The demand for juvenile probation officers in the state of Massachusetts, as well as in the rest of the country is on the rise. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that juvenile probation officer jobs will grow by an average of 18 percent through 2020.
Middlesex County is the second-largest employer of juvenile probation officers in the state, and is also the second-largest juvenile probation services provider in the state, with an offender population of 1,012. Of these offenders, 743 are male and 269 are female. Juvenile probation services are separated by county courts in the state of Massachusetts, with Middlesex County having juvenile probation courts in Cambridge, Framingham, Lowell, Waltham and Woburn. In total, the courts cover 46 towns in the state.
All juvenile probation services operate under the supervision of the Commissioner of Probation department, which is a division of the Massachusetts Trial Court system.
Juvenile Probation Officer Duties
Officers working for the state must perform the following tasks as part of their day-to-day job duties at one of the juvenile probation offices in Middlesex County:
- Administration: see that offenders are aware of court dates and attend them, assist in courtroom proceedings, testify in probation court, file paperwork and reports, communicate with judges and other court staff as needed
- Casework and Counseling: conduct interviews with juvenile offenders, contact agencies that work with at-risk youth, evaluate probation sentences and offender progress
- Law enforcement: follow through and obey all court orders, follow all department procedures and practices
- Investigation: conduct background investigations, interview family members, school officials and other people pertinent to probation guidelines
- Public relations: represent judges and the juvenile department during community meetings, workshops and other special events
Education and Work Requirements
In order to become a juvenile probation officer in Middlesex County, applicants must first meet the basic work and education requirements. All applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college and must also have at least one year of work experience in human or allied services. The category of human and allied services includes teaching, counseling, casework, management, administration and other related fields.
In some cases the work experience requirement can be bypassed if an applicant has a graduate degree in one of the following areas of study:
- Behavioral sciences
- Teaching and education
- Criminal justice
- Human services
Training to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Middlesex County
Once the hiring process is completed, a recruit is then required to attend a training orientation prior to becoming a full-time employee in Middlesex County. The orientation consists of 120 hours of classes that involve communication skills, department procedures and other important factors of the position.
Upon completion of the orientation, no other training is required unless a juvenile probation officer seeks promotion to a probation officer II classification. In order to receive the promotion, officers are required to complete an additional 40 hours of training within the first three years of employment with the department.