How to Become an Activities Director in 5 Steps

Activities directors plan programs and events that meet the needs of people with disabilities or senior citizens. Find out about job duties and education requirements for this career, as well as where activities directors work. Schools offering Sports & Recreation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Activities Director?

Activities directors plan, organize and supervise events and programs for seniors and the disabled. These are intended to improve daily living skills, promote socialization and increase physical and mental abilities. In this role, you design and implement programs to meet the needs and physical limitations of participants. Activities you might oversee include individual and team sports, arts and crafts, plays, games, social events and pet therapy.

Step 1: Pursue a Bachelor's Degree

A majority of individuals working as activities directors hold a bachelor's degree. You may wish to major in therapeutic recreation. Topics you may encounter in this bachelor's degree program include communication practices, psychology, gerontology, sociology, aquatic activities and ethics. You also complete a clinical internship under the supervision of a certified recreational therapist. You can earn this degree in four years to satisfy the educational requirements for certification.

Step 2: Find a Job

After graduation, you might seek an entry-level position as an activities assistant in a rehabilitation facility, clinic, hospital, nursing home, senior center or camp. Facilities such as nursing homes are regulated by the state, and you may need to complete a training program and meet other requirements before working with residents. In an assistant position, you develop leadership and therapy skills and gain necessary experience to become an activities director.

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

While working as an activities director, you need to exercise patience while working with fragile and mentally disabled individuals. You use creative energy and imaginative thinking to encourage active participation. You may have the opportunity to focus on specific demographics, such as disabled children, Alzheimer's patients and individuals in drug rehabilitation facilities.

Step 4: Become Certified

Federal law requires activities departments in the health care field to be overseen by qualified professionals. One way for you to meet this requirement is to earn a an Activity Director Certified credential through the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals. To qualify, you must have a college degree, obtain thousands of hours of relevant work experience and complete additional training as well as education coursework (www.nccap.org).

Step 5: Advance Your Career

Many activities directors choose to move to higher administrative or supervisory positions in nursing homes or hospitals. Employers may require you to earn a master's degree in business or health administration. Advancement options also include becoming a trainer for other directors or conducting research for government organizations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • DeVry University

    DeVry University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at DeVry University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Arizona: Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix
    • California: Alhambra, Anaheim, Bakersfield, Colton, Daly City, Elk Grove, Fremont, Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, Oxnard, Palmdale, Pomona, San Diego, San Jose, Sherman Oaks
    • Colorado: Colorado Springs, Greenwood Village, Westminster
    • Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Tampa
    • Georgia: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Decatur, Duluth, Stockbridge
    • Illinois: Addison, Chicago, Downers Grove, Elgin, Gurnee, Naperville, Tinley Park
    • Indiana: Indianapolis, Merrillville
    • Maryland: Bethesda
    • Michigan: Southfield
    • Minnesota: Edina
    • Missouri: Kansas City, Saint Louis
    • North Carolina: Charlotte, Morrisville
    • New Jersey: Cherry Hill, North Brunswick, Paramus
    • Nevada: Henderson
    • New York: New York, Rego Park
    • Ohio: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Seven Hills
    • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
    • Oregon: Portland
    • Pennsylvania: Fort Washington, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
    • Tennessee: Memphis, Nashville
    • Texas: Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Irving, Richardson, San Antonio, Sugar Land
    • Utah: Sandy
    • Virginia: Arlington, Chesapeake, Manassas
    • Washington: Bellevue, Federal Way, Lynnwood
    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Baker College Online

    Baker College Online responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Baker College Online:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Medaille College

    Medaille College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Medaille College:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Southwest

    University of the Southwest responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Southwest:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster Career School

    Penn Foster Career School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster Career School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

 More Schools