Youth Administration and Services
The youth administration and services field provides critical resources and assistance for disadvantaged, troubled or at-risk children, adolescents and young adults. Continue reading to learn more about careers in this field, job outlook, salary projections and what education and training you will need for employment.
Are Youth Administration and Services Right for Me?
The youth administration and services industry is a human services field that focuses on resource development, education and intervention programs for children and adolescents. Youth administration and services professionals work to ensure that children and young adults up to the age of 21 receive the basic tools and resources necessary to achieve a successful start. Youth administration might include the coordination of basic necessities, such as food and shelter, as well as the management of individuals' mental health, stability and self-sufficiency.
Today's youth face obstacles that can lead them to make detrimental or dangerous decisions. In some situations, children and adolescents are forced into foster care, inadequate housing or violent family situations, which may affect their ability to learn and ultimately lead to self-destructive behaviors. Drug abuse, low self-esteem and peer pressure also can contribute to juvenile delinquency and crime. Youth development professionals can spend their time organizing youth programs, administering counseling services, coordinating enrichment activities and supervising rehabilitation services.
You can choose from several occupations, including a career in social work, youth counseling or juvenile probation. Job duties vary significantly depending on the career you choose, but you can expect to interact daily with young people who are seeking guidance and reassurance. If you work as a social worker or counselor, you can expect to perform community outreach projects, advise youths on a daily basis and possibly manage a caseload. You also must interview clients, make referrals and follow up to ensure a client's specific goals are met. Juvenile probation officers work with young people who have been convicted of a crime. They assist their clients with rehabilitation by supervising their daily activities as ordered by a court.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that child, family and school social workers made median annual earnings of $41,530 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). Educational and vocational counselors reported median earnings of $53,610 during the same period. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned a median wage of $48,190, according to the BLS.
Employment of child, family and school social workers is expected to increase 15% from 2012-2022, per the BLS. Educational and vocational counselor jobs are predicted to increase 12% during that same period; the number of jobs for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is expected to decline by 1%.
How Can I Work in Youth Administration and Services?
The education required for youth administration and services jobs varies depending on the complexity of the position and the employer. For example, entry-level opportunities as a human service assistant or child advocate are available with an associate's degree. Youth administration or management positions with government agencies or nonprofit organizations can usually be obtained with a bachelor's degree in human services or youth administration.
A youth services administration bachelor's degree program prepares you to identify and alleviate the specific problems youth face through courses in minority and urban life experience, public policy making, adolescence and human behavior. You can also expect to take classes in psychology and family services, as well as communications, health promotion and child abuse prevention.
Master's degree programs are available in youth development and typically require the completion of a thesis and seminar. Some educational institutions offer certificate programs that don't require you to hold an undergraduate degree to enroll. The curriculum you select may also require the completion of fieldwork in a youth services area to gain hands-on experience.
If you plan on becoming a social worker or probation officer, you typically can find entry-level jobs with a bachelor's degree in social work. Advanced clinical social work opportunities require a master's degree in social work.
Licensing and Certification
All states and the District of Columbia require social workers to complete a registration or MSW licensing process, reported the BLS. Clinical social workers are typically required to complete a period of post-graduate work experience and take an exam in order to qualify for licensing.