Juvenile Probation Counselor
Not everyone has a knack for following the law, and for some the tendency to rebel starts young. When juveniles commit a crime and have to serve probation, juvenile probation counselors help them by providing behavior, mental health, and if necessary, substance abuse counseling.If you have a passion for guiding youth, then this could be the profession for you. As a counselor, you will meet with juvenile delinquents on a regular basis at a corrections office to counsel them and conduct evaluations to find out what might have led to their behavior. You will then use these meetings to help you prepare written assessments that you share with the court when you appear to testify in court hearings.As a juvenile probation counselor, you will provide a great service to the community by helping adolescents become responsible members of society. Similar to the stressful situations police find themselves in, you may experience anxiety when the youth you are working with breaks the rules of their probation or acts hostile towards you. While the job can be stressful, it can also be rewarding. Often, many young offenders are more than eager to complete their probation successfully. These youths will be happy to cooperate with you as long as you speak to them with kindness and professionalism.
Salaries and Job Outlook*
Education and Training
If you want to become a juvenile probation counselor, you will need to complete your bachelor's degree in social work, criminal justice, behavioral sciences, or a related field. It also helps if you have worked with youth through a Big Brother Big Sisters of America program or elsewhere, since employers seek candidates with this valuable practice. You must also pass a background check and have no felonies on your record.Looking ahead, if you would like to advance to supervisory positions, you will need to gain experience and have a strong record of performance. In some cases, a master's degree is also required.
Valued Traits & Abilities
Your work as a juvenile probation counselor will require you to work full time in a juvenile detention center or offsite when necessary. Helping troubled youths find their way back to a better path may take its toll on you. Many of the delinquents you will work with have troubled pasts, and need your help talking through them so that they can heal and move forward. You will need to use patience, compassion, and effective listening and speaking skills to properly guide them.