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Juvenile Probation Certification and Diploma Programs

Learn about diploma programs and certification options for juvenile probation professionals. See educational prerequisites, program coursework and employment outlook statistics.

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Essential Information

Juvenile probation officers work with children and adolescents who have been convicted of crimes. They meet with the offenders and with their families, helping them stay out of further trouble. Some community colleges and vocational schools offer diplomas in juvenile justice. Most states require juvenile probation officers to meet unique certification requirements.

Diploma programs in juvenile justice are designed to teach students about a variety of topics, including juvenile probation, the justice system, criminal law and the sociology of juvenile crime. Most programs offer internship opportunities through which students work with professionals in the field.

Educational Prerequisites

Incoming students are often subject to a background check and drug screening. Some programs are designed for people who've completed previous educational or employment experience in criminal justice and want to specialize in juvenile justice. Those who apply without previous college experience need to have strong communication and writing skills.

Program Coursework

The courses in juvenile justice diploma programs focus on rehabilitating youths who have been convicted of crimes. Many programs are interdisciplinary, offering courses in psychology, sociology and composition along with courses on corrections and justice. Students often learn about the topics noted below:

  • Criminal law
  • Juvenile processing
  • Developmental psychology
  • Juvenile social work
  • Criminology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the median annual income of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, including those working with juveniles, was $48,190 as of May 2012. The BLS predicted job growth of 18% between 2010 and 2020 for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Certification requirements for juvenile probation officers vary, but most states require a bachelor's or master's degree in criminal justice, psychology or a related field. Many states also administer written, oral and psychological exams to ensure that candidates are fit to work with juvenile offenders. Depending on the state of employment, new hires may be required to complete a supervised probationary period before being hired permanently.

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