Juvenile Justice and Rehabilitation

For those who want to work in juvenile rehabilitation, there are many different careers available in this field.

Some of the common careers in this include juvenile counselors, juvenile court attorneys, probation officers, and judges.

Those who work in the juvenile justice system will deal with troubled youths in a number of settings.

The justice system for juveniles was established as a way to discipline individuals who commit a crime but are too young to be tried as adults.

There is a different set of laws that apply to juveniles.

The age criteria to establish whether an individual is tried as an adult or juvenile is set by each particular region. juvenile justice

Juvenile Attorneys

When a young person is charged with a crime, an attorney knowledgeable and skilled in juvenile law should be considered for representation and counsel.

A juvenile attorney may speak on behalf of their juvenile client.

In order to become a juvenile attorney a person will be required to obtain a bachelor’s degree and then law school.

This can take from seven to eight years to complete.

In addition, an individual pursuing a career as a juvenile attorney will need to pass the bar in the state that they wish to practice.

Juvenile Probation and Correctional Officers

Some juveniles who commit crimes will be given freedom with certain limitations.

These limitations will be provided by probation terms as determined by the judge.

A juvenile probation officer will be in charge of making sure that the youth offender abides by the rules of their probation.

In order to become a juvenile probation officer a person must have at least an associate’s degree in a field such as criminology.

Certification along with experience in juvenile justice, criminology, and correctional administration may also be required for an individual to obtain a job as a juvenile probation officer in some areas.

The job of juvenile correctional officers is very similar to that of a correctional officer working within a prison system with an adult population.

The difference of course is the age of the ward.

Offenders can be as young as 8 years old and it takes a certain kind of personality to work with children and young adults in a corrections setting.

Both patience and maturity are required, as working with young offenders can be challenging.

Different states vary in their requirements for becoming a juvenile corrections officer, but having a degree in criminal justice as well as certifications in psychology or extensive experience working with youth would be advantageous.

Juvenile Counselors

Another career in juvenile rehabilitation is as a juvenile counselor.

A juvenile who is in trouble may be assigned a counselor to work with them to learn about their life including their overall mental and emotional health.

Someone who wishes to work as a juvenile counselor will need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

Most of these jobs require an individual to obtain a master’s degree. Most juvenile counselors are required to be licensed in the state and will work with the juvenile’s probation officer to oversee the overall well-being of the youth offender.


Juvenile Judges preside over juvenile cases and determine what the best course of punishment will be for the crimes that have been committed.

Juvenile judges often have a special interest in the rehabilitation of minors.

In order to become a judge in a juvenile court a law degree will be required.

Most judges in these courts will first work as juvenile lawyers before being appointed to the bench.

Work Environment

Judges and juvenile attorneys often work in the courtroom.

An attorney may also work with the juvenile at the detention center in order to learn more about the crimes that have been committed.

Probation officers and counselors often work in a juvenile detention center and may be required to visit the individual’s home from time to time as well.


Though salaries can vary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2013 the average annual salary for Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists was $52,910.

Salary Information by State

State Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
District of Columbia560$55,890$26.87$85,210$35,310
New Hampshire250$44,790$21.53$59,970$31,530
New Jersey**$51,700$24.85$82,710$34,030
New Mexico260$42,470$20.42$56,910$28,830
New York2,250$51,960$24.98$76,960$32,880
North Carolina2,440$39,610$19.05$53,600$26,470
North Dakota**$55,460$26.66$61,460$50,750
Rhode Island320$59,120$28.43$78,440$36,590
South Carolina1,830$33,540$16.13$43,260$27,710
South Dakota300$47,890$23.03$62,560$33,580
West Virginia370$44,520$21.40$72,840$30,510
Puerto Rico250$33,700$16.20$48,840$22,100

Annual Average Salary: Top 10 States

The top earning state in the field is Maine, where the average salary is $68,090.

These are the top 10 earning states in the field:

  • Maine - $68,090
  • Alaska - $64,790
  • Rhode Island - $59,120
  • District of Columbia - $55,890
  • North Dakota - $55,460
  • Washington - $54,940
  • Massachusetts - $54,020
  • New York - $51,960
  • New Jersey - $51,700
  • Nevada - $50,470
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Rehabilitation Counselors, OCC Code 21-1015, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.


About Tina Wolf

Tina Wolf has been working as a freelance writer for several years. She enjoys writing about the government and history as well as other legal topics. She authors a blog about parenting a high ability student as well as one about parenting in general. Connect with Tina: LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tina-wolf/22/204/a6a Twitter: @wolfee21

One Response to Juvenile Justice and Rehabilitation

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    Franco Young #

    I admire the focus on rehabilitation rather than punitive measures in juvenile justice. It acknowledges that young offenders can change and deserve the opportunity to do so.

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