Juvenile Probation Officer Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a juvenile probation officer career? Get real job duties, career prospects and salary information to see if becoming a juvenile probation officer is right for you.
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Pros and Cons to Being a Juvenile Probation Officer

Juvenile probation officers supervise and monitor young people who have been convicted of a criminal offense and subsequently released on parole. Pros and cons to becoming a juvenile probation officer can be learned by reading below.

PROS of Being a Juvenile Probation Officer
Personal satisfaction can come from helping offenders be rehabilitated*
Benefits for being an employee of the government in some cases*
Salary is above the national average (about $53,000 in May 2014)*
Plentiful job openings expected due to replacements needed in the occupation*

CONS of Being a Juvenile Probation Officer
Dangerous and hostile work environment when some offenders carry weapons*
Long hours are common due to paperwork and travel time*
Some juvenile probation officers are on call 24 hours a day*
Stressful and frustrating work environment when offenders make repeat offenses*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description

When someone commits a crime, he or she might be placed on probation. This is true for juvenile offenders too. While on probation, the offender must avoid breaking any more laws and committing any other crimes. Other criteria also have to be met. These criteria can vary from offender to offender. If an offender doesn't follow these rules, the offender might be sent to prison. As a juvenile probation officer, you'll work with offenders of an age to be considered legal minors. After evaluating them, you can figure out the best treatment plan and use the resources necessary to rehabilitate them back into society. You'll stay in regular contact with the offenders you're assigned and regularly perform searches of their premises if necessary. You'll also file reports on the offender's progress.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected a -1% decline in employment from 2012-2022 for probation officers. When compared to other occupations, this growth is slower than average. This decline is being attributed to limits on state and local government funding over the decade. However, despite the decline in employment, job opportunities are expected to be plentiful due to lessened competition for this occupation.

Salary Information

In May 2014, the BLS reported that probation officers earned about $25 an hour. This resulted in a salary of about $53,000 on average annually. This career saw earnings of around $83,000 for the top ten percentile of wage estimates. Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and California were the states that paid the highest on average for juvenile probation officers.

Occupational Requirements

Education and Job Training

Juvenile probation officers ideally have a bachelor's degree in a field such as psychology, social work or criminal justice. Some employers are willing to hire individuals who have work experience in those fields in place of formal postsecondary education. Other fields that juvenile probation officers come from include counseling, corrections, parole, criminal investigations and substance abuse treatment. After being hired, you'll go through a training program from the federal or state government. This program is followed by a certification test. From there, you'll work as a probationary officer for a year and then be hired on full time. Some agencies require juvenile probation officers to be 21 years old or older, pass a drug test and possess a current driver's license.

What Do Employers Want?

The appropriate amount of education and work experience is a big factor for employers hiring juvenile probation officers. Other qualities employers seek for this occupation includes good communication skills and the ability to handle stress well. Juvenile probation officers often work with troubled individuals, so you have to be able to be comfortable around them and clearly communicate with them on what needs to be done. You can also bring the concerns of your assignment back to your employer and ensure that the needs of the juvenile are met. You can learn additional qualities employers wanted in juvenile probation officers by reading some information below that was taken from November 2012 job postings.

  • An opening in Ohio called for a juvenile probation officer who has taken classes in criminology, social work and criminal justice.
  • A juvenile probation officer job in Texas required applicants with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, social science or behavioral science.
  • In Nebraska, an employer preferred juvenile probation officer applicants with a master's degree and who could speak Spanish as well as English.
  • A training program with the Montana Law Enforcement Academy must be completed by applicants for a juvenile probation officer job in Montana.

Standing Out as a Juvenile Probation Officer

Earning a graduate degree is a significant way to stand out from other juvenile probation officers. Although it isn't required for most positions, some employers look for juvenile probation officers with a master's degree. This is especially true when it comes to supervisory positions. Prior work experience in social work, criminal justice, law enforcement and psychology is valuable as well to stand out from applicants with less experience. Critical thinking and decision making skills can help set you apart from other juvenile probation officers. You have to be able to come up with immediate ideas when a crisis arises and be able to resolve any issues in an appropriate and effective manner.

Other Career Choices

If you want to help people better themselves without working with criminal offenders, consider being a social worker. In this occupation, you'll work with people who need help with emotional, mental and behavioral issues. You can predominantly focus on children and families if that is your interest. This could involve helping with issues such as child abuse, divorce or unemployment. Child, family and school social workers earned about $44,000 on average annually according to the BLS in May 2011. From 2010-2020, the BLS projected a 25% growth in employment for social workers.

If you would rather work with offenders in jail instead of offenders out of jail, look into becoming a correctional officer. These professionals oversee prisoners who are serving time in jail or awaiting trial. The overall goal of a correctional officer is to keep a safe environment for the prisoners while trying to help rehabilitate them. The BLS expected a five percent employment growth for correctional officers from 2010-2020. Correctional officers had average yearly salaries of roughly $43,000 in May 2011.

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Featured Schools

Keiser University

  • B.A. - Criminal Justice
  • B.A. - Homeland Security
  • Associate of Arts - Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Arts - Homeland Security

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Criminal Justice
  • PhD in Business Admin - Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice
  • MBA - Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Project Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Corrections and Case Management
  • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Generalist
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

Are you a US citizen?

Utica College

  • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
  • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
  • Monitoring, Surveillance, and Intelligence Operations Cert

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor - Management - Criminal Justice
  • M.S. - Criminal Justice
  • BS - Criminal Justice

Are you a US citizen?

Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

University of the Southwest

  • MBA - Law Enforcement & Corrections

What is your highest level of education?