The Profession of Probation
In 1980, the Indiana General Assembly concluded that the field of probation in Indiana is a judicial function and should be under the supervision of the Board of Directors of the Judicial Conference of Indiana. Since 1981, the Board has continuously been involved in studying the possible ways in which Indiana courts could be assisted in improving the delivery of probation services.
On December 9, 1983, the Board of Directors adopted new qualifications for prospective probation officers. These qualifications became effective on July 1, 1984, and have served to enhance the quality of probation as a profession in Indiana.
The Indiana Office of Court Services (IOCS) is the staff agency of the Judicial Conference and provides educational programming, research assistance and other services for the judges and probation departments in Indiana. The Office administers the examination for certification of prospective officers as required by the Judicial Conference qualifications.
On this page, you will find all pertinent information regarding the probation officer certification process. We look forward to serving you whenever possible and we appreciate your interest in becoming certified in a very challenging and rewarding profession. If you have any questions regarding this information, contact Chad Long at the following address and phone number:
Indiana Office of Court Services
251 North Illinois, Suite 800
Indianapolis, IN 46204
- A probation officer shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age.
- A probation officer shall be an American citizen.
- A person who submits an application to take the examination for prospective probation officers shall have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university or be in the last semester of a baccalaureate degree program. A person may not serve as a probation officer until he or she has received a baccalaureate degree.
- A person who submits an application to take the examination for prospective probation officers shall be a person of good moral character.
- A person shall take and pass an examination for prospective probation officers prior to employment or within six months from the date that the person is first employed as a probation officer.
- A person who fails the probation officer examination shall not be permitted to serve as a probation officer. The person is eligible to re-take the examination at the next available testing date.
- A person who fails the probation officer examination after a second attempt shall not be eligible to take the examination again or serve as a probation officer for one year after the date of the second examination.
- A probation officer shall be required to attend an orientation program conducted by IOCS within one year from the date that the officer is employed.
- The qualifications established by the Judicial Conference of Indiana shall be minimum qualifications only, and a trial court judge may require higher qualifications for probation officers.
- The qualifications established by the Judicial Conference of Indiana shall be effective on July 1, 1984. The qualifications shall not apply to persons who have been certified as eligible to serve as probation officers in Indiana courts prior to July 1, 1984.
Any person who meets the minimum qualifications as outlined may apply to take the Probation Officer Certification Examination. A person who meets these qualifications and is already serving in the position of a probation officer must take and pass the examination within six (6) months after his/her appointment according to Indiana Code § 11-13-1-1(b).
If you feel you are qualified to become a probation officer in Indiana, complete the application (below) and return it to this office with a $50.00 application fee (money order, cashier's check or certified check only). The application fee is nonrefundable. A photocopy of your state identification card or state drivers license (including a current picture) must accompany this application fee.
Qualified applications are held on file for one year from the date of receipt in this office. Failure by an applicant to pass the examination within that year will require a new application and payment of a new application fee.
In addition to the completed application and non-refundable fee, you must have a certified transcript sent directly from your college or university to this office for your application to be complete. We cannot accept a transcript from the applicant. The transcript must indicate that a bachelor's degree has been conferred, or that you are enrolled in the final semester of a college program leading toward graduation with a bachelor's degree.
Upon receipt of your completed application, the $50.00 non-refundable application fee and your college transcript, you will be notified of exam dates in the near future for which you may register.
It is your responsibility to see that your application is properly completed and returned to this office with the application fee, and that your college or university sends us your certified transcript. The completed application, $50.00 application fee, state photo and certified transcript must be received 3 weeks in advance of a scheduled examination date to allow sufficient time for processing.
The examination is offered once a month at 251 N. Illinois Street, Suite 800, in downtown Indianapolis. The next three available examination dates will be indicated in the email notifying the applicant that he/she is qualified to take the certification examination.
The examination will begin promptly at 1:00 p.m. and will last two (2) hours. The examination will be computerized and consists of multiple choice and true/false questions. The examination contains of questions that apply to juvenile law, criminal sentencing, general probation matters and evidence-based practices. The questions are based on the following: Titles 11, 31 & 35 of the Indiana Code, terms used in Juvenile and Criminal law, and basic knowledge of Criminal Justice.
Notes, outlines or other review may be brought with the applicant for last minute review, but will not be allowed during the exam. Beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, cola, etc), gum and candy are permitted in the examination room.
The score of the examination is kept confidential and is only released if the applicant fails. The results will be e-mailed to the applicant following the examination. If the applicant is currently employed as a probation officer, a copy of the notification results will be e-mailed to the chief probation officer. No examination results will be released by telephone to anyone at any time.
Study Guide References & Materials
The Indiana Office of Court Services recommends studying the study guide provided below and neither requires nor endorses any other study materials.
Statutory materials may be found in any court law library, probation department, and law firm, including university and public libraries. You may also find it helpful to study a dictionary of commonly used legal Terms associated with criminal justice and the courts.