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Youth Organization Worker Job Description, Career as a Youth Organization Worker, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Varies—see profile

Salary Average—$16,000 to $18,000 per year

Employment Outlook Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

The YMCA down the street, the Girl Scout troop that meets in the church basement, and the teen center just opened in the municipal building are all led by youth organization workers. These workers are employed by many different organizations, but all share the same goal: helping young people enjoy themselves and grow to be responsible adults.

Youth organization workers are employed full time or part time, as salaried employees or as volunteers. In large organizations, such as Hillel and the Boy Scouts of America, both full-time and part-time workers are employed. Full-time workers manage organizations on a daily basis. Executive directors raise funds, develop new programs, balance budgets, plan for new buildings, and supervise other workers. Activity directors plan specific programs for youths and organize other workers to help run them.

A youth organization worker plays chess with teenagers at a program sponsored by the city's department of recreation. (© Martha Tabor/Working Images Photographs. Reproduced by permission.)

Education and Training Requirements

Most youth organization jobs require at least high school education. Most full-time activity directors have associate degrees or bachelor's degrees, while executive directors usually have bachelor's degrees.

High school courses in English, math, science, and social studies are useful, as are college classes in sociology, child psychology, recreation, public speaking, art, music, and physical education. Many youth organization workers earn degrees in recreation with emphasis on youth work. Volunteer work for youth agencies—day camp counselor, municipal recreation helper, or aide in a church organization—can be a good credential for employment.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can apply directly to any youth agency or to the national or regional headquarters of such organizations as the Girl Scouts of America or the YMCA. School placement offices may have information about job openings.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Most workers begin their careers as assistants to activity or recreation directors. With experience and training, they may be promoted to administrative positions.

While most communities need youth organization workers, employment depends on the funds available, which are usually provided through private grants and charitable donations.

Working Conditions

Working conditions vary. Some employees are on the job forty hours each week, while others work mainly at night and on weekends. Most spend a good deal of time outdoors.

Youth organization workers generally must be in good physical condition because much of the work involves supervising recreation programs for youngsters. They must be patient, kind, and able to communicate with all kinds of people. Above all, they must enjoy working with young people.

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings depend on location, duties, education, and experience. Average salaries for full-time youth organization workers with bachelor's degrees range from $16,000 to $18,000 per year.

Where to Go for More Information

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance
1900 Association Dr.
Reston, VA 20191
(800) 213-7193

National Community Education Association
3929 Old Lee Hwy., Ste. 91-A
Alexandria, VA 22030-2401
(703) 359-8973

Full-time workers generally receive paid sick leave and vacations and life and health insurance.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service