Halena Weymouth Youth Worker Career

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Halena Weymouth Youth Worker Career


by Halena Weymouth

Child workers typically provide support and guidance for children from troubled or unstable backgrounds. The kids and families they help may have behavioral, emotional and/or developmental problems. Child workers usually have one-on-one or group therapy sessions, plan activities and trips, record clients’ progress and write reports on them, provide information for clients’ families, and encourage children and teens to make positive decisions. I’ve always enjoyed helping others, especially children, and find advising them on personal issues interesting and personally rewarding. I also like collecting data, so I think that writing reports and analyzing people’s behavior could be interesting. However, I’m not sure the emotionally draining aspect of the job would be worth the relatively low salary.

The work environment varies, from homes to clinics to schools. It sometimes depends on the worker’s specific role. For example, one working at a school or clinic typically does one-on-one or group sessions, whereas one at a home is more likely to be working with the family on a whole. Some may be employed at government departments, treatment centers, group homes, youth centers, community organizations, or live at residential facilities. Youth workers are very rarely asked to travel outside a city or town.Most youth workers clock in about 35-40 hours a week, which can include evenings and/or weekends. They are usually either on a set schedule or work on call.The stress level for youth workers tends to be high, considering their main focus is balancing other people’s problems and often working with behaviorally-challenged youth.What I would like about this setting is the fairly few hours, and the prospect of helping others so closely. Youth workers who are employed at and live in residential facilities with their clients often organize and participate in meals, chores, activities and trips, and I think that sounds like an interesting and exciting experience. What I would dislike about it might be the potentially stressful environment, and the possibility of aggressive confrontations and/or conflict.


Child and Youth Worker

Important PointsA youth worker has to be calm, helpful, thoughtful, quick-thinking, kind, persuasive and motivational. They must be able to consider others’ feelings and ideas with an open mind, and understand their point of view. I think I have many of these characteristics, and have always enjoyed assisting friends and family with problems I might face as a youth worker. This is why I think I might enjoy and be good at that aspect of the career.Youth workers have many important values I connect with. For example, they must put others’ needs before their own, and be truly empathetic with those in trouble or need. I always feel personal reward helping people with their social and emotional issues, and believe that would make me better at this job.Preparatory EducationTo be a child and youth worker/social worker, one must have completed at least four years of post-HS education, or have acquired a bachelor’s degree. This fits my educational plan already. Clinical social workers also require a master’s degree and a few years of supervised experience or out-of-school trainingSome helpful and preparatory classes for this job might include: Youth Services/Administration, Social Work, Juvenile Corrections, English Language, Psychology, Therapy and Counseling, Sociology, Customer and Personal Service, Law and Government, Clerical Training, and Education.Northwestern University would be an ideal college to attend, because it offers bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees in Speech Communication, Behavior Studies, Education of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities, English Language, Communication Sciences, Family Therapy, Legal Studies, Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Community Organization, Anthropology, Sociology and other related majors. It also offers high-quality information and an average financial aid package of almost $42k. Salary and OutlookThe median entry-level wage for social workers is about $25k annually. With advanced degrees, however, it’s closer to $30-40k, and those working in public and government settings typically earn more than those in private sectors.The average yearly salary for youth workers is around $45k, but those working in elementary and secondary schools earned an average of $60k. Moreover, the average income has increased a fairly significant amount since the late 90’s, rising from $30k yearly. The only specific benefits from this job are the relatively few hours and the fair amount of control over your work week. This would fit my expectations well, because if I worked at an elementary school I would have the opportunity to eventually earn a fair amount of money, and would be able to pay all my bills. I also don’t expect to earn a very large salary in any field.From 2012-2022, the amount of youth workers is expected to grow 15.1%, and for there to be about 43,100 more on the whole (from 285,700 openings yearly to 328,800). The current annual average openings is about 103,600.



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