According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, serious violent crime rates committed by juveniles has been decreasing since 1994. In U.S. schools, the place of many high-profile violent cases of the past, serious violent crimes have decreased significantly, from thirteen per 1,000 students in 1994 to five per 1,000 students in 2005. But in 2005, more than 2.1 million juveniles were arrested in the United States, making clear that the situation is far from resolved. By entering the field of juvenile justice, you can join the effort to further reduce juvenile crime and help those arrested avoid becoming part of the adult justice system.
Juvenile Justice Careers
The decreasing numbers in juvenile crimes are largely attributable to the many compassionate individuals who work in juvenile justice. Listed below are some careers in juvenile justice listed according to the typical minimum education requirement for each.
Some College Courses
- Corrections officer
- Corrections transportation officer (15 semester credits recommended)
- Police officer: police academy (some employers require college degree or 1-2 years of college)
- Assistant resident unit supervisor
- Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators (some employers require a master's)
- Alternative sentencing specialist
- Corrections recreation leader or program supervisor
- Deputy prison warden
- Justice program specialist
- Juvenile/youth counselor
- Parole/probation specialist
- Social worker
- Victim's advocate
Master's or Other Degree
- Juvenile/youth residential director
- Lawyer, prosecutor, defense attorney (bachelor's plus a law degree)
Juvenile Justice Career Training
Earning a degree in juvenile justice provides excellent training for the careers mentioned above and many others within the field of juvenile justice. A Bachelor of Science degree program in juvenile justice should include courses in criminology, criminal justice, law, the juvenile justice system, and judicial process. A master's degree in juvenile justice should include similar courses, but allow you to study more in-depth in an area of your interest.
Juvenile Justice Salary and Job Projections
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that most careers within criminal justice, including juvenile justice, will experience growth in the next decade. Additionally, increased awareness of juvenile crime, especially of school violence, will result in a continued demand for juvenile justice experts.
For instance, the BLS forecasts 11 percent growth for arbitrators/mediators between 2006 and 2016. Their 2007 median salary was $48,840. For corrections officers, who earned a 2007 median salary of $36,970 (their supervisors' median salary was $50,720), a 16 percent job growth is expected. For probation/parole officers, an 11 percent increase is anticipated between 2006 and 2016. In 2007, these professionals earned a median salary of $44,510. Police officers, sheriffs, detectives, and police supervisors should also experience greater-than-average job growth, ranging from 11 percent to 17 percent between 2006 and 2016, according to the BLS. Their 2007 median salaries ranged between $49,630 and $72,620.