Juvenile Probation Officer

What is a Juvenile Probation Officer? 

A juvenile probation officer is the individual responsible for monitoring youths while they are on probation or parole. If a minor is convicted on a criminal charge, he or she may be released on probation. During this period, it’s critical that the minor be carefully supervised, as continued enrollment is contingent upon good behavior. If the minor violates the terms, he or she is typically remanded to a detention facility. 

Parole is similar to probation, but this occurs after an individual has been imprisoned and before the sentence is complete. A minor who exhibits good behavior while in a detention facility may be released early on parole. The release is contingent upon the individual’s good behavior. If terms of parole are violated, the youth will have to return to the detention facility to serve the remainder of his or her sentence. 

Juvenile probation officers work exclusively with offenders who are under the age of 18. These are typically teenagers but in rare cases may be offenders who are younger. Many of the duties are the same as with any other probation officer. However, it’s important to adjust your methods and style of relating to your charges in this role, as dealing with younger criminals can present some unique challenges. These officers can help teenagers get back on the right path early, potentially preventing them from committing to a life of crime. 

Job Responsibilities

  • Connect probationers’ with rehabilitation resources, such as substance abuse counseling 
  • Monitor probationers’ locations and activity 
  • Make unannounced visits to the probationers’ school, home, or job 
  • Work with social services to provide the best environment possible for the individual 
  • Perform drug tests 
  • Search the probationers’ belongings 
  • Log the probationers’ progress or setbacks 
  • Counsel the minor on proper behavior 

What is the Career Outlook for Juvenile Probations Officers? 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t maintain records specific to juvenile probations officers. However, they do track the job outlook for all probation officers and correctional treatment specialists. For this broad occupational field, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.  

About 7,400 openings for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 

Dense metropolitan areas typically have higher employment levels for probation officers. You’ll find the highest number of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Phoenix, and Dallas. 

Where do Juvenile Probations Officers Work? 

Probation offers are typically employed by the government. About 54 percent of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work for the state government while 43 percent work for the local government. Just one percent are employed by social assistance programs. While you may have a desk or office where you can keep your files, complete paperwork, and meet with your probationers, a great deal or your work will take place outside the office environment. 

Juvenile probation officers are expected to meet their probationers where they are. It’s important to observe the youth in his or her home setting. Juvenile probation officers must search their charges’ domicile, bedroom and belongings, check in with school authorities, and speak to parents. It’s critical to see as much of the probationer’s daily life as possible, to best assess whether the individual is meeting the terms of his or her probation or parole. It also offers to determine if counseling or other services might help in improving the charge’s chances of success.

What Training is Required to Become a Juvenile Probations Officer? 

While many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree for a job as a probation officer, there are some places that will hire juvenile probation officers with an associate degree. If you’re interested in this field and want to get started as soon as possible, the criminal justice studies associate degree from Bryant & Stratton College will give you the foundation that you’re looking for to take your first steps toward a career as a juvenile probations officer. 

It’s important to gain experience with at-risk youths for this job. With your associate degree, you may want to consider working with a shelter for teens or in a drug abuse counseling center that focuses on helping minors. This type of background is greatly preferred by employers who are hiring juvenile probations officers. 

In some states, you will need to further your education and complete a bachelor’s degree to become a juvenile probations officer. Most governments also require these professionals to complete a state-sponsored training program, complete a certification test, and work as a trainee for a minimum of one year. 

What Can I Do with a Criminal Justice Studies Associate Degree? 

A criminal justice associate degree can prepare you for many careers. Look for job titles such as: 

  • Security manager 
  • Loss prevention manager 
  • Deputy youth probation officer 
  • Crowd management officer 
  • Juvenile probation officer assistant 
  • Juvenile supervision officer 

For more information on your career opportunities with an associate degree in criminal justice studies, check out the criminal justice section of our blog. You’ll find detailed information to help you plan your professional future.

While these projections can help career-minded people evaluate potential employment fields, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in any field.

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