In order to become a juvenile probation officer, also sometimes called a youth probation officer, you must first complete high school and obtain a college degree. The degrees most associated with probation positions are typically criminal justice and psychology-related. Those individuals who have completed their educational requirements and are hoping to become a juvenile probation officer should contact the probation department in their area and inquire as to the application process.
In many areas, people applying to become a juvenile probation officer must undergo testing. These tests measure academic knowledge, awareness of the community programming that exists to help and support the probationer, and problem-solving and counseling skills. Anyone wishing to become a juvenile probation officer must be able to work with not only the juvenile, but the entire family, including foster families.
The ability to write accurate reports and communicate with substance abuse agencies as well as schools and judicial agents is a must. Clearly defined written and verbal skills are a plus for those wishing to become a juvenile probation officer. You will likely be required to prepare documents for court appearances, and maintain a record of probationers' progress or lack thereof while they remain under the direction of the probation department.
The juvenile probation officer will also be required to participate in treatment planning in conjunction with courts, corrections, and schools. To become a juvenile probation officer is in many ways much like taking on a foster parent role with each one of the youths on your caseload. The probation officer is both an extension of the court and the family of the youth. Rehabilitation is often the ultimate goal for the juvenile.
Being able to read a client's needs and linking him or her with the proper community program is tantamount to an individual's success as a juvenile probation officer. The ability to intervene in a timely manner with the proper treatment planning can be the difference in rehabilitation or continued delinquency. Building a healthy rapport with a client is the key to this success. The client must be able to trust the officer.
If you wish to become a juvenile probation officer, the field can offer a rich and exciting future. You may be rewarded by helping a troubled youth get back on track and find excitement in watching as human beings reclaim their role in society. The hours are long and the task can be large, but for the right individual, it can be the career of a lifetime.