My Career Path
Job Description of a Youth Counselor?
Research what it takes to become a youth counselor. Learn about job duties, education requirements, career outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. S
What Is a Youth Counselor?
Youth counselors work with adolescents and young children to help them solve problems, and they also make referrals for any services that would improve a child’s emotional or physical well being. These counselors can focus on helping youth with substance abuse and behavioral problems or to overcome mental and emotional disorders. They are most likely to work in either outpatient care centers or to provide individual or family services. The information in the table below outlines education and career information for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors.
|Career Titles||Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||Mental Health Counselors|
|Education Required||Education varies from high school diploma to master’s degree||Master’s degree|
|Education Field of Study||Counseling or related||Counseling, social work, psychology|
|Key Skills||Empathy, communication, speaking||Listening, organization, patience|
|Licensure||Counselors in private practice must be licensed||Licensure is required for all mental health counselors|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)||22%*||20%*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$39,980*||$41,880*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Job Duties Might I Perform as a Youth Counselor?
Youth counselors treat adolescents who have mental or emotional problems, disabilities and substance abuse issues. As a youth counselor, you could counsel adolescents individually or through group sessions. You may need to provide crisis intervention and might also help youths to resolve conflicts, overcome life hurdles and replace undesirable habits with acceptable behaviors. You often need to confer with other professionals, including social workers, educators, criminal justice officials and psychologists.
Your duties as a youth counselor could include creating and implementing personalized treatment programs for troubled adolescents. You might interview the adolescents and their family members to recommend needed social services. You’ll then review and alter their plans to achieve agreed-upon goals. Your duties might also include supervising, disciplining and interacting with youths at correctional facilities or group homes.
Employment and Salary Information
As a youth counselor, you might work for state or local governments, schools, group homes, hospitals, social service agencies, correctional centers, religious associations or substance abuse prevention programs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median yearly wage for mental health counselors was $41,880 as of May 2015, while substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors made a similar median salary of $39,980 (http://www.bls.gov). All other types of counselors earned a median salary of $45,530.
What Education Do I Need?
Education requirements for becoming a counselor depend on your state, your chosen specialty and your employer. You may be able to obtain an entry-level youth counseling job with a bachelor’s degree. Some employers require a bachelor’s degree in human services or a related field, plus relevant work experience. A bachelor’s degree program in applied psychology is another option for starting your career as a youth counselor.
You typically need a master’s degree to become licensed as a counselor. Master’s degree programs in counseling typically include an internship. After earning your graduate degree, you might choose to further your education by obtaining a postgraduate certificate in adolescent counseling or marriage and family therapy.
What Are the Licensure and Certification Requirements?
Depending on your employer and state, you may need to hold a license to work as a youth counselor. In addition to earning a master’s degree, you usually have to accumulate a certain number of clinical hours, pass an exam and complete continuing education units.
To further your career, you may also seek voluntary certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors by taking one of their national examinations (http://www.nbcc.org). This board awards a general practice designation as a National Certified Counselor and specialty certifications in school, clinical mental health and addictions counseling.
The National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors offers both basic counseling and addictions counseling certifications, as well as an Adolescent Specialist Endorsement (http://www.naadac.org). To qualify for one of these addictions counseling exams, you typically must earn state licensure and hold supervised counseling experience.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Similar careers involving counseling are actually quite common. One such career is being a rehabilitation counselor, where you would be responsible for providing care to those with disabilities with the purpose of preparing them for living independently. Another possible career would be becoming a school or career counselor. As a school counselor you would assist students in their social development while helping them set academic goals to meet. As a career counselor you would help people from various walks of life make career choices, and assist them in building their skill sets applicable to their career choice by referring them to a training or degree program. All three careers require a master’s degree.
The duties of a youth counselor depend, in part, on the type of facility that employs him. Settings include schools, correctional facilities, religious organizations and residential group homes. Counselors are responsible for a wide range of duties involving direct interaction with young people in need of care. They often work as part of a team of professionals to meet the physical and emotional needs of the youngsters. They are most effective when they serve as a role models and build a trusting, supportive relationship with the youth.
Counseling and Supervision Duties
Youth counselors interact daily or weekly with children or teens, helping them to solve problems and make healthy choices. They counsel them and guide them in a positive direction for their futures. They do crisis intervention when necessary, and help youngsters to prepare for rehabilitation after criminal difficulties or substance abuse issues. They develop relationships with the youth individually or in groups, and build trust with them. They provide a structured environment for at-risk youngsters. They are sometimes responsible for the safety and security of the physical environment of a facility, and might have to physically restrain youngsters who get out of control during periods of crisis.
Youth counselors often work as part of team and interact regularly with other agencies, families, and schools to help place youth in the most appropriate treatment program. Their duties include phone calls to research treatment facilities and to select the most suitable one for each referral. They plan programming to help youth achieve mutually agreed-upon goals. They develop individual rules to best meet the needs of each individual and to help control inappropriate behavior. They also organize outings and other activities.
Evalutaion and Reporting Duties
Youth counselors continuously assess the progress of the youngsters in their care. They may use tests or activities to determine the success of treatments that were implemented. In correctional facilities, the counselor might be expected to monitor the daily activities of the children. They are often expected to keep logs and to regularly update files, documenting any medical needs or damage caused by the youth. They prepare written reports on each child and present these reports to the supervisors of the facility, other agencies, or even to the courts.
Interviews and Meetings
Youth counselors regularly interview clients and their families, starting with an intake interview for new clients. They work with other professionals, such as medical practitioners, family members, teachers and parole officers. They act as advocates on behalf of the youth. They bring their reports to case management meetings. As front-line workers, they are often the most knowledgeable and up-to-date about the young person’s current state of mind, significant recent events that might have occurred and any changes in relationships the youth may have.
My Career Option
Crime Scene Investigator
This position is responsible for complex crime scene investigations; responsibility for the evaluation of the scene; uses various types of equipment; develops, secures, and packages physical evidence for scientific evaluation and comparison; prepares detailed reports on the observations and activities at the scene for the law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of the crime; testifies in court regarding the findings and processing methods used at the scene.
NATURE AND SCOPE:
Working Conditions: The crime scene investigator oversees complex crime scene investigations, including but not limited to homicides, sexual assaults, armed robberies, home invasions, and property crimes such as burglaries. Approximately 70% of the incumbent’s time is spent processing crime scenes, packaging and transporting evidence, attending and photographing autopsies and attending briefings and conferences with the police agencies requesting assistance. The remaining time is spent preparing investigative reports, testifying in court, receiving continuing education, via online education or in class course work, instructing classes and maintaining equipment in a state of readiness.
The crime scene investigator works at the office of his or her job assignment Monday through Friday, which is normally 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Must accept scheduled after-hours standby duty every other week. While on standby, the crime scene investigator must be readily available by pager or phone at all times to respond to requests for service. In addition to the standby duty, the incumbent is expected to respond to emergency calls whenever necessary 24 hours a day.
Crime scene searches are often performed by extensive kneeling, stooping, reaching and climbing. The crime scene investigator will handle objects of varying weight and shape and must, therefore, be in good physical condition. The incumbent is also required to carry firearms and may use assigned firearms and other weapons in performance of his or her police enforcement responsibilities. Also, the police enforcement responsibilities may include occasional physical labor and endurance and be hazardous with regard to the physical and mental well being of the incumbent.
Functions: The crime scene investigator is expected to respond to calls for crime scene services as quickly as good judgment and safety allows. All issued equipment must be maintained in a ready-to-use condition at all times.
Process scenes of major crimes at any hour of the day or night, under any weather conditions, systematically surveys area and formulates a plan of procedure. Physically secures crime scenes (using ropes, barricades, police personnel, etc.) before conducting a search for all objects and articles that may be evidence. The crime scene investigator must also be proficient in “reading” and reconstructing the events as they happened just prior to, during and shortly following the commission of the crime in order to determine the sequence of events and to ascertain the type and location of evidence. Gives advice and direction to case investigators in crime scene and evidentiary matters.
Evidence identified must be collected and properly packaged. This function includes efficient lifting and preserving of various types of evidence. The crime scene investigator must be aware of the types of packaging and packaging material as the improper selection of such material could render the evidence useless.
The crime scene investigator establishes a permanent record describing the crime scene by writing detailed reports, preparing accurate sketches, and diagrams and by applying professional photographic techniques. This requires not only the skill to write a detailed report but also the ability to observe minute details of the scene as they relate to the crime and their meaning in relation to the evidence.
The incumbent assists criminal justice officials in preparing criminal cases, in person and by providing reports, sketches, and photographs. Gives expert testimony in criminal court cases. This testimony must not only follow the rules of evidence but must also be able to explain, in laymen’s terms, to a jury the significance of the evidence as it relates to scientific proof. Maintains an in-depth knowledge of federal and state statutes, court cases related to work performed and agency rules and regulations.
The incumbent must prepare and forward all necessary administrative reports and forms in keeping with division and bureau policies.
Latitude: The crime scene investigator has authority to determine the extent and nature of the services needed at the crime scene. This includes what technical procedures to follow and what specialized equipment, lighting, auxiliary power, etc. to use.
Major Challenge: The greatest challenge of this position is to apply scientific expertise in crime scene evidence identification and processing with the ultimate goal of successful prosecution of the offender in a court of law.
Contacts: The incumbent must frequently interact, on a professional basis, with law enforcement officials at all levels, state and federal prosecutors, county coroners, medical examiners and pathologists in person or by telephone.
Knowledge and Experience: The crime scene investigator must successfully complete a minimum of 720 hours training in crime scene processing with a minimum of 80 hours training in latent fingerprint processing, 40 hours in major death investigation, 40 hours in advanced death investigations, 40 hours in photography, 40 hours in blood spatter interpretation and other training courses in arson investigation and forensic pathology. In addition, the crime scene investigator must be certified by the International Association for Identification, Crime Scene Certification Board, within 18 months as a crime scene investigator.
Selection as a crime scene investigator must be based upon a demonstrated knowledge of police investigative techniques, search and seizure and the police officer’s role in criminal prosecution. The incumbent must have or acquire an in-depth knowledge of department and division policies and practices relating to his or her position, Illinois criminal law and procedure and pertinent case law. Skills must be acquired in the fields of science, chemistry, anatomy and the forensics, in addition to those needed for actual crime scene processing. Power of arrest and the authority to carry a weapon and possession of a valid driver license in the appropriate classification required by law are also required.
Thorough knowledge in the proper chemicals used for evidence development based on the type of materials being processed and employed for a particular situation is needed. The incumbent must be aware of the proper procedures for crime scene sketching. A proper understanding of photographic lighting, distortion and proper lens and camera selection is necessary for properly recording a scene photographically.
Abilities: Requires ability to qualify with firearms as required by department policy. Requires ability to conform with the department’s physical fitness and defensive tactics standards. Requires ability to operate and maintain assigned police vehicle and equipment. Requires a clear speaking voice, the ability to receive, understand and act upon oral instructions thorough the use of a radio. Requires ability to lift heavy objects and equipment weighing up to 100 pounds. Requires ability to walk, stand, stoop, crawl, kneel, climb and push/pull objects. Must be able to visually identify or describe persons, vehicles, locations or describe physical evidence and crime scenes by sketching, report writing and providing courtroom testimony. Be able to effectively and accurately document enforcement and investigative activities in handwritten reports.
1. Assumes a high degree of accountability for delivering the highest quality crime scene investigative service possible. This accountability attaches not only to the actual processing of the crime scene, but includes all follow-up tasks.
2. Prepares necessary investigative reports and documentation for court cases. Appears and testifies in official proceedings.
3. Maintains in a state of readiness all technical equipment and assigned vehicles.
4. Performs other duties as assigned or required.
The Crime Scene Investigations Bureau
The Bureau provides support services in the form of crime scene processing, fingerprint identification, and forensic imaging to department entities and other agencies. The goals and objectives of the Crime Scene Investigations units are the collection, preservation, packaging, transportation, and documentation of physical evidence left at the crime scene.
Introduction to Crime Scene Response
Most police investigations begin at the scene of a crime. The scene is simply defined as the actual site or location in which the incident took place. It is important that the first officer on the crime scene properly protect the evidence. The entire investigation hinges on that first person being able to properly identify, isolate, and secure the scene. The scene should be secured by establishing a restricted perimeter. This is done by using some type of rope or barrier. The purpose of securing the scene is to restrict access and prevent evidence destruction.
Once the scene is secured, the restrictions should include all nonessential personnel. An investigation may involve a primary scene as well as several secondary scenes at other locations. On major scenes a safe space or comfort area should be designated at the crime scene to brief investigators, store needed equipment, or as a break area.
In critical incident management the protocol that is being taught today identifies a three layer or tier perimeter. The outer perimeter is established as a border larger than the actual scene, to keep unlookers and nonessential personal safe and away from the scene, an inner perimeter allowing for a command post and comfort area just outside of the scene, and the core or scene itself. An extreme advantage will be seen by taking the time to properly teach the uniform officers and first responders to evaluate and secure the scene.
Physical Evidence at a Crime Scene
Evidence used to resolve an issue can be split into 2 areas. Testimonial evidence and physical evidence. The testimonial evidence would be any witnessed accounts of an incident. The physical evidence would refer to any material items that would be present on the crime scene. These items would be presented in an issue or incident to prove or disprove the facts of the issue. What will evidence collected at a scene do for the investigation :
- May prove that a crime has been committed.
- Establish any key elements of a crime.
- Link a suspect with a scene or a victim.
- Establish the identity of a victim or suspect.
- Corroborate verbal witness testimony.
- Exonerate the innocent.
The evidence that is located and recovered at a scene will give the detectives responsible for the investigation leads to work with in the case.
Types of Evidence
- Impressions include fingerprints, tool marks, footwear, fabric impressions, tire marks and bite marks.
- Forensic Biology includes blood, semen, body fluids, hair, nail scrapings, blood stain patterns,
- Trace Evidence includes gun shot residues, arson accelerant, paint, glass and fibers.
- Firearms includes weapons, gun powder patterns, casings, projectiles, fragments, pellets, wadding and cartridges.
- Question Documents
The Crime Scene Investigator or Evidence Recovery Technician
In the Scientific community the crime scene investigator or evidence recovery technician is accepted as a forensic specialist. His/ Her specialty is considered a professional organized step by step approach to the processing of a crime scene. Extensive study, training, and experience in crime scene investigations is needed for the investigator to be proficient in the field. He/she must be well versed in all areas of recognition, documentation and recovery of physical evidence that may be deposited at the scene. A general knowledge of what analysis may be performed in the lab as well as proper procedures in handling, collecting and packaging of items of evidence is needed to assure those recovered items will safely arrive at the lab.
The duties, assignments, and procedures vary from departments and agencies regarding the investigators or technicians. Therefore the job description may vary depending on geographic locations. For example, if you reside in an area with a large population where it consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally in violent crime occurrences, then the evidence documentation and collection portion of a crime scene response can be a full time job. Where as a geographic location with a much smaller population and fewer criminal acts might necessitate a combination of required job skills. There is also the departmentals sworn verses non-sworn personnel preferences.
Most departments today prefer, if not require some type of college degree. It would be advisable to contact the departments or agencies where you reside or will be residing to find out their particular requirements and duties.
Regardless of whether your major education is in general studies, criminal justice or forensics, a suggestion is to augment those studies with minor courses in basic computer training, drafting, and photography. Any curriculum designed for crime scene in criminal justice classes at most colleges will be developed in general studies not in specifics.
After being selected for employment most departments will have a probationary period where the employee will go through a training period (OJT= on the job training) assigned to a field training officer. Most of the experience to do the job will be gained in this phase of employment. Most departments also offer their employees an opportunity for post employment or in service training to further the employees development. Most of the post employee educational classes for the crime scene investigator would be specific classes geared to crime scene response, evidence collection, forensic photography, fingerprint technology, homicide and death scene investigation.
If the student wishes to search, There are a few colleges today that are offering programs for post graduation classes in various forensic disciplines and crime scene response.
If someone were interested in seeking a job in evidence recovery, it would help to spend a weekend at an auto body shop gaining the experience of removing a door panel, the seat, carpet, head liner or a light assembly. Many times the investigator will have to remove a door or a section of wall from a structure. Grid, dig, or sift for hours through a burial site.
Another area to gain experience is visiting the morgue or a local trauma center. This is not a custom tailored job to suit everyone. What man can sometimes do to mankind is not always a pretty sight to see. If you can not stomach a busy weekend night in the local trauma center or morgue then you will surely not stomach some of the mutilation or uncommon sights that can be common to the job.
Processing the Crime Scene
In an Organized approach to Crime Scene Investigations there are three (3) basic and simple stages in properly processing the crime scene . Those stages consist of Scene Recognition, Scene Documentation and Evidence Collection. An organized approach is a sequence of established and excepted duties and protocols.
An organized approach assures:
- a thorough and legal search is conducted.
- expeditious processing without compromise.
- proper scene documentation.
- proper methods and techniques for evidence recovery.
- proper use and knowledge of resources and equipment.
- all pertinent evidence recovery.
- proper handling and packaging of evidence.
- proper distribution points for evidence analysis.
- proper safety precautions are followed.
The recognition or discovery of evidence begins with the initial search of the scene. The search can be defined as the organized and legal examination of the crime scene to locate items of evidence to the crime under investigation. There are several search methods or patterns applied in an organized search. Factors such as the number of searchers, the size of the area to be searched, the terrain, etc. are used to determine the method or pattern to be employed in the crime scene search.
Since most investigations start with very limited information, care and common sense are necessary to minimize the chances of destroying evidence. A plan of operation is developed and initiated from an initial walk through of the scene. The plan is to decide what evidence may be present, what evidence may be fragile and need to be collected as soon as possible. What resources, equipment, and assistance are necessary for the processing. Consideration of hazards or safety conditions may need to be addressed.
In the documentation stage of an organized approach for processing the crime scene all functions have to correspond and be consistent in depicting the crime scene. The final results of a properly documented crime scene is the ability of others to take your finished work and reconstruction the events that occurred at the scene and your court room presentation. In the Scene Documentation stage there are three simple steps to properly document the crime scene.
- Written notes and reports.
Each method is important in the proper documenting of a crime scene. The notes and reports should be done in a chronological order and should include no opinions, no analysis, or no conclusion. Just the facts!!! The scene should be documented just as the investigator sees it.
The photographs should be taken as soon as possible, to depict the scene as it is observed before anything is handled, moved, or initiated into the scene. The photographs allow a visual permanent record of the crime scene and items of evidence collected from the crime scene. There are three positions or views that the crime scene investigator needs to achieve with the photographs. Those views consist of overall scene photographs showing the most view possible of the scene, mid-range photographs showing the relationships of items and a close up of the item of evidence.
A close up should be taken of items that have serial numbers, tags and vin’s. All stationary evidence where the photograph will be used to assist in the analytical process should be taken using a tripod with the proper lighting techniques for creating any needed shadows. A second photograph adding a measuring devise should be taken of items where the photo will assist in the analytical process.
Sketching a crime scene
Sketches are used along with the reports and photographs to document the scene. A crime scene sketch is simply a drawing that accurately shows the appearance of a crime scene. The sketch is simply drawn to show items, the position and relationship of items. It does not have to be an architectural drawing made to a scale, however it must include exact measurements where needed. The advantage of a sketch is that it can cover a large area and be drawn to leave out clutter that would appear in photographs.
The evidence collection or recovery step in crime scene processing is the methods, techniques, and procedures used in retrieving evidence. Patience and care are very important at the crime scene. The investigator should take the proper time and care in processing the scene. The work is tedious and time consuming.
Teamwork in crime scene investigations is essential. The entire investigation may involve many people from different organizations. Each individual has a vital role in the investigation process. Continual communication among all parties involved is paramount.
Consideration to comfort has to be given during the process stage. The investigator will continuously be in different positions and moving around. The only limits that the investigator will have during the process of retrieving the evidence will be his/her own imagination. Always make your equipment work for you, don’t work for the equipment. The work done at a crime scene is very challenging. Don’t just stand and speak of your work. A great investigator-technician allows their work to speak of them!!!!
I am so happy for these grades. I work so hard. To get these grades. I was a shy away from a A in GOVT 220. But points was deducted. It doesn’t matter. I’m happy with two B’s and a A.
Being a double major can be hard but it’s all worth it. Plus I had taken APOL 104 back over because of the D I had received my freshman year. I had pass the class, but didn’t want that D. Now I just have to do my best D term that starts on the 20th. I know my GPA isn’t at a 3.0 yet. But I’m working on it. 😄
the career i want (CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATOR) but more over a CRIME SCENE DETECTIVE TOO. !!!
Crime Scene Detective: Job Description and Requirements
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a crime scene detective. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about job duties to find out if this is the career for you.
Crime scene detectives are deployed to the crime scene to gather and document evidence and clues. They can pass their findings over to lab analysts to examine them, or they may do it themselves. Education varies by employer, but a 4-year undergraduate degree is often required.
Crime scene detectives identify, collect and process physical evidence at crime scenes. They are generally employed by law enforcement agencies. Prospective crime scene detectives may earn a bachelor’s degree at a college or university in order to enter this career.
|Required Education||Bachelor’s degree|
|Additional Requirements||Law enforcement officer status may be required; police academy training|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-1% for detectives and criminal investigators|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$77,210 for detectives and criminal investigators|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Crime scene detectives are also known as crime scene investigators, crime scene technicians, forensic investigators and forensic science technicians. They are responsible for identifying, collecting, preserving, processing and submitting physical evidence from crime scenes. In addition, they are responsible for analyzing and evaluating the evidence in a forensics laboratory. Evidence may include blood, body fluids, fingernails, fingerprints, glass, hairs, fibers and weapons. They also perform DNA analysis, examine tissues and interpret bloodstain patterns.
When arriving at a crime scene, the detective must secure the scene and ensure that it is not contaminated or disturbed. After identifying any evidence, the detective must secure the evidence by collecting it in a container and properly labeling the container with the date and time. The crime scene detective also determines if any photography or video is needed and documents any sketches or measurements.
Crime scene detectives also operate special equipment for alternative lighting, lifting fingerprints and reconstructing bullet paths. They also use special software that allows them to reproduce crime scenes in 3D.
The detective’s job duties include preparing an investigative report which contains documenting evidence, documenting the crime scene and the techniques that were used when analyzing the evidence. A crime scene detective may also be responsible for appearing at various trials as an expert witness.
Though not a requirement, many crime scene detectives are law enforcement officers. Each law enforcement agency has its own requirements for becoming crime scene detectives; however, most require at least a 4-year bachelor’s degree from a college or university. Though no specific bachelor’s degree is required for this career, a forensics or science degree is preferred. Some of the courses may include:
- Crime scene investigation
- Criminal evidence
Crime scene detectives must also possess exceptional organizational and computer skills, strong written skills and the ability to communicate with others. They must also possess the ability to operate photographic and video equipment. Employers may require:
- Background check
- Drug test
- Physical examination
- Polygraph test
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that detective and criminal investigator positions were predicted to decline by 1% from 2014-2024, which was slower than the average growth of 7% for all occupations. Detectives and criminal investigators earned a median annual salary of $77,210 in 2015, per BLS.
Detectives must know how to properly conduct a crime scene investigation. Being perceptive and accurate are the essential qualities of a crime scene detective. Most government agencies require these detectives to possess a bachelor’s degree in forensics or a similar discipline, sometimes even requiring law enforcement training and experience.