Juvenile Probation Officer Education Requirements and Career Info

A juvenile probation officer requires significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Juvenile probation officers monitor underage offenders, working with them to prevent future criminal activity. A bachelor's in criminal justice, psychology or a related area is generally necessary in order to work in this field; however, some complete a master's degree. An internship in a probation office or correctional facility is often helpful. Probation officers usually must complete a training program offered by the state or federal government and pass a certification examination.

Required Education Bachelor's or master's degree in criminal justice or related field; government-sanctioned training program after hiring
Projected Job Outlook (2012-2022)*1% decline for all types of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
Median Salary (2013)* $48,440 for all types of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists

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

Education Requirements for a Juvenile Probation Officer

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many juvenile probation officers hold a bachelor's degree, while a master's degree can lead to promotion and advancement within an agency (www.bls.gov). Common undergraduate majors include criminal justice, psychology, sociology, social work and behavioral science. Coursework typically involves learning about the social and psychological motivations behind human behavior, including criminal acts. Completion of an internship with a local agency or correctional facility can provide students with experience and may lead to increased job prospects following graduation.

Additional Requirements

Most agencies require candidates to pass oral and written tests, complete psychological and medical examinations and hold a current driver's license. New hires must complete a training program sanctioned by the federal or state government. Individuals convicted of previous felonies are typically ineligible for these jobs. Juvenile probation officers need good communication skills in order to interact with youths, as well as other social service professionals.

Career Information for a Juvenile Probation Officer

Although BLS data specific to juvenile probation officers isn't available, the site noted that employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists in general was expected to decrease by 1% from 2012-2022. Reasons cited include state budgetary cuts leading to reduced sentences for offenders and older employees retiring. The middle 50% of workers employed as probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned between $37,590 and $65,330 per year as of 2013, reported the BLS.

Job Description

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the specific tasks performed by juvenile probation officers can substantially vary between jurisdictions and states (www.ncjrs.gov). Almost all juvenile probation officers exclusively counsel youths, but those working in rural areas may work with both adults and juveniles. They may work in intake, which requires screening the case histories of youth; investigations, which involves examining the background and offenses committed by youths before they're sentenced; or supervision, which gives them the authority to counsel and supervise youths who are sentenced to probation. Junior probation officers may also work at residential facilities, detention centers or aftercare programs to keep youths out of trouble and prevent recidivism.

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