Social Worker or Probation Officer? Which One Would You Be?

WHICH ONE WOULD Which One Would You Choose For a Career? Social Workers and Probation Officers play a very important part in our environment. Each career has its own plans, goals, and quotas to meet. One thing you will notice is how similar the two are, but also how different they are. One career is not better than the other nor held higher than another because they both provide safety and security in their own individual ways for our society. There are a lot of similarities regarding the duties Social Workers and Probation Officers share, they just conduct their businesses in different ways.

Both work with juveniles, adults, and families, although Probation Officers’ clients are individuals who need to be monitored because they committed crimes. Both help clients receive job training, education, and rehabilitation treatments. Social workers and Probation Officers spend a lot of time assisting the Judicial System. Social workers start legal action in cases of child abuse, while Probation Officers recommend sentencing, conduct pretrial investigations, and make regular reports to the court for those under their supervision. To become a Social worker or Probation Officer, a Bachelor’s degree is a must.

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It is recommended to Major in Sociology and Psychology. While for Probation Officers it is good to major or minor in criminology. On the other hand Social Workers need Master’s Degree for a majority of the positions that are held. A license and certification is required for Social workers, whereas for Probation Officers, it is recommended to have two years experience in Social Welfare Agencies or Correctional Institutions. The average salary for a Social Worker is 34,820 dollars a year, while Probation Officers make approximately 39,600 dollars a year.

Social workers and Probation Officers work 40 hours per week and may include weekends and some evenings. Probation Officers are hired within the County while Social Workers are hired within the State, Government, or Private agencies. Most assignments for both Social Workers and Probation Officers exist within cities, suburbs, and rural areas. But social workers are most likely to spend more time in hospitals, schools, offices, and jails. Traveling is required in both career fields to meet with clients and victims. Social workers experience frustration, challenges, fulfillment, and emotional drainage.

While Probation Officers experience physical and emotional drainage. As a Social worker you have many opportunities for advancement with different branches throughout the field. For example Child Welfare, Family Services, Child Protection Services, and Occupational Services; unlike the Probation department, there are only administration and casework branches in the field. To advance in the Probation department you must take a civil test to become a Supervisor of other Probation Officers, Chief Probation Officer, or Director of Probation.

On the other hand, a Social worker can become a Senior Case Worker, Case Worker Supervisor, and/or Chief Social Worker with a Master’s Degree. As you can see Social workers and Probation Officers are similar but very different. The average salary, number of hours, and duties are close to being the same. The only differences are the education requirements, experience, and types of clients. Each career has its pros and cons and importance to our society. Which one would you choose to become?


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