Careers in Youth Work
Becoming a Youth Worker
There are a number of ways to become a youth worker:
Apprenticeships in Youth Work
An apprenticeship is a way for young people and adult learners to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a youth support worker level 2 or 3 certificate in youth work practice and real experience of working with young people. As an employer hiring an apprentice provides you with the opportunity to develop workers’ talents and gain a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
Many youth work providers are now employing youth support worker apprenticeships. Find out more about getting onto a youth work apprenticeship.
Youth Support Worker
Most people enter youth work as either a volunteer or a paid worker/apprentice and are typically called youth support workers.
Youth support workers is a youth worker who has achieved a level 2 or 3 qualification or a diploma in youth work practice. These are qualifications for people who work with young people using youth work principles and practice. The level 2 is for 16+ age group and the level 3 is aimed at the 18+ age group.
We do not hold details of where you can undertake level 2 or 3 qualifications. These qualifications are provided by a range of awarding organisations. To find out more about getting a place on a course contact the awarding organisation direct.
Professional Youth Worker
If you have gained a qualification that enables access to degree level learning, you can move on to gain a professional level youth work qualification such as:
- BA (Hons): three years full time (and part time equivalent) – level 6
- PG Dip: one year full time (and part time equivalent) – level 7
- MA: one year (and part time equivalent) – level 7
- Graduate Diploma: two years full time – level 6
These courses are offered by universities or colleges of higher education. Your course will need to be ‘JNC recognised’ and validated by the National Youth Agency for you to gain the status of qualified youth worker.
JNC recognition ensures your degree reflects the current demands of the role and that the course delivers a suitable level of work experience too. You cannot change the status of your degree later so think carefully before embarking on a course of study which is not JNC recognised. Read more on our role validating youth work training.
You can search a list of the courses we validate to find the right one for you. Find a course that will provide the status of professional youth worker.
You can also find a course by geographic location by looking at our youth work degree training map.
The courses reflect different occupational needs, and have a range of titles, including:
• youth and community
• community and youth studies
• youth and theology
• informal and community education.
Whilst most universities will have entry requirements, all institutions offering youth and community courses will welcome applications from those without academic qualifications providing they have relevant experience and interest in working with young people. Contact the institution for details.
To find out about youth work training in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, contact:
CLD Standards Council for Scotland
Youth Council for Northern Ireland – contact Maurice Devlin or Anne-Marie McClure
Regional Youth Work Units
Youth Work Unit West Midlands – send an email
Youth Focus North East – send an email
Partnership for Young London – send an email
Youth Work Unit, Yorkshire & Humberside – send an email
Youth Focus North West – send an email