About the PQIP training programme

When you start your training, you’ll be a probation services officer, learning on the job and working to gain your fully funded Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP). Completing the programme gives you the chance to apply to become a probation officer and take on even more responsibility, along with opportunities to keep learning and developing through structured career paths.

As part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), we support offenders on their road to rehabilitation. It involves working closely with all kinds of offenders, including those who’ve committed violent and sexual offences. You’ll also work with victims of crime, colleagues across the criminal justice system, charities and the wider community.

The best way to train to be a probation officer is to mix theory with practice. So, your training towards the Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) involves time both in the classroom and working with offenders.  We also offer flexible working options, including remote working, to help with your work-life balance.

The PQiP programme takes 15 months if you have a level 5 (or equivalent) and have covered three of the following modules:

  • The Criminal Justice System
  • Understanding Crime and Criminal Behaviour
  • Penal Policy and the Punishment of Offenders
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders.

If your Level 5 (or equivalent) didn’t cover three of the above modules, the programme takes 21 months to complete.

When you’re done, you’ll gain a Level 5 vocational qualification diploma in Probation Practice as well as an honours degree.

You’ll have all the academic learning and practical skills you need to work with and prepare reports for the different offenders in our care.

And you’ll be able to apply for qualified probation officer positions. Please note, the recruitment process takes between six and seven months. If it is not possible to place you into a suitable vacancy location due to insufficient vacancies, you will remain on the merit list and your application will be deferred to the next intake. Candidates are able to remain on the merit list for up to 12 months.


You will be supported every step of the way and although it might be challenging, your colleagues are always there to help you through.

Simeon, probation services officer