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Changing lives for a safer London
The London Community Rehabilitation Company works with offenders to help them lead responsible and law abiding lives.
Our over-riding aim is to reduce reoffending and protect the public.

Becoming a Probation Officer

How to train to become a Probation OfficerPQF Student

Probation Qualifications Framework (PQF)

On 1 April 2010, a new training programme for the Probation Service was introduced – the Probation Qualifications Framework (PQF).

Although the previous qualification, the Diploma in Probation Studies, is still recognised, this qualification route is no longer available to new entrants.

The Probation Qualifications Framework has been designed to allow staff to progress through ascending levels of qualification so that they can be qualified either as a Probation Service Officer or a Probation Officer, the two main operational roles which deal directly with offenders.

The qualifications are gained during employment with the service.


There are two major routes to qualification as a Probation Officer:


1.       Candidates can initially apply for a post as a Probation Service Officer and achieve the Probation Vocational Qualification (VQ) at Level 3 (this is normally achieved within 12 months).


2.       Existing staff or external applicants with relevant degrees can apply for a place on the Graduate Diploma scheme within the Probation Qualification Framework (this takes a minimum of 15 months).

Applicants for this route need to have an Honours Degree in a relevant subject – at present, NOMS have determined that the only relevant degrees are:

  • Community Justice
  • Criminal Justice
  • Police Studies
  • Criminology
  • or these subjects combined with Law or Social Science.

The first step to pursue these qualifications and a career in the Probation Service as a Probation Service Officer or a Probation Officer is to join the Probation Service at one of the specified entry points shown above.

When you have successfully completed the Probation Qualifications Framework, you will be able to apply for Probation Officer positions as they become available.

We advertise vacancies on our jobs website in addition to other media.


For more information about becoming a Probation Officer please email:

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