How to Get a Job in Juvenile Justice

Juvenile counselors work with youth that are dealing with behavioral problems. Counselors help the client learn to make better choices and live healthier lives. Work environments for counselors include correctional facilities, drug rehabilitation clinics, group homes, or private practice.

Juvenile probation officers enforce the terms of the probation agreement. Officers monitor the juvenile’s activities by meeting with them or by telephone contact. Juveniles may have to go through drug testing. Meetings are to assess progress. Juvenile probation officers work to ensure offenders receive proper treatment and rehabilitation. Officers will also meet with family and friends to develop ideas to keep the youth on the right path.

Defense attorneys protect the legal rights of the juvenile and represent them in court.

Judges in the juvenile justice system preside over cases and determine the appropriate punishment for the offender. In juvenile court rehabilitation is favored over punishment.


Probation officers can expect a median wage of $47,000.

Median pay for judges in juvenile court is $91,000.

Salary for counselors ranges from $24,000 to $63,000 annually.

Judges can earn $54,000 to $166,000.


Juvenile counselors need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Entry level positions are available to those with a bachelor’s degree in human services, criminal justice, or psychology. Completing an internship increases chances for employment after graduation. With experience and a graduate degree, youth counselors may become supervisors of other employees. It is important to check with the local and state government to determine any licensing or certification requirements.

Probation officers in the juvenile justice system need a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Undergraduate degrees in psychology, social work, or criminal justice are good choices. An internship boosts chances of finding a position. A master’s degree allows for advancement. Most probation officers must pass a series of tests and medical and psychological evaluations. A driver’s license and a clean criminal record are required.

Attorneys must complete an undergraduate program and then pass law school. After graduation, attorneys must pass their state’s bar exam and become licensed. Make sure that the law school is one of the 200 schools approved by the American Bar Association.

Judges need the same qualifications as an attorney plus work experience as an attorney. Judges are appointed or elected.

Schools For Juvenile Justice

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