Overview of Classes for Activities Directors

Activities directors manage programs that promote social interaction, mental stimulation and physical exercise, typically for the elderly population. Learn about some common classes that aspiring activities directors take.

Essential Information

Classes for activities directors are available at numerous community colleges as part of certificate and associate degree programs. Many of these programs focus on activities-related work in a specific setting, like long-term care, and hands-on field experiences may be required. Completion of some programs can prepare students for required state certification or licensure. Graduates may find work in nursing homes, hospitals, group homes and senior centers.

Here are some common concepts for activities directors courses:

  • Mental/physical aspects of aging
  • Behavioral challenges
  • Communication skills
  • Personal responsibility
  • Assertiveness/self-confidence and self-awareness

List of Common Courses

Human and Aging Services Introduction Course

Many associate degree programs include an introductory course that teaches students about careers of this nature. It provides instruction in the history of and benefits and skills required for a career as an activities director. Students learn about the role as well as different settings they may work in, such as retirement facilities and hospices.

Activities and Event Planning Course

Certificate programs often address physical, cognitive and social activities in one course, whereas associate degree programs cover them in separate courses. Students learn to generate activity programs based on assessing population needs and behaviors. They also practice planning events, which includes scouting locations and pooling resources.

Managing Aging Populations Course

Although activities directors can manage programs for a variety of demographic groups, they are typically employed in retirement, nursing and critical care facilities that focus on caring for the elderly. A course that focuses on emotional and physical issues specific to an elderly population teaches aspiring activities directors to consider the needs of aging participants. The topics often address the aging process and its mental and physical effects.

Crisis Management Course

The mental and physical challenges encountered by the elderly often cause behavioral difficulties that aspiring activities directors and their staff must be able to handle. Students get instructed in various crisis situations and intervention techniques. They learn to handle aggressive and difficult behavior with assertiveness and confidence.

Instruction in Management Skills Course

This course deals with management skills required to become a successful activities director. Its topics include skills in communications, personnel management, budgeting, time management, leadership, ethical responsibilities and quality control. Some programs go over these skills in detail in separate courses.

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