A bachelor's degree program in criminal justice teaches prospective youth probation officers their roles, duties and responsibilities, and how their position relates to the justice system.
To enroll, applicants will need to hold a high school diploma or GED, and pass a background check with no felony convictions. They may also be required to be U.S. citizens.
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice
Over the course of four years, students will tackle topics such as justice and crime in the American criminal justice system, complexities in the probation system, ethics and how behavior affects individuals and communities. Through thesis papers and other homework assignments, students gain experience in writing and oral communication, which will help them when preparing court progress reports and making recommendations for care. Course topics include:
- Criminal justice
- Judicial process
- Social behavior
- Juvenile development and psychology
- Criminal justice professional ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Youth probation officers supervise individuals under 18 years old who have been released from jails or prisons and are on probation. Youth probation officers can find employment in local, state or federal government agencies. Jobs for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, are expected to grow 4% from 2014-2024, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also stated that, as of May 2015, the median annual salary for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was $49,360. Pay may vary depending on experience and education level.
Continuing Education Information
Following undergraduate work, youth probation officers have supervised training for up to 12 months before being offered a permanent position. Some employers require a master's degree and may provide tuition reimbursement for graduate studies. Others accept related experience like counseling or criminal investigations in exchange for an advanced degree. Securing a master's degree may give probation officers a leading edge on management positions and a higher salary.
Youth probation officers need to be familiar with the criminal justice system. A bachelor's degree program in criminal justice can provide the necessary ground-work to prepare students for the demands of the field.