U.S. Probation Officers

U.S. District Court - Boston, MA

Full-time$45,000 - $110,000 a year



POSITION TITLE: Probation Officers

POSITION TYPE: Full-Time Regular (FTR), Excepted Service ANNOUNCEMENT #: USPO #18-08

LOCATION: Boston, Taunton, and/or Lawrence

CLASSIFICATION LEVEL: CL 25/01 – CL 28/61 ($44,711 - $105,400)*

* Starting salary depending on qualifications and experience.

Please note: Transfers from other districts are being accepted.

OPENS: November 2, 2018 CLOSES: December 14, 2018

The U.S Probation & Pretrial Services Office for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts is currently accepting applications for full-time probation officers. Office assignment could be in any of the following office locations: Boston, Taunton, or Lawrence.

Judiciary employees serve under excepted appointments and are entitled to standard federal benefits such as paid vacation and sick time, health/dental/vision insurance, life insurance, long term care, flexible benefits (health care/dependent care and parking accounts) and a retirement program that includes a tax-deferred retirement savings plan (TSP). Participation in the interview process will be at the applicant’s own expense and relocation expenses will not be provided. The successful candidate(s) will be required to participate in a 5-6 week National Training Academy program located in Charleston, South Carolina, with the exception of transfers from other U.S. Probation Offices who may have already participated in this program. Employees must be U.S. citizens or meet the exceptions to the statutory restrictions on hiring non-citizens to work in the federal government in the continental United States. This position is subject to mandatory electronic fund transfer (direct deposit) participation for payment of net pay. More than one vacancy may be filled from this announcement.


Probation Officers are designated as hazardous duty positions and covered under the hazardous duty retirement system. Persons in a position certified as law enforcement and enrolled in the law enforcement retirement system contribute a greater percentage of their salary toward the pension system and are eligible to retire earlier than other federal employees.


Assignment of position could either be in the Court Services (Investigations) or Field Services (Supervision) Unit, or blended responsibilities, depending on availability and candidate’s qualifications.

Court Services Unit - A United States Probation Officer conducts investigations and prepares bail and presentence reports for the Court with recommendations for detention, release, and sentencing of individuals charged and convicted of federal offenses. The preparation of these reports requires interviewing individuals and their families; investigating the offense, prior record, and financial status of the individual; and contacting law enforcement agencies, attorneys, victims of the crimes, schools, etc. The purpose of these activities is to ascertain the individual’s background, assess danger to the community and risk of non-appearance at future court proceedings, assess the probability of future criminal behavior, calculate profit from, and any restitution owed for, the offense, and to determine the individual’s ability to pay fines or make restitution. Officers apply U.S. Sentencing Commission guidelines and case law; decide the appropriate course of action after analyzing any objections to presentence reports; resolve disputed issues; make written sentencing recommendations to the Court; and appear at hearings to assist as needed.

Field Services Unit - A United States Probation Officer supervises persons under supervision to maximize adherence to imposed conditions, reduce risk to the community, and to provide correctional treatment. Maintains personal contact through office and community visits. Investigates employment, sources of income, life style and associates to assess risk and compliance. Responsible for detection of substance abuse and through assessment and counseling implements the necessary treatment or violation proceedings. Makes referrals to appropriate outside agencies such as medical and drug treatment facilities, employment and training. Initiates contacts with, replies to, and seeks information from organizations and persons such as the U.S. Parole Commission, Bureau of Prisons, and attorneys concerning a person under supervision’s behavior and conditions of supervision. Detects and investigates violations and implements appropriate alternatives and sanctions. Reports violations of the conditions of bail or supervision to the appropriate authorities. Prepares reports, which may include application of U.S. Sentencing Commission revocation guidelines. Makes recommendations for disposition. Testifies at court or parole hearings. Conducts preliminary interviews and other investigations as required. Maintains a detailed written record of case activity.


Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field of academic study, such as criminal justice, criminology, psychology, sociology, human relations, or business or public administration, which provides evidence of the capacity to understand and apply legal requirements and human relations skills involved in the position, is required for all probation & pretrial services officer positions. In addition, the successful applicant(s) must possess at least one year of progressively responsible experience gained after completion of a bachelor’s degree, in such fields as probation, pretrial services, parole, corrections, criminal investigations, or work in substance/addiction treatment. Experience as a police, custodial, or security officer, other than any criminal investigative experience, is not creditable.

Educational Substitution: Completion of requirements for a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and one of the following superior academic achievement requirements may be substituted for one (1) year of specialized experience (and is qualifying for CL 25, Step 1) [CL 25, Step 1, equates to one year of specialized experience equivalent to work at CL 23.]

1). An overall “B” grade point average equaling 2.9 or better of a possible 4.0

2). Standing in the upper third of the class

3.) A “B+” (3.5) average or better in the major field of study, such as business or public administration, human resources management, industrial relations, or psychology

4.) Election to a membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma XI, or one of the National Honorary Scholastic Societies meeting the minimum requirements of the Association of College Honor Societies, other than Freshman Honor Societies.

Completion of one academic year (30 semester or 45 quarter hours) of graduate work in a field of study closely related to the position is qualifying at CL 25 Step 1.[CL 25, Step 1, equates to one year of specialized experience equivalent to work at CL 23.]

Completion of a master’s degree in a field of study closely related to the position, or a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, is qualifying at CL 27, Step 1. [CL 27, Step 1, equates to two (2) years of specialized experience including at least one year equivalent to work at CL 25.]


  • Possess the counseling skills, personal demeanor, and commitment necessary to facilitate positive behavioral change in persons on
  • Possess good writing and oral communication skills and the ability to work independently and professionally without daily
  • Possess a willingness to zealously enforce the law, protect the community, and provide correctional treatment services to individuals who reside in communities throughout the District of
  • Possess the ability and desire to work effectively with persons on


First-time appointees to positions covered under law enforcement officer retirement provisions must not have reached their 37th birthday at the time of appointment. Applicants 37 or over who have previous law enforcement officer experience under the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees’ Retirement System and who have either a subsequent break in service or intervening service in a non-law enforcement officer position may have their previous law enforcement experience subtracted from their age to determine whether they meet the maximum age requirement.


Applicants must be physically capable, have good vision and normal hearing ability. Prior to employment, the selectee(s) considered for this position will undergo a medical examination and drug screening. Upon successful completion of the medical examination and drug screening, the selectee(s) may then be appointed provisionally, pending a favorable suitability determination by the court. In addition, as conditions of employment, incumbent(s) will be subject to ongoing random drug screening, updated background investigations every five years, and as deemed necessary by management for reasonable cause, may be subject to subsequent fitness-for-duty evaluations. The medical requirements and the essential job functions derived from the medical guidelines for probation officers, pretrial services officers and officer assistants are available for public review at http://www.uscourts.gov


As a condition of employment, the selected candidate must successfully complete a ten-year background investigation and every five years thereafter will be subject to an updated investigation similar to the initial one. The investigation includes an FBI fingerprint check, and retention in the position will depend upon a favorable suitability determination.


Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications will be invited to an orientation to be held at the John J. Moakley Courthouse regarding the role and responsibilities of a United States Probation Officer. Each applicant will then be invited back to participate in a writing skills test. Top applicants will move forward in the recruitment process and be invited in for one or more personal interviews.

HOW TO APPLY: Submit as one pdf a letter of interest, AO-78, Application for Federal Judicial Branch Employment (version dated 10/09 only), and current resumé to:

United States Probation & Pretrial Services Office

U.S. District Court, Massachusetts

Attn: Human Resources

U.S. Probation Officer – USPO #18-08

John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse

1 Courthouse Way, Suite 2300 Boston, MA 02210

*Application forms (AO-78) are available on the U.S. District Court website in fillable format at

www.mad.uscourts.gov. Please type or print all information.

The AO-78 Application for Federal Judicial Branch Employment (dated as effective 10/09) can also be found on the employment page of the U.S. Probation Office website at



include the code HR Mail, USPO #18-08, Probation Officers in the subject line of your email

correspondence. Applicants who fail to submit all the requested documents may lose consideration for employment. U.S. Probation reserves the right to amend or withdraw any announcement without written notice to applicants.



Job Type: Full-time

Salary: $44,711.00 to $105,400.00 /year