Requirements for how to become a juvenile probation officer are pretty standard across all States and the Federal Government. Juvenile Probation Officer jobs involve providing supervision to juvenile offenders who have been placed on probation rather than remanded to a jail by the courts.
Juvenile Probation Officers (sometimes referred to as Youth Probation Officers) make visits to the home on a regular basis to ensure that the youth is in compliance with all court mandates. Juvenile Probation officers review the family, social and educational background of juveniles, conduct assessments and create rehabilitation opportunities which include family and individual counseling, education, developing support, as well as substance abuse treatment, as necessary.
They also write reports that include recommendations for sentencing to the juvenile courts. Other required documentation includes the preparation of case notes in accordance with the Department of Juvenile Justice guidelines.
Juvenile Probation Officer Job Requirements
- Those who wish to become a Juvenile Probation Officer will need to pass a series of written, verbal and psychological assessments.
- They need to be in good physical health and have no emotional issues.
- Most local, State, and Federal agencies require that applicants be at least 21 years of age.
- Candidates for Federal jobs must be no older than 37 years of age at the time they submit application materials.
- Anyone who has been convicted of a felony is not eligible to become a Juvenile Probation officer at any level of government.
- A valid driver’s license is also required to travel between the juvenile’s home, school, and counseling center.
- Since most documentation is now performed on computers, proficiency with various software programs is also necessary.
- Candidates must also be familiar with the various laws and statues surrounding juvenile corrections and possess excellent interpersonal ability with proactive listening skills.
Juvenile Probation Officer Education and Training
Candidates without prior related experience will need to possess a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate area such as social work, psychology, criminal justice, or urban affairs to obtain an entry-level job. The definition of appropriate experience does vary from agency-to-agency but can include counseling, social work, teaching, police officer and substance abuse specialist, amongst other criminal justice jobs.
In most states and the Federal Government, new Juvenile Probation officers are required to satisfactorily complete a training program, after which they may need to pass a certification exam. In most cases, Juvenile Probation Officers will be considered trainees for the first year of employment. Only upon successful completion of this probationary period are they offered a permanent position.
Juvenile Probation Officer Salary
Your salary will be dependent on experience, education, and work performance. Although data specific to juvenile probation officers isn’t readily available, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for all probation officers as of May 2008 (the latest period for which figures are available) was $45,910. The median salary of those employed in local government was $46,420 while those employed in State government earned $46,580. Keep in mind that there are salary differentials based on education and experience, along with geographic location (salaries tend to be higher in urban areas rather than rural areas).
Juvenile Probation Officer Career Opportunities
Juvenile Probation Officers are primarily employed in local and State governments. Within the Federal Government, Juvenile Probation Officers are employed by the U.S. Pretrial and Probation Services Division of Federal district courts.
Most advancement opportunities into supervisory and administrative roles will require a master’s degree in social work, counseling, or criminal justice, along with several years experience and exceptional job performance.
One example of a career path for Juvenile Probation Officers may be a Probation Officer THEN Senior Juvenile Probation Officer THEN Juvenile Probation Supervisor THEN Juvenile Probation Senior Supervisor THEN Deputy District Administrator THEN all the way to Regional Director who supervises the work of hundreds of officers within the jurisdiction.
Take a look at other great Criminal Justice Careers.