Juvenile Probation Officer College Training Programs
Juvenile probation officers supervise younger criminal offenders who were found guilty and sentenced to probation. Key responsibilities include the management of community resources and counseling services required to meet the orders of the court. In most areas, probation officers work exclusively with adults or juveniles.
Training Requirements and Recommendations
A majority of juvenile probation officers possess a bachelor's degree in either criminal justice or social work, and some have graduate degrees. A few programs focus specifically on juvenile justice, but they are less common. Students may start their education at a community college and transfer general liberal arts courses, or begin postsecondary schooling at a 4-year institution.
Bachelor's degrees in criminal justice or social work provide juvenile probation training, since they both discuss societal issues across the life span. Admissions to these programs are often facilitated by prior professional experience in a human-services related field.
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Students study the criminal justice systems in place in the United States. They develop knowledge and skills in psychology and sociology as they learn about the societal impacts of justice administration. Course topics include juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, criminal law, research methods, criminology and ethics.
Bachelor of Social Work
Social work students are prepared to work with a variety of clientele and manage available resources to assist disadvantaged populations. Studies of current social issues and human behavior are incorporated into the curriculum with classes, such as social welfare policy, human behavior theory, family dysfunction and addiction.
The government agencies that frequently employ juvenile probation officers usually have specific, on-the-job training opportunities for new hires. Topics include self-defense, counseling and reporting methods. Experience is encouraged, and students are recommended to volunteer or seek part-time work while in school. Juvenile facilities, detention centers and group homes are suggested experience opportunities.
Licenses and Certifications
Specific licensing or certification requirements are generally not required for juvenile probation officers to be employed. The juvenile probation training prepares officers to pass a series of psychological, physical and oral tests frequently distributed by employers, and these may be followed by a probationary period. However, the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) offers certification in specific areas such as cognitive behavioral change, sexual offender management, officer safety and victim issues.
Workshops and Seminars
The APPA offers training institutes throughout the year that focus on current theories and technologies applicable to probation officers. These institutes are usually a few days in length and held in larger cities. Attendants gain valuable career information and have networking opportunities.
Juvenile probation training may continue with the pursuit of graduate degrees. Officers may work to obtain leadership positions through performance and experience. Additionally, some states require a minimum number of continuing education hours each year.
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