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What does a Juvenile Probation Officer do?

Choosing the career of juvenile probation officer is challenging and rewarding. It gives you the opportunity to provide a needed service to your community. Your mission is to monitor and counsel juvenile offenders and help them become useful members of society. Probation as an alternative to incarceration offers youthful offenders a chance to get back on a law abiding path and avoid becoming hardened criminals.

juvenile probation officer

Becoming a juvenile probation officer: the basics

Good health, emotional stability, the ability to interact well with people and an affinity for law enforcement provide a solid starting point for success in this profession.

A bachelor’s degree in social work, criminal justice, psychology or related fields provides essential academic knowledge while a master’s degree betters your possibilities for advancement in law enforcement.

You must pass strict written, oral, physical and psychological exams and normally spend a year as a trainee.

Technological skills in computing, communications, investigative techniques plus the ability to express yourself concisely and clearly either in writing or verbally are vitally important.

Scope of activities

To be a successful juvenile probation officer, you should be aware of the underlying causes of criminal behavior along with understanding the verbal and body language used in dealing with youthful offenders. This includes familiarity with the environment that caused their misbehavior.

You must be sensitive to evasive techniques and stories used by the individuals you monitor. The illegal activities of your clients can range from petty crimes to violence, and your occupation carries an element of danger.

You may carry a caseload of 20 to 150 individuals and learn to know when either firmness or empathy is required. Your recommendations can have a large impact on the sentencing or release of these individuals.

Meeting court deadlines and following court procedures is a large part of your duties. Good organizational skills will keep you ahead of the game.

Job outlook and wage considerations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job outlook for juvenile probation officers is excellent. Many states are considering probation as an alternative to incarceration and the need for juvenile probation officers is expected to grow approximately 19 percent according to the BLS. The American Probation and Parole Association is a nationwide organization working on improved performance and standardized procedures in the field. You can get important information at www.appa-net.org.

What does a Kindergarten Teacher do?

Kindergarten teachers play a crucial part of the early development and social integration of young children. For many students, the kindergarten teacher provides their first glimpse of the core educational topics–math, reading, writing, social studies and science–that they are going to pursue for the next 12 school years.

kindergarten teacher

Life in the classroom

A good kindergarten teacher will have mastered dozens of games and play skills that allow young students to weave fun along with learning. Subjects introduced at the pre-school level, such as number, letter and color recognition, phonics, nature and science, are more deeply explored in the kindergarten classroom. Another job of a good kindergarten teacher is helping students get excited and enthusiastic about learning and their education, children’s book publisher, Scholastic, reports. Good kindergarten teachers also help their students take the steps necessary to becoming independent learners and thinkers.

Educational requirements for kindergarten teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically complete a bachelor’s degree program, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, as well as earn a teaching credential–a requirement in all 50 states. Although educational programs vary by institution, coursework for kindergarten teachers often includes study in the following topics:

  • Early childhood education
  • Learning environments and social relationships
  • Family and community involvement
  • Child health and safety
  • Resolving conflicts with young children

Kindergarten teachers are required to complete a period of supervised teaching as well. This understudy work typically is completed in the final year of study of an early childhood education program. During this time, new kindergarten teachers often get their first taste of working with young children, and under the guidance of a master teacher, they can refine their classroom communication and teaching skills.

Job outlook and salary expectations

Employment for kindergarten teachers is expected to grow by 15 percent, the BLS reports. Schools with the best options are in rural areas and inner cities rather than suburban districts. Teachers who are bilingual can boost their chances for employment, the BLS states. Ninety-four percent of all kindergarten teachers were employed at elementary or secondary schools.

Heavily-populated states, such as California and Texas, are the largest employers of kindergarten teachers, but teachers in large metropolitan areas typically brought home the best pay.

What does a Marriage and Family Therapist do?

If you’re a good listener, skilled at mediation and able to identify underlying issues that affect relationships, becoming a marriage and family therapist may be for you. Intervening and counseling in marriages and familial relationships requires a real desire to resolve relational crises and bring about healing. A high degree of personal energy and willingness to be involved with others is required.

A marriage and family therapist diagnoses and treats emotional and mental disorders within the context of family and psychotherapeutic systems techniques and theories. Therapists treat couples, individuals, or entire families, seeking to restore mental and relational health.

marriage and family therapist

Educational requirements for becoming a marriage and family therapist

Training requirements vary by state but a master’s degree is typically required. Coursework for secondary degrees may include such varied subjects as counseling techniques, human growth and development, assessment, and cultural diversity. The field of study for master’s degree programs usually includes studies in a core group of courses in marriage and family therapy.

An accredited master’s degree program typically consists of 48 to 60 semester hours of graduate study and a period of clinical counseling experience in a supervised setting. In most states, therapists are required to accumulate two years or 3,000 hours of supervised experience in clinical counseling beyond the master’s degree level. Successful completion of a state examination, conformance to designated ethical codes, and earning annual continuing education credits are additional requirements.

Licensure for marriage and family therapists is required in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) accredits educational institutions through its Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The COAMFTE accredits master’s degree, doctoral degree, and post-graduate degree clinical training in marriage and family therapy throughout the United States and Canada.

Employment as a marriage and family therapist

The employers with the highest rate of employed therapists are individual and family services, state government, and the offices of other health practitioners. The following were top-paying employers:

  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • State government
  • Employment services

Employment prospects are good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field to grow by 14 percent.