How to Become a Juvenile Court Counselor

Explore the career requirements for juvenile court counselors. Get the facts about education requirements, employment outlook, job duties, and median salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

Juvenile court counselors are government employees who work with offenders and delinquents under the age of 18 years. Crisis intervention and application of appropriate counseling techniques are some of the most important aspects of this profession. Check out the following table for more details.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Social work, psychology, counseling, and criminal justice
Key Skills Critical thinking, emotional stability, monitoring, social perceptiveness, decision-making, and problem sensitivity skills
Licensure/Certification Usually required
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% (for all Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists)*
Median Annual Salary (2019) $38,753**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com

What Does a Juvenile Court Counselor Do?

Juvenile court counselors provide counseling, case management, and supervision services to adjudicated, undisciplined or delinquent juveniles. Some of their important day to day tasks include evaluating complaints against the youth to initiate proper court action, monitoring juveniles and ensuring they comply with all court-ordered dispositions, in addition to interviewing and assessing juveniles along with their families to develop and implement individualized treatment plans to help achieve positive goals. Supervision duties range from accompanying juveniles to homes, juvenile justice facilities, schools, and other locations. These counselors also maintain case files and testify in court regarding the conduct of the juveniles. Apart from spending time in court, they spend most of their time traveling around the community to work with juveniles, their families, and other service providers such as teachers, court personnel, and social workers.

Do I Need a Degree?

Juvenile court counselors typically must hold a 4-year bachelor's degree from a recognized institution. Possible fields of study include social work, psychology, counseling or criminal justice. A good option may be a counseling bachelor's degree program, as these generally include a supervised internship under a professional counselor. Many juvenile court counselors also hold a master's degree in counseling and related fields for career advancement in this profession.

Do I Need to Have Work Experience in a Related Occupation?

Several years of work experience in counseling or a human services field, preferably with youngsters under 18 years of age, is often required to become a juvenile court counselor. Courthouse internships are sometimes available. However, if you hold a master's degree in counseling or related fields, less work experience may be required.

Do I need to be Licensed or Certified?

Most juvenile court counselors need to be licensed/certified. Each state has its own criteria and requirements. Many of these include completing a specific number of hours under the supervision of a licensed professional to earn a certification.

What are the Salary and Job Prospects?

According to PayScale.com, a juvenile court counselor earns a median salary of $38,753 per year (2019). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for all probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is estimated to grow at 6% during 2016-26. Counseling is generally considered more economical and effective than incarceration to make a lasting impact on juveniles' lives. Therefore, the job prospects are good.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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