For some kids, truancy officers are truly life savers. A truancy officer, who may also be called an attendance officer or attendance worker, strives to keep kids from falling through the cracks by keeping them in school. This work is hard, heartbreaking and sometimes hugely rewarding, so candidates have to be both tough and resilient to keep going.
Truancy officers work to get kids to go to school and stay there. Typically, a truancy officer works for a single school or school district and keeps track of all the students who have chronic attendance issues. If a student misses too many days of school without a legitimate reason (like illness), the truancy officer will contact the student's family to try to find out what's going on. He may even go to students' homes in the morning to escort them to school and confer with a student's teachers, counselors and social workers about the issues that are keeping the child from being in school. Informally, a truancy officer may act as a sympathetic or encouraging adult presence in the lives of kids who are struggling with family instability and other issues.
A typical attendance officer job description may also include representing the school district in court if a case involves a student's absenteeism. Depending on local laws, parents may sometimes be fined or even jailed for letting their kids miss too much school, so a truancy officer may be called into court to testify. Making sure that students are in school is important not only because it's critical to a student's academic success and ability to progress to a higher grade level, but also because some districts are subject to laws that require them to meet certain attendance standards.
Some truancy officer positions require a bachelor's degree in a field like counseling or education; for others, a high school diploma or GED is sufficient. Experience in the local court system is a plus, as candidates have to be well versed in local laws regarding minors. A candidate may also be required to have a driver's license and experience working with kids.
Not every district employs truancy officers. Smaller towns or cities may only have a few truancy officer positions. They tend to be employed by large districts or those in urban areas where truancy is a significant problem. Truancy officers work during school hours and on school days, although they don't usually clock out when the final bell rings. Officers may make home visits after school and in the evenings when students' parents or guardians are home.
Years of Experience and Salary
Because this is a small industry, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't track salary information specific to truancy officers. The BLS reports that $48,430 is the average salary for child, family and school social workers, a group that includes the professionals who fight truancy. Truancy officers self-report average salaries between $30,000 and $55,000.
Job Growth Trend
Again, because of the specialized nature of this industry, the BLS doesn't track or predict growth trends related to truancy officers.