Juvenile Probation Officers: Job Description and Duties
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a juvenile probation officer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.
Juvenile probation officers supervise youths who are on probation or parole. Officers work with adolescents and their families to assess and ensure compliance with court terms. They also provide counseling to the offender in an attempt to change or eliminate behavioral issues.
Juvenile probation officers, sometimes referred to as juvenile correctional treatment specialists, work exclusively with adolescents who have been convicted of a crime and put on probation, rather than being sentenced to jail time. Juvenile probation officers also work with underage individuals who have already served time in jail and are on parole. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a similar field is typically required, and candidates may also be required to pass a certification exam.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in criminal justice, social work, behavioral sciences, or related field|
|Other Requirements||Candidates may be required to complete a training program through state or federal government and pass an exam to receive certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||4% for all probation officers|
|Median Salary 2015||$49,360 for all probation officers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Juvenile Probation Officer Job Description
Juvenile probation officers are in charge of supervising youths who have either been put on parole or probation for committing a crime. Juvenile probation officers meet with these adolescents and their families to perform assessments and research their family and social history. Juvenile probation officers are responsible for making regular visits to the youths' homes to make sure that they are in compliance with terms set by the juvenile court. They also work closely with each juvenile's family, as well the court system, to provide counseling for the juvenile and in an attempt to change or eliminate behavioral issues. In the event that a youth does not comply with his or her court order, the juvenile probation officer must then provide recommendations to the judge for alternate sentencing or treatments.
Juvenile probation officers usually work in probation or parole agencies, however, they can sometimes work in juvenile detention centers monitoring the progress of convicted juvenile delinquents. Depending their agency and jurisdiction, a juvenile probation officer's number of clients will vary. In smaller areas, a officer may work with only one or a few clients, while more populated areas might result in caseloads of 20 to over 100 youth.
Typical day-to-day job duties in this profession include investigating cases, interviewing parents, guardians, lawyers or other individuals representing a juvenile. Juvenile officers also recommend probation or parole terms to the judge, attend court hearings and prepare pre-dispositional reports and filing motions for probation violations. Other typical tasks may include ensuring that youths follow through on court appearances, community service or payment of fines; they may also be called upon to schedule drug tests and/or search a youth's property, or conduct counseling sessions covering such issues as anger management, social skills and drug abuse. Finally, they provide crisis intervention and remain on-call during nights and weekends should a crisis arise.
Juvenile probation officer positions require a bachelor's degree in a related field. They usually require certification, which includes completing a training program and passing an exam.