Becoming a juvenile intake officer typically requires a bachelor's degree. Juvenile intake officers must also pass a criminal background check, a drug test, have a valid driver's license and may also be required to take a psychological examination. It is possible to begin working in this field in an entry-level position with a high school diploma, but a degree in criminal justice, psychology or social work should increase job prospects.
Juvenile intake officers handle minors who are referred to their offices by families, law enforcement officials, or other agents. They work with court systems, families, and underage offenders to gather information and make punishment or rehabilitation recommendations. Juvenile intake officers are considered a type of parole officer or correctional treatment specialist, and these professionals generally need bachelor's degrees in fields related to criminal justice, psychology, or social work.
High school graduates who start working in entry-level positions at juvenile detention centers, however, can also gain enough experience to become juvenile intake officers. Regardless of background, all new hires must complete a one-year probationary training period. Prior to getting hired, candidates must meet age restrictions and pass additional exams and background checks.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree is typical|
|Other Requirements||Be at least 21; for federal positions, be younger than 37; pass drug tests; have no felonies on your criminal record; and, submit to any additional psychological or physical examinations|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||4% for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$49,360 for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Duties for Juvenile Intake Officers
Juvenile intake officers conduct assessments of youths to determine whether they're in need of assistance or disciplinary measures. They take into account a juvenile's history, mental health, family situation, and other factors when determining how to handle an issue. These issues are often brought before them by either law enforcement or families and include truancy, drug and alcohol use, destructive behavior, misdemeanors, and felonies. Once the officer understands a minor's history and actions, he or she can recommend punishment and treatment options.
These officers often assist law enforcement with admission processing and placement screening. Typical duties include referring families to community resources; providing offenders with crisis intervention; transporting juveniles to court or detention hearings; maintaining records; and corresponding with youth, parents, and attorneys. Additional duties might include serving summonses and aiding in the release of juveniles.
Applicants for juvenile intake officer positions may need to pass psychological examinations to show they are fit to work with minors. They also must be able to pass a drug test and prove that they have not been convicted of felonies. Some positions require a valid driver's license and familiarity with computers, as well as strong writing skills. Excellent listening and interpersonal skills are also helpful.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, including juvenile intake officers, is expected to increase by 4% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by such specialists as $49,360 in May 2015.
Juvenile intake officers work with young offenders to determine the appropriate course of action to address their offenses, accounting for their history, mental health, family situation and any other relevant factors. In addition to various background checks, psychological tests and age minimums, officers may need a bachelor's degree in a related field despite the on-the-job training provided.