Professional Development

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Searching for a Career Identity?

Youth need and deserve capable adults to create and sustain stimulating environments for them to grow and experience meaning in their lives.

The current crises in our society make their youth voices even more compelling. What's becoming more visible during these crises is that human—as well as physical—resources are not sufficient to meet the growing demands placed on youth-serving organizations. Youth workers may be overwhelmed with demands without the guidance to provide affirmation to their service to youth.

Did you know that there is a degree program that prepares youth workers to develop competencies with a mission to both serve youth effectively and build leadership skills to guide other youth workers to promote the positive youth development framework?

The Master of Science in Youth Development Leadership at Clemson University will equip you with the competencies, knowledge, and skills necessary to help young people develop into healthy, competent, coping, and contributing citizens. This online degree program is designed to meet the needs of students who are also working professionals. You can obtain this degree and the knowledge gained in the program to prepare for opportunities in youth development organizations, agencies, and institutions. Previous graduates of the M.S. YDL degree program have been employed with K-12 schools, 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, nonprofit organizations, day and overnight camps, faith-based organizations, recreation/community agencies, juvenile justice, grant extension services/programs, and a variety of afterschool programs.

A recent survey of 59 M.S. YDL degree program graduates provided compelling evidence for the value of the program. For instance, 84% of respondents reported receiving a raise in pay and/or new professional opportunities. One respondent stated, "I am in line to be promoted again because of my graduate degree."

Graduates also reported significant increases in their professional competencies in many areas including Youth Engagement in Program Activities, Program Planning and Implementation, and Professional Development and Leadership. When asked what products they developed in their professional positions by obtaining the M.S. in YDL, respondents identified the four most frequent products as writing grant proposals, writing assessment and evaluation reports, building evidence-based curriculum, and conducting employee training. These are critical skill sets that leaders today need, and these products are examples of the knowledge and skills you can develop in the YDL degree program.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has become recognized as a primary approach to professional development. The M.S. YDL program has been an innovator in online education since 2006, and our faculty have extensive experience teaching in an online environment. Students not only meet with faculty weekly via Zoom, they also develop strong, supportive relationships with other students through a cohort model in which they complete each course with the same group of students. Students not only learn from nationally recognized faculty, but also from their peers who are working with youth in a range of youth development settings. If you are searching for a career identity and growing your competencies in serving youth and the organizations in which you are affiliated, consider the M.S. online degree program in Youth Development Leadership.

For more information, visit Clemson University, email or call 864-656-3400.

Submitted by Dr. William Quinn, Professor and Coordinator of Youth Development Programs, Clemson University.

Courtesy of Clemson University.