Truant officers, also known as attendance officers, generally work for public school systems or school districts. They monitor students’ absences and tardiness from compulsory education, following up with students and parents or guardians as necessary. They must enter accurate information into the computer database to make sure that absences or tardiness are recorded properly, as well as issue warnings to students and their parents or guardians regarding excessive tardiness and/or absences. Truant officers may have to visit students’ homes in the course of their duties.
Truant officers perform a liaison function among the school, parents, court personnel and law enforcement agencies. They must understand relevant compulsory attendance laws and be able to interpret laws, policies and procedures related to compulsory attendance. Truant officers are required to represent their school district in court hearings resulting from students’ attendance issues. At all times, truant officers must follow procedures, policies and guidelines in reporting students’ attendance problems to authorities.
A high school diploma or equivalent is generally the minimum educational requirement for this position, although a postsecondary degree in sociology, psychology or another relevant field is often preferred. Truant officers must be able to pass a criminal background check and should be proficient with basic computer programs such as the Microsoft Office suite. They need to have good communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to work well with students, their families and school personnel.