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Juvenile Corrections Officer Career Info and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a juvenile corrections officer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and salary expectations to find out if this is the career for you.

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Juvenile corrections officers work in environments like detention and drug treatment centers. Their duties include maintaining security and order, supervising inmate activities and documenting incidents. A high school diploma or GED is generally the minimum education required to enter this career.

Essential Information

Juvenile corrections officers work with youth in detention centers to ensure their safety. Educational requirements for these positions include a high school diploma or GED and, in some cases, college coursework. Officers also receive training from the state or local agencies that hire them. In these programs, they learn about legal rights for juvenile offenders, safety issues and record keeping, among other topics. Physical fitness and background checks are mandatory for these jobs. Juvenile corrections officers may be required to pass an examination, and some agencies have an extensive on-the-job training period.

Required Education High school diploma or GED certificate at minimum; a few agencies may require some college courses
Other Requirements Agency training program; physical fitness and background checks
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4% for all correctional officers and jailers
Mean Salary (2015)* $45,320 for all correctional officers and jailers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Information for Juvenile Corrections Officers

Juvenile corrections officers are responsible for maintaining security and order in facilities such as drug treatment centers or detention centers. Job duties might include searching these facilities to make sure they are clean, secure and free of contraband. Juvenile corrections officers also supervise inmates during day-to-day activities, including meal times and recreation periods. If violence erupts, they may be responsible for physically restraining inmates or completing incident reports. In some cases, officers may transport inmates to community service projects, courts or medical facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with experience, these officers can become correctional sergeants who oversee the activities of other officers. (www.bls.gov).

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Educational Requirements

The BLS states that most agencies require juvenile corrections officers to hold a GED or high school diploma. Other agencies may require applicants to have completed college-level coursework in one of the social sciences, such as criminal justice. These programs introduce students to topics in law and criminology. They might also study youth violence and juvenile justice. Some programs even offer a concentration in corrections.

Training Requirements

After passing background checks and drug screenings, juvenile corrections officers must also complete state or local police agencies' training programs. In some states, this entails passing a physical fitness test before beginning coursework. Topics of study can include juvenile rights, fire safety, youth supervision, bookings and admissions, jail security, record keeping and inmate health. Additionally, officers learn how to properly use force to defend themselves or restrain inmates. This training can last anywhere from 5-16 weeks.

Some agencies also require juvenile corrections officers to pass a written certification exam after they successfully complete these programs. They might also need to undergo a probationary period and receive additional on-the-job training. In some agencies this training consists of 40 hours, while in others it may last over the course of a 2-year internship.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS doesn't provide information specifically for juvenile corrections officers, but lumps these individuals with all corrections officers. From 2014-2024, correctional officers and jailers were projected to see a 4% increase in job opportunities, which is slower than average. The mean salary of these workers was $45,320 in May 2015.

Juvenile corrections officers usually require only a high school diploma or the equivalent, though some employers may require college coursework. Completion of state or local training is usually required, and some agencies may also require passing a certification exam. After meeting these requirements, juvenile corrections officers can work with youth and help maintain security and order in drug treatment and detention centers.

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