What Degree is Useful for Working with Juveniles in the Court System?

Those who work with juveniles in the court system enjoy working with kids of different ages and helping them turn their lives around. As there are a number of jobs within the court system, there isn’t one specific type of degree that will serve you best. You need to look at what you want to do and the type of careers that interest you. This lets you decide which degree will best apply to help the children that you work with later.

Criminal Justice

One of the best degrees for working in the court system is a criminal justice degree. This degree lets you study the legal and judicial systems in America more in-depth. Many graduates later work in some area of law enforcement, including local police departments and government agencies. Others use their skills to join the parole or probation boards in their areas. Those working on the boards help get lighter sentences for juvenile offenders. You might also find that you like specializing in juvenile crimes. When someone under the age of 18 commits a crime, you have the chance to investigate that crime and determine the severity of the juvenile’s actions.


Earning your law degree is another way in which you can work with kids in the court system. After finishing your undergraduate degree and attending law school, you need to pass the exam administered by the American Bar Association before you can practice law. Some people prefer working as child advocates. When the court appoints you as an advocate, you have the chance to make decisions for that child and act as a representative of that child. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of lawyers working in the country will increase by more than 74,000 in the future.

Social Work

The court system uses social workers in a number of ways. As a social worker, you may work with child victims.  This could involve child abuse or neglect cases.  Social workers also work on cases involving juvenile offenders. In either situation, you will have the chance to speak to the judge, discuss anything you witnessed, and recommend a best course of action for the child involved. Judges use the opinions and information provided by social workers when deciding on the course of action for the child involved.


If you want to work with juveniles in and out of the courtroom, consider earning your psychology degree. One area in which psychologists often work is cases involving custody arrangement and disputes. After meeting with both parents and any other guardians, you will talk with the kids about what they want and need. This also gives you the chance to identify any potential problems in the home, including a parent who drinks, uses illegal drugs or abuses the children mentally, physically or sexually. The judge will require that you appear in court and testify about what you witnessed and provide your professional recommendation. If this path sounds interesting, you will need an advance degree in psychology to work in the court system.

Juveniles facing criminal offenses and those who are victims of crimes often have a hard time trusting adults. You need to earn their trust and show them that you want to put them first. The best types of degrees to work with juveniles in the court system include criminal justice, law, social work, and psychology.