Youth Development Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in youth development. Read on to learn more about career options along with typical responsibilities and training information. Schools offering Child & Adolescent Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Youth Development Job Entail?

A youth development position could allow you to help children and adolescents develop physically, emotionally and intellectually. There are many different positions within the field of youth development that may appeal to you, such as becoming a recreation worker, a social and community service manager, or a social worker. Social workers, when specifically working with children, are generally responsible for monitoring a child's well-being both at home and at school, offering resources when needed and intervening in hostile situations. Recreation workers design and implement leisure activities suitable for youths, while social and community service managers ensure that such programs are widely available across the community. All three of these positions will require you to have a good understanding of how to communicate effectively with children across a range of ages.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Recreation Worker Social and Community Service Manager Social Worker
Degree Required Bachelor's degree usually required Bachelor's degree at minimum, master's degree preferred Bachelor's degree at minimum, master's degree and licensure is required for all clinical social workers
Key Responsibilities Design and lead leisure activities for groups in volunteer agencies or recreation facilities Coordinate and supervise social service programs and community organizations Help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives
Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%* 10%* 12%*
Average Salary (2015) $26,610* $69,430* $46,610 (for all child, family, and school social workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Youth Development Jobs?

In a youth development job, you might provide career development services, academic assistance, counseling, exposure to the arts, athletic training, standardized test preparation and community service opportunities. You might also advocate for the rights of children and promote policies that serve young people.

Youth development jobs can be found in educational settings, community programs, religious institutions or government programs. If you work for a community program, you might lead an after-school or recreational program. In the educational sector, you might tutor students and provide other educational experiences in the classroom or outside of the classroom. You might find positions in government-funded programs, such as Head Start, or in your city's Department of Parks of and Recreation.You could work with young people ranging from preschool-age to high-school-age.

What Training Do I Need?

The education you need depends upon the type of job you want, but youth development jobs are available for all levels of education. Most people in this field come from backgrounds in child care, social work and education, and many enter youth work from other related careers. You might prepare for a career in youth work with a yearlong certificate program in youth development through a college or university. Bachelor's degree programs in human services or youth development give you a foundation knowledge of psychology, sociology, health and education.

For some careers, you may be required to hold a master's degree. You might study for a graduate degree in youth development to learn different approaches to youth work and how to apply them. You would learn about laws that affect young people and how to promote legislature that positively affects youth. This master's program would also prepare you to resolve issues with financing, boards, agencies and families.

Where Might I Work?

Positions could be found through a variety of organizations and institutions: 4-H clubs, the YMCA and YWCA, schools, camps, churches, community centers, social service organizations and the juvenile justice system. Some jobs might be worked out of offices, health clinics and homes.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a host of alternative careers suited to those who enjoy working directly with children. You may want to think about becoming a teacher for kids at the kindergarten, elementary, middle school or high school level, a career path that will require you to earn a bachelor's degree. Another option is to become a school counselor, offering support and advice to children with social, emotional or educational problems. Similarly, career counselors help children nearing the end of their educational tracks decide what they want to do in the future, pointing them towards careers or suggesting further education options. Counselors need to have studied to the master's degree level.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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