The focus for a majority of juvenile probation officers is on one area such as investigation, supervision or intake. In order to pursue a career in this field, aspiring candidates need to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree program in a related area such as psychology or criminal justice.
Juvenile Probation Officer Education Requirements
A large number of juvenile probation officers complete a graduate degree program; completing a graduate degree program can improve chances of advancement and promotion within an organization (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov)). Most commonly, aspiring candidates who complete an undergraduate degree program do so in an area of concentration such as behavioral science, social work, sociology, psychology, or criminal justice. Coursework focuses on teaching students about the psychological and social motivations influencing human behavior, including commission of crime. Participation in an internship with a local correctional facility or agency could benefit students by providing them with experience and enhancing their career prospects after graduation.
Majority of agencies requires prospective employees to pass written and oral tests, complete the medical and psychological examinations and maintain a up-to-date driver’s license. Individuals convicted from prior felonies are usually ineligible for these jobs. A juvenile probation officer’s work involves interaction with other social service professionals as well as with young people, and requires exceptional communication skills.
Juvenile Probation Officer Career Information
Job growth for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists have been projected at nineteen percent for the period from 2008 to 2018 (source: BLS). The optimistic estimate is due to the expectation that state budgetary cuts would lead to reduced sentences for offenders; many older employees are expected to retire during the period. In 2010, the average annual salary taken home by the middle fifty percent of workers employed as correctional treatment specialists and probation officers ranged from $36,440 to $62,820 (BLS).
According to the United States Department of Justice, the specific duties conducted by juvenile probation officers may significantly differ between states and jurisdictions (source: U.S. Department of Justice (www.ncjrs.gov)). Majority of juvenile probation officers are exclusively engaged with counseling youths, but those employed in rural settings may perform work relating to both juveniles and adults. The work may be in intake, and involve screening youth’s case histories. They may have to investigate the background and offenses such youths have committed before they can be sentenced. Junior probation officers may also have to supervise and counsel youths who have been sentenced to probation. They may also be employed in aftercare programs, detention centers or residential facilities, engaged in preventing recidivism and keeping youths out of trouble.