaged and sincere. To be effective, probation officers must be able to develop safe, compassionate relationships with all their clients, work collaboratively with community and justice partners and have strong communication skills. 

Community corrections has an excellent training program which equips staff to support their clients and develop meaningful working relationships. Every office has a thorough safety program to protect staff from physical harm and all staff have access to benefits and resources to maintain their own well-being.

Probation officers work in an office setting, but also see clients in the community, or in their homes. A sense of adventure is an asset and travel may be required, as community corrections provides services to all of British Columbia.

Probation officers in B.C. report a high degree of personal job suitability and value teamwork and cooperation with their colleagues. Probation officers are members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU). Community corrections offers competitive salaries and a comprehensive benefits package in accordance with the current Main Agreement.

Financial compensation is at grid level social program officer 24 or probation interviewer 15, depending on the officer’s classification. Please review the total compensation information for a Probation Officer 14 Step 5 (PDF, 201KB) and for a Probation Officer 24 Step 5 (PDF, 238KB).

Becoming a probation officer

If you're interested in becoming a probation officer, there are many ways to prepare for this meaningful work, in addition to obtaining the required qualifications:

  • Paid or volunteer experience working with marginalized adults who are involved in the criminal justice system and/or have substance misuse or mental health needs is sought-after experience in new applicants
  • Consider working in communities beyond B.C.’s urban locations
    • B.C.’s smaller communities offer fantastic career development opportunities and a chance to experience some of the best lifestyles B.C. has to offer
  • Consider short-term or temporary positions
    • Most staff hired into temporary or auxiliary positions continue working full-time until they secure a permanent position
  • Reach out to individual local managers about probation officer opportunities
    • Auxiliary positions of less than 6 months may not be widely advertised

Please review the list of community corrections offices. Permanent probation officer positions and auxiliary positions over 6 months are advertised through the Current B.C. Government job postings page.

To learn more, please review the applicant information packages for a Probation Officer 14 (PDF, 309KB) and a Probation Officer 24 (PDF, 408KB).

Training and development

Once hired, probation officers are enrolled in a world class training program offered in collaboration with the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

The blended training model uses:

  • Online classes
  • In-person courses
  • Workplace training

Probation officers receive their base pay during the training period and all training is completed during work hours. Once basic training is complete, probation officers are offered advanced training in strategic community supervision, the supervision of sex offenders and the delivery of CORE programs.

In addition, probation officers work continuously on their professional development through clinical support meetings, leadership training and other professional development opportunities.

If you would like to learn more about the role of a probation officer in B.C., please visit the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s website for further information about the 'Corr1000: Adult Probation Officer' course.