Becoming a probation officer is a challenging, but also exciting career. Personally I think every jobs needs to be challenging to be fun and exciting. After all, if a job is boring and under-challenging then the next 30-40 years in your work life will not be very satisfying and pretty. When becoming a probation officer you can expect some work as seen on TV sometimes, but it might not always be as exciting as it is displayed on these TV shows.
When starting out as a probation officer a lot of time is spend on learning the ropes and you will usually receive a lot of training. One reason why there is so much training involved is the nature of the people you are dealing with as part of your job. You are going to work with people who have just been released from prison and there will be a lot of challenges heading your way. Many of these former prisoners are not very interested in working with you. Some might see it as an opportunity to start over and to get their life in order while others might see you as an enemy of the system and that’s where a lot of the associated risks of this job come into play.
As a probation officer you might be dealing with violent people. You might have to visit those parts of town where you will feel very unsafe and would prefer to not even stop at a red light due to fear. Job descriptions for these careers in criminal justice often include a phrase like this:
Contact involves occasional exposure to physical injury, illness or hazards as a continuous part of the position. May occasionally have exposure to unsafe working conditions, people, or elements, and may have to take precautions when performing tasks.
If that is something that makes you think twice, then a criminal justice career as a probation officer might not be the choice for you. I was actually quite shocked after reading the above statement on an actual job description of the State of Colorado. Granted I am not working myself in a criminal justice career I realize how different jobs really are that keep our public system working and my respect for people working in criminal justice has gotten bigger.
So, working as a probation officer in criminal justice involves appropriate training, but I assume it is recommended that potential candidates also have a certain physical fitness that will help them to stand up to any challenge that is heading their way when being a probation officer.