Afterschool programs provide children with a safe, academically enriching but still fun environment. The afterschool program director's job is to ensure the safety of the children, design appropriate activities and record the progress of the program. There are several careers that can include directing an afterschool program.
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With more parents working full-time jobs than ever before, the availability of quality afterschool childcare has become a concern in many communities. As a result, many school systems and community organizations have developed afterschool programs to provide academic support and enrichment activities for children. These programs are generally managed by program directors, who are experienced professionals with backgrounds in education.
|Career||Preschool and Childcare Center Director||Recreation Worker|
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in education or a related field||Bachelor's degree typically required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||7%||10%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$45,670 (for education administrators, preschool and childcare center/program)||$22,390|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
An afterschool program director manages programs outside of school hours for children. The program may be sponsored by the school district, a church, or a nonprofit organization, but program directors generally work closely with day schools to provide an enriching and educationally sound experience. Directors develop the structure of the program based on the needs and interests of the students and their parents, manage the program staff and operations, and maintain relationships with the community. In some cases, the director is the spokesperson for the program, representing it to the community and the media.
Afterschool programs vary widely according to their sponsoring organizations, budgets, and the participant interests. Whether a program is educational, arts-focused, sports-focused, or religion-centered, the program director works with the program staff to develop an appropriate curriculum and plan activities that are consistent with the mission of the program. After school programs could teach children literacy skills, assist them with developing interpersonal skills or help them improve their academic performances.
In conjunction with developing the curriculum, the director also manages evaluation and assessment procedures for the program. Through both formal and informal assessments, the director tracks the progress of the program and individual students and provides progress reports to parents, schools, and the sponsoring organization.
The director of the afterschool program is responsible for the recruitment, hiring, and training of all staff. In some cases, the director is the immediate supervisor of the staff. Program directors also perform performance evaluations and develop professional development plans for the staff to ensure the program maintains a high level of quality.
Directors manage the operations of the afterschool center or program, from ensuring that the staff has the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs, to monitoring the environment for health and safety hazards. In some cases, the director may also be involved with the financial management of the organization, in terms of budgeting, purchasing, and accounts payable.
Because the success of any afterschool program depends on its ability to attract students and provide them with meaningful and enriching experiences, afterschool program directors need to build relationships with schools, parents, and community groups to spread the world about the program and build support for it. The director may meet with parents, church groups, community groups, and school representatives to discuss the program and its benefits and seek feedback on how it can better serve children.
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not specifically list salary data for afterschool program directors. However, as of 2015, the median annual wage for educational administrators in preschools and child care centers/programs was $45,670. This includes programs sponsored by school districts, civic and community groups, religious organizations, social advocacy groups, and family services. While afterschool program directors are not specifically listed, the BLS did report that the more general category of preschool and childcare center directors is expected to see a of 7% growth between 2014 and 2024.
Many types of community and education facilities offer afterschool programs. As an afterschool program director, you'll need great communication skills, the ability to work with children and families and excellent planning skills. Salaries vary depending on the employer and your job title.