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Become a Probation Officer

Help reduce reoffending and cut crime

As a Probation Officer you'll manage offenders, victims and vulnerable people in the community by working with agencies such as the police force and social services. You'll work to protect the public by reducing crime, safeguarding victims and rehabilitating offenders in a community, court or prison setting.

Probation Officer training

Our training programme supports you in becoming a fully qualified Probation Officer with a Level 6 Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) or BA (Hons) Community Justice. You could also gain a Diploma of Higher Education in Community Justice (DipHE). Our training is delivered by subject specialists and many of our academic staff have worked as qualified Probation Officers in the past.

We hold contracts with the Ministry of Justice and other community rehabilitation companies to train Probation Officers in England and Wales, and are contracted to deliver all aspects of the Community Justice Learning framework in the following Probation Divisions:

  • London Probation Division
  • South East and Eastern Probation Division
  • South West and South Central Probation Division
  • Wales National Probation Service

If you work for a community rehabilitation company and are interested in collaborating with us, please send an email to

Level 4 Probation Preparation Certificate

If you have a Level 3 Vocational Qualification in Community Justice (or equivalent) and are looking to progress your career, this 3 month distance learning course will improve your academic study skills and help you prepare a Recognition of Prior Learning portfolio. This course also prepares you for the Level 5 Diploma in High Education (DipHE) Community Justice.

To apply for this course you should contact your NPS Divisional Training Manager or your Community Rehabilitation Company. If you want to self-fund or you're not applying through an organisation, please contact

View the course

Level 5 DipHE in Community Justice

This 12-month Diploma of Higher Education allows you to develop your skills and knowledge in areas including community justice, criminology and rehabilitation. You'll need a Level 4 Higher Education award or Probation Preparation Certificate to be eligible for this course.

You'll cover the 4 Knowledge Modules you need to progress to the Level 6 Professional Qualification in Probation. You'll also complete a module in Critical Thinking in Community Justice and have the option to complete units including Hate Crime, Victims and Restorative Justice in Criminal Justice, and Dual Diagnosis.

Taught by specialists in the field, this course is recognised and regulated on behalf of the employer by the Probation Quality Assurance Board (PQAB), the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), of the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales.

To register for this course you should contact your NPS Divisional Training Manager or Community Rehabilitation Company. To self-funding your diploma, contact

Level 5 Knowledge Modules

You will need to complete at least 3 of the 4 knowledge modules to be eligible for the Level 6 Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP).

The knowledge modules are:

These 4 modules are covered on our Level 5 DipHE Community Justice course or are available to study individually if you have a Level 5 Higher Education award but haven't studied these topics. The Knowledge Modules are available via distance learning at any time, so you can study from anywhere in your own time and submit assignments online.

If you complete all 4 knowledge modules you'll receive a Certificate in Probation Knowledge.

Visit the relevant course page to register for these modules.

If you've already studied the topics taught on the knowledge modules (i.e. by taking units that cover these topics on a Level 5 DipHE Community Justice qualification at another provider), you can apply for PQiP using the Gateway Assessment Service without studying the knowledge modules individually. Contact your NPS Divisional Training Manager or Community Rehabilitation Company to apply.

Level 6 Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) / BA (Hons) Community Justice

The Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) is a full time, 21-month or 15-month work-based training course equivalent to a Higher Education level 6 qualification.

You’ll develop practical and academic learning skills to work as a Probation Services Officer (PSO) while you study and become a Probation Officer when you qualify.

As a PSO, you'll complete various tasks including compiling in-depth reports for court, undertaking risk assessments and supervising offenders on a one-to-one basis. You will have a series of placements such as working in court and custodial placements.

You'll also complete 9 months of academic study. This will be via distance learning and include online seminars, masterclasses delivered in your Probation Division, and regular contact with your tutor. You'll study topics including Core Processes of Change, Critical Issues in Risk Assessment and Public Protection, and you'll complete a work-based learning project. You'll also attend masterclasses in subjects such as Diversity and Equality.

To qualify for PQiP, you'll need:

  • experience working in a relevant area
  • a recognised qualification at Level 5 or above (including a Diploma of Higher Education, Foundation, Honours Degree, Higher Apprenticeship)
  • evidence of having passed 3 of the 4 required Knowledge Modules (all required knowledge modules are included in our DipHE)

To apply for Level 6 PQiP, contact your National Probation Service Divisional Training Manager or Community Rehabilitation Company. You'll be assessed and assigned to either the 15-month or 21-month training programme depending on your previous academic study.

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