What Types of Jobs are in Juvenile Criminal Justice?

There are many types of jobs in juvenile criminal justice, including parole or probation officers, correctional counselors, correctional officers and defense lawyers. A high school diploma or GED is required to enter the field of juvenile justice, but a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field is often required for advanced positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, correctional treatment specialists and probation officers earned an average yearly salary of $50,160. The following are several career paths that are available for those seeking employment in the field of juvenile justice.

Juvenile Defense Lawyers

Juvenile defense lawyers are often attorneys who feel strongly about how young criminal offenders are treated. The issues surrounding delinquent rehabilitation and punishment can be volatile, and lawyers who wish to pursue a career as a juvenile defense lawyer must remember that they will be intellectually and emotionally prepared in their clients’ cases. Juvenile defense lawyers also incorporate social work, child development and psychology and knowledge of local programs within the community in order to bring about the most desirable outcome for their clients. Juvenile defense opportunities are available in many law schools, and students can expect education pertaining to the juvenile justice courtroom, simulated court trials and juvenile and criminal litigation.

Juvenile Probation Officers and Parole Officers

Juvenile probation officers or parole officers are responsible for working with adolescents who have been deemed delinquent but able to return to society so long as they complete a supervised rehabilitation program. Probation officers act as mentors as well as individuals of enforcement. They may work with caregivers or family members to provide accountability and structure for youths on probation, and they may accompany them to community events, volunteering positions and therapy appointments. Although probation officers and parole officers have similar educational requirements and job descriptions, the offenders with whom they work have been released from a sentence served in a correctional facility. Most positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in criminology, social work or a related field.

Juvenile Correctional Counselors

Also known as correctional treatment specialists, juvenile correctional counselors work with juveniles who have been convicted of a crime. The goal is to determine the best course of action that will lead to rehabilitation, and these professionals work with judges, parole or probation officers and correctional officers to develop a series of meetings and activities for convicted juveniles. Correctional counselors also help the adolescent to identify and change one or more behaviors that may lead to criminal behavior in the future. Most employers desire correctional counselors that hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as psychology or sociology as well as previous work experience in the field of counseling.

Juvenile Correctional Officers

Juvenile correctional officers work directly with juveniles involved in a rehabilitation program or those located in juvenile drug treatment centers or correctional facilities. Using qualities of both a social worker and a correctional officer, these professionals maintain the safety and security of youths in the justice system, monitor and report prison behavior to correctional counselors and enforce the rules of the facility. Although education requirements vary by position and state, most employers require candidates to hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED as well as previous work experience as a law enforcement officer.

Related Resource: What Types of Jobs are in Criminal Investigation?

Although some aspiring juvenile justice professionals may enter the field with a high school diploma without post-secondary training, a degree in criminal justice is typically required for advancement. Most types of jobs in juvenile criminal justice require professionals to hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a relevant field, and juvenile defense attorneys must earn a law degree and pass the Bar Exam in the state in which they wish to practice.