Juvenile Correctional Counselor
In the criminal justice system there are numerous available career opportunities one can choose. By definition, criminal justice is “the system of law enforcement, involving police, lawyers, courts, and corrections, used for all stages of criminal proceedings and punishment” (D. 2018). Any career one may choose will follow the three-tiered system found within criminal justice: law enforcement, the court system, or the correctional aspect of criminal justice. For this paper, I have chosen to discuss what entails the career of a Juvenile Correctional Counselor. A juvenile correctional counselor is someone who is a government or state employee and works to rehabilitate through counseling juvenile delinquents and offenders. Of the three systems in criminal justice, a youth correctional counselor fits in with the correctional system, which is the rehabilitation of offenders to prevent further crimes from being committed, and to provide support as the offender may reenter society after time served. Educational and Other Requirements The educational requirements for one to become a juvenile counselor are a bachelor’s degree in one of the human service fields, whether that be psychology, counseling, criminal justice, or social work.
There is an emphasis that one takes as many children and adolescent related coursed throughout college, all while maintained a grade point average of 3.0 every semester. These courses dealing with child development are vital due to the fact that children are impressionable, and one will need to be able to understand the juveniles dealt with in order to make a difference in the child’s life. However, there is an emphasis that one obtains a master’s degree after their initial bachelor’s. This not only gives an edge in search for a job, but this will also help while working (Juvenile Counselor Careers, 2018). There are also civil service exams that most states administer to those who are in the process of becoming a youth counselor that is required, and sometimes extensive screenings are required depending on if someone is interested in counseling in group homes. In addition, it is required for one to complete a juvenile counseling program. This program is put in place to train counselors on how connect with the juveniles on a more personal and deeper level (Juvenile Counselor Career, 2018). In addition to these educational requirements, employers want counselors to have certain personal qualities they think will be beneficial and important to effectively help children. Some of these qualities include patience, positivity, trustworthiness, caring, nurturing, calm, open, understanding, and relatable. It is vital to know that as a juvenile correctional counselor, many of the children come from broken homes, and they are often times extremely emotional in a negative way. These children will feel lonely and they will be frustrated, angry, confused, and possibly depressed. With that being said, these children need a person to have the qualities above listed in order for them to be able to trust and feel they will be taken care of (Juvenile Counselor Careers, 2018).
Salary and Benefits According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in May 2017 for correctional treatment specialists was $51,410. Within those numbers, “the lowest 10 percent earned approximately $33,920, and the highest 10 percent earned approximately $90,880.” Working for the federal or state government includes specific benefits, such as medical insurance, dental insurance, and better retirement plans. Another benefit to this work is the job prospect. This line of work is projected to grow 6 percent between 2016 to 2026 (Summary. 2018, April 13). Day-to-Day Work Environment As a youth correctional counselor, the work demand is full time, and even then, many times overtime work is needed due to extensive travel and/or paperwork. It should be noted that while children are under the supervision of a correctional counselor, the counselor is allowed to interact with others, such as family, friends, or legal guardians. A juvenile counselor should be aware that they may be assigned some cases that are in high-crime areas and/or institutions where there is a much higher risk of danger. Therefore, the work environment can become excruciatingly stressful in an instance, and if the juvenile delinquent that is under the supervision of a counselor is currently undergoing court related charges, the counselor may have deadlines imposed by the statute of limitations (Juvenile Counselor Careers: Job, 2018) Cushiyah Yehuda, a military veteran, found her calling as a Senior Youth Correctional Counselor. She tells the horrors of growing up in the inner city of Chicago, seeing more crime and scarring experiences than children should. However, these scars left on her, shaped her which allows her to do the work she loves – “I enjoy coming to work every day, no matter how rough it is. It’s my calling. I have a great relationship with my work,” she further explains. She believes that her work is changing the lives of people around her, and she is. What she is doing, is making the world a better place, and the rehabilitation of the eight young men she is in charge of is truly amazing (O. 2015, March 23).
There is nothing I want more than to help others in this world. I have a heart for service, and I want to spread love and kindness in every aspect of my life. To me, everyone is capable of doing horrible things and breaking the law; however, I am a firm believer in second-chances, and I believe in the good. I chose to discuss the career of a juvenile correctional counselor because I have always wanted to work one-on-one with children who come from broken-homes and bad walks of life. I have always desired this because I was once in an unhealthy and abusive home, and I want to serve as a role-model to youths. I want them to know they are not alone and that, no matter what, they do have a choice to do good I this world. Children are so precious to me, and I truly believe they are God’s angels in this world. I know that if I do not work with children in this line of work, I will be completely unhappy. After doing to extent of research that I have done, I know with 100 percent certainty that law school is not something I want to continue to pursue. The idea of law school is fascinating, but I believe that this career path suits me better. Instead of going to law school, I know realize I want to attempt to double major with social work, and continue my education by obtaining my master’s degree in criminal justice.
As a juvenile correctional counselor, one will serve the youth, community, and even nation by pursing an active career attempting to stop crime before it escalates too much. A Juvenile correctional counselor can be appreciated in the aspect that they work with delinquents and youth offenders to correct the offender’s way of life, which ultimately will help the crime rates go down. The youth is the future, so time well-spent on them makes for a more stable and positive future for everyone.
D. (2018). Criminal justice Definition. Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/criminal-justice
Juvenile Counseling Careers. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.psychologyschoolguide.net/counseling-careers/becoming-a-juvenile-counselor/
Juvenile Counselor Careers: Job Description & Salary Info. (2018). Retrieved from http://learningpath.org/articles/Juvenile_Counselor_Careers_Job_Description_Salary_Info.html
O. (2015, March 23). Day in the Life: Senior Youth Correctional Counselor guides young offenders. Retrieved from https://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2015/03/day-in-the-life-senior-youth-correctional-counselor-guides-young-offenders/
Summary. (2018, April 13). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social- service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm#tab-3