How to Become an Activity Director for Seniors

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Professional senior activity directors plan and implement programs in retirement homes and community centers to provide recreation and entertainment. But before launching your career in this profession, you must earn a degree in physical activity or leisure studies or gain 1 to 2 years of experience working as an activity director for this age group. Plus, you'll need to update your resume and apply to positions.

  • Make sure you meet the minimum qualifications. Most senior centers prefer that activity directors have a degree in physical activity or leisure studies; however, some centers will consider individuals with comparable experience. Also, you will need a clean driving record.

  • Get internship experience. If you're interested in becoming an activity director but don't have a bachelor's degree or experience, set up an internship. Even if a senior home doesn't have an internship established, contact the center manager and discuss creating an opportunity. This will allow you to gain the required experience, network and get references.

  • Update your resume. Once you've gained the required experience, update your resume to reflect your ability to successfully plan activities with senior citizens.

  • Secure an activity director position. To find these positions, target local senior centers and homes in your area. Many of these positions are unadvertised, so contacting the company directly is a good idea. Also, check popular career boards such as Monster, Indeed and Hot Jobs.

  • Network with other activity directors. Once you've secured a position, it's important to stay connected with other industry professionals. Network with other senior activity directors to come up with new ideas and make future contacts (in case you need to secure another job).

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't forget to follow up on your resume. Call the hiring manager and offer to answer any questions they may have. This will maximize your exposure to hiring managers.
  • Be prepared to consent to a criminal background check. Most senior centers and homes will require individuals to have a clean background history. This will require completing an authorization form and submitting fingerprints (which can be taken at your local police department).

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