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Youth Work Overview

Youth Work

Career/Program Overview

RCTC's Youth Work major is the only program of its kind in Minnesota. It is designed to provide students with a comprehensive, basic curriculum needed to work in careers with individuals ages 12 - 21 in a variety of settings. Students gain necessary skills and competencies by discussing, reflecting, observing, and completing projects and field experiences.

The Youth Work Certificate and A.A.S. degree with an emphasis in Youth Studies were developed in cooperation with the University of Minnesota Youth Work Institute and the Youth studies faculty within the Social Work Department of the College of Education and Development at the University of Minnesota.


The curriculum is based on the importance of relationships, quality interactions, and the power of youth engagement.  Coursework links developmental theory, recent brain research, and best practices.  Class topics include positive youth development, developmental assets, risk and resiliency, youth engagement, experiential learning, and quality programs for youth. Students who can demonstrate learning as a result of completing Youth Work Institute trainings, YIPA trainings, or other experienced-based learning may be able to earn credit for life experience and apply those credits toward the Youth Worker Certificate, A.A.S. degree, or A.A. degree.

Program/Degree Options

RCTC's Youth Work program is offered through Child, Youth and Family Studies. The 17 credit Youth Work Certificate prepares students to become youth service workers and youth development practitioners.  Students can also complete an A.A.S degree in Child, Youth, and Family Studies with an emphasis in Youth Studies.  Students may combine the Youth Work Certificate with an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and seek further education to earn a degree in youth studies, child and youth studies, youth ministry, social work, or psychology.

Program Start Date(s)

Youth Work coursework can be taken any fall, spring, or summer semester. Many of the Youth Work Courses are offered online.  Depending on which degree option selected - students may need to start fall semester in order to complete the degree option in one or two semesters. If taken on a full-time basis, the certificate program can be completed in as little as one year and the A.A.S. degree within two years.

Career Opportunities/Information

Upon graduation students will be eligible for employment that provides direct services, youth, and their families.  Youth work is an emerging profession.  Graduates may find themselves working in school settings such as: after-school programs, recreation and sports, outdoor/environmental education, juvenile justice, residential and special education, mentoring, prevention, social work, or faith-based programs. Graduates of the program may seek further education to earn a degree in youth studies, youth ministry, social work, child and family studies, psychology, juvenile justice, or public affairs.


Rochester Community and Technical College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission: A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For additional information on the most current list of RCTC program articulations see us at:

Additional Information

Program Website:
Program Plan:
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Gainful Employment Programs

The U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) gainful employment regulations require disclosure of certain program information for programs that lead to certificates or diplomas and are financial aid eligible.  The most current RCTC gainful employment information can be found at:

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Overview content updated: 2017-04-19
Contact Information
(507) 285-7210 or 1‑800‑247‑1296
Rochester Community and Technical College
851 30th Ave SE :: Rochester, MN 55904-4999
Celebrating 100 years!    1915-2015
Rochester Community and Technical College, a member of Minnesota State.
RCTC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer.
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