Programs in the areas of criminal justice or administration of justice offer specific training tracks for juvenile corrections, preparing graduates for careers as juvenile parole officers. Degrees are offered at the associate and bachelor's levels. Applicants require a high school diploma or equivalent and a criminal background check. Graduates may need to complete additional training before becoming juvenile parole officers.
Associate Degree in Juvenile Justice
Programs appropriate for aspiring juvenile parole officers include criminal justice or administration of justice. Many of these programs offer tracks for juvenile justice or include the necessary training for a career in this area. Students learn about correction processes, crime, and criminal behavior, as well as effective means of working with delinquent youth.
The curriculum covers not only the criminal justice system, but also the sociological, developmental, and psychological factors that affect youth offenders. Course topics include:
- Correctional processes
- Juvenile development
- Crime and delinquency
- Developmental psychology
- Addictions in youth
Bachelor's Degree in Juvenile Justice
Bachelor's degree programs in juvenile justice provide the training necessary for most juvenile parole officer jobs. Degrees offered include a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice, with many programs providing a specialization in juvenile justice.
Students explore the juvenile justice system and learn about social and psychological factors affecting youth offenders, as well as various prevention or rehabilitation programs. Coursework might include:
- Correctional counseling and case management
- Substance abuse
- Juvenile corrections
- Adolescent development
- Deviant behavior
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment for parole officers is expected to increase at a rate of 4% during the period from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Services. While limited state and local funding for corrections officers prevents the industry from growing at a stronger rate, many people leave the occupation each year which ensures plentiful job openings. The mean salary in May 2015 for all parole officers was $54,080.
Aspiring parole officers can attain associate's and bachelor's degrees with specializations in juvenile justice to pursue successful careers in the field.