What does a youth worker do?
Youth workers focus on helping young people with a variety of needs and issues. They build relationships, teach values, organize events, and provide counseling and mentoring. They often plan special field trips and activities to help young people engage in positive situations. Youth workers strive to provide young individuals with valuable lessons and help them make good decisions and avoid risky situations. They often talk to individuals about a variety of things occurring in their lives and provide positive advice. Youth workers often work for churches, nonprofit organizations, schools, and other facilities that focus on youth services. Some work for programs that focus on helping individuals with issues such as substance abuse, poverty, and criminal activity.
What kind of training does a youth worker need?
Youth workers must have at least a high school diploma or GED, but most employers prefer applicants with formal training in youth work and sufficient experience working with young individuals. Prospective youth workers typically complete courses in psychology, adolescent development, counseling, humanities, social services, and communications. Most aspiring youth workers complete volunteer experience to gain practical experience in the field and establish valuable contacts. Most employers provide some on the job training to enable new youth workers to learn the required policies and procedures. Most employers also require new youth workers to pass background checks and medical tests. Youth workers often complete continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills current and stay up to date with advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a youth worker?
Employment of youth workers is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased demand for youth services will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be excellent, especially for youth workers with extensive experience. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace youth workers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do youth workers make?
As of April 2010, the average annual salary for youth workers is $37,000; average annual youth worker salaries vary greatly location, employer, (2).
A career as a youth worker is a great choice for people with a strong desire to help young people. Youth workers must have a solid understanding of the necessary policies and procedures of a variety of youth programs. Patience, understanding, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Youth workers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to inspire trust and confidence. They must be quick on their feet and be able to make effective decisions in stressful situations.