For those interested in becoming an activity director, there are several different degree levels available online from many institutions. Here we will consider some of the degree levels and specializations, as well as explore a few of the schools that offer these programs.
How to Select an Online Activity Director School
An activity director organizes and implements activities for residents of nursing homes. Some educational opportunities for activity directors are designed as entry-level training programs. There are also online degree and graduate certificate programs available at several colleges and universities. There are many degree options that prospective activity directors can choose from. Some, such as degrees in fitness and wellness, are general programs that can serve those entering a variety of different professions. Others, such as associate's degrees specifically for activity directors, provide specific knowledge of the field and ready graduates for employment.
Because activity directors do not normally need to seek licensure, employers' hiring requirements vary greatly. Students should consider whether to enroll in a broader degree program in health and wellness or a focused program that provides training as an activity director. It's a good idea to speak with managers of local nursing homes to see what their criteria for hiring activity directors are.
Degree Level and Educational Needs
Those who wish to enter careers as activity directors and need entry-level training in the profession have different educational needs from those who are already activity directors. Those seeking an entry-level position should look for an associate's or bachelor's degree program in an area that completes their training and fulfills job requirements. Meanwhile, current activity directors who wish to continue their education, either to retain their certification or for career advancement purposes, can find a number of certificate or higher degree options that fit their needs.
Program Options Available Online for Activity Directors
Associate of Applied Science - Activity Director
Online associate's degree programs for activity directors are usually delivered via education software that utilizes e-mail, real-time testing capabilities and voice or video conferencing. Normally, associate degree programs, even when presented online, are designed to follow a particular class schedule and have limited flexibility. An associate's degree program for activity directors focuses specifically on issues such as:
- Cognitive behavior therapies
- Volunteer management
- Time and stress management
- Event management
- Working with diverse populations
Bachelor of Science in Wellness
A bachelor's degree program in wellness, health or a related area can provide the training necessary for a career as an activity director. Students in this program take an array of science courses along with the core health classes. Most online bachelor's degree programs use the same unified education software as associate's degree programs, but bachelor's degree programs are more likely to allow for scheduling flexibility, making them more suitable for adults who wish to continue working full time while completing their degree. Some of the core subjects in this degree program are:
- Human anatomy
- Human physiology
- Nutrition and health
- Behavior change strategies
- First aid and CPR
Schools with Online Programs in Health and Wellness
The University of Wisconsin offers students an online Bachelor of Science degree program in health and wellness management. This program consists of courses taught by expert faculty and has no on campus requirements. Students will learn how to create and manage various health initiatives. As this is a degree completion program, potential students should have some college credits or an associate's degree.
Kaplan University also provides an online Bachelor of Science program in health and wellness. Their program allows for broad study in the field, as well as trains students with a mind-body-spirit perspective. Flexible start dates allow students to begin courses when it is convenient for them.
The American College of Healthcare Sciences offers an Associate of Applied Science program in health and wellness. This degree program prepares students for various entry-level positions in the health setting. Students study holistic techniques for wellness and learn how to design wellness plans.
Online associate's and bachelor's degree programs in health and/or wellness can be a solid educational foundation for an aspiring activity director. Students should consider which area they would like to specialize in, as well as their long-term career goals when selecting a program.