Alaska’s juvenile probation department is divided into four segments, with Fairbanks being in the Northern area. A juvenile probation officer working in this region is likely to be one of the only officers in the United States whose job will involve meeting with juvenile offenders via video conference: the Northern jurisdictional area – which includes the Fairbanks, Barrow, Bethel, Kotzebue, and Nome Districts – is as big as Minnesota, with many areas only accessible by airplane.
Juvenile probation officers will find that in many instances they will be dealing with youths and their families from several distinct traditions, and will have to use their in-depth training to bridge any cultural gaps. Officers work with:
- Caucasians, including those of:
- Protestant descent
- Russian descent
- Other cultures
Having the Right Experience and Education
Juvenile probation officers are involved in the youth centers, schools, tribal entities, community partnerships, and community work service programs throughout the Fairbanks area. Officers must be able to work with a variety of people and possess a certain depth of understanding of behavioral psychology and other related skills. That is why Alaska’s Department of Juvenile Justice requires all of its juvenile probation officers to have at least one of the following when applying for new jobs:
- A bachelor’s degree in any subject and one year of experience working in one of the following: specialized positions or its equivalent:
- Juvenile Justice Officer II
- Criminal Justice Technician I
- Social Services Associate II
- Alaska Military Youth Academy Team Leader
- A bachelor’s degree in any of the following or closely related subjects:
- Criminal justice
- Juvenile justice
- Social work
- Guidance counseling
- Behavioral sciences
- A high school diploma or its equivalent plus five years of work experience in a previously mentioned specialized position or its equivalent. Up to four years of experience may be substituted for higher education, at a rate of three semester credits or four quarter credits for one month of experience.
Training for Juvenile Probation Officers in Fairbanks
After completing the selective hiring process new officers should not get carried away with their celebrations; the training to become a juvenile probation officer in Fairbanks includes 80 hours of pre-service orientation plus another 75 hours of job shadowing. Officers will ship out to the McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage, the location of the Department of Juvenile Justice’s main training office. Here they will receive the necessary training to make a running start into their new careers. Instruction includes:
- Intake techniques and risk-assessment interviews
- CPR, first aid, and blood-borne pathogen education
- Suicide observation and screening
- Counseling techniques including positive reinforcement
- Social and cultural lifestyles of juveniles
- Supervision techniques and terms of probation
- How to become proficient in self-defense
After their first year in juvenile probation, officers must attend 40 hours of continuing education courses each year.
Filling out an Application
Applications are made through Alaska’s employment website where candidates will first create an online account, search for a juvenile probation officer vacancy in Fairbanks, and make an online application through the job announcement. If there are no vacant jobs candidates may sign up for a free jobs alert service to receive an email when an opening occurs.