Child & Youth Care

What to expect from a Child and Youth Care career

A career as a child and youth care practitioner can be mentally draining and difficult, but it is also one of the most rewarding jobs. You see firsthand how your help leads to better lives. There are thousands of children and youth each year who could benefit from the support of a professional in this field. Ontario college child and youth care programs provide students with the knowledge and experience needed to make a positive impact on those who need it.

If you would like to help children, youth and families through difficult and challenging situations with a career as a child and youth care practitioner, here’s what you need to know.

Child and Youth Care Courses

Child and youth care programs at Ontario colleges prepare students to work with children and youth who have social, emotional or behavioural issues. Students take courses that cover a wide range of problems and situations, including (but not limited to):

  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Aggression
  • Abuse
  • Poverty

Courses teach students crisis management, treatment options and strategies, counselling, case management and child and adolescent development. Programs ensure students possess a high understanding of how sociological, psychological and familial factors affect today’s children and youth.

Programs include mandatory work placements that are fundamental in training child and youth care practitioners. Placements are often staggered throughout the program to allow students to apply skills soon after they learn them.

General Child and Youth Care Program Requirements

Ontario college child and youth care programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, including a grade 12 English credit. Some colleges may recommend preparing by taking courses in sociology and psychology.

Other requirements may include First Aid and CPR certifications and up-to-date immunizations. Criminal Record Checks will be needed during the program before your first field placement. Program requirements can vary, so be sure to check them carefully before applying.

Child and Youth Care Jobs and Salaries

Child and youth care programs prepare students for jobs as behavioural therapists, family service workers, development and support workers and more. Graduates will find rewarding careers in a variety of settings, including (but not limited to):

  • Schools
  • Shelters and group homes
  • Social service agencies
  • Community and mental health centres
  • Correctional facilities

Average starting salaries for child and youth care practitioners are $30,000. The level of experience and the type of organization you work for will also impact your wages.

Ontario Colleges Offering Child and Youth Care Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of child and youth care programs at Ontario colleges.

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