Life Skills Instructor: Employment Options and Requirements

Life skills instructors teach clients how to manage everyday tasks that they struggle with. Whether the client is a child or an adult, a life skills instructor will help them gain independence and move forward in life.

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Life Skills Instructor Requirements

Life skills instructors work one-on-one or in small groups to help students or clients with unique challenges, such as cooking, hygiene, and money skills. The instructor must demonstrate knowledge in the area of instruction, although a specific degree in the area of instruction is not always required.

Life skills instructors, also called life skills coaches, may work with individuals of any age. The skills they teach will depend on the age and circumstances of the client. Requirements vary by state, depending on the place of employment. School districts may require a teaching credential for the appropriate grade level. Different credentials may be required for each age group, and requirements may vary depending on the position. For example, if the job includes driving clients then a driver's license and a clean driving record are required.

Life skills instructors prepare evaluations and progress reports. Due to this, good written communication is essential in this position. Computer knowledge is important for the administration portion of the job. Patience is also an important job requirement.

A high school diploma or GED is required for most jobs. An associate's or bachelor's degree is required for some positions. Additional hands-on experience, working with the population involved, is often also desired by employers. For example, a life skills instructor who wishes to work with special needs children should have hands-on training or experience working in this area.

Employment Options for Life Skills Instructors

Life skills coaches can find jobs in many different industries and settings. Life skills instructors are employed by schools or school districts. Some are employed by service providers, therapy agencies, or group housing management companies. Others may be hired by private companies or charities. Life skills instructors also work in prisons, helping inmates who are nearing their release dates to learn the skills they will need to manage day-to-day living on their own. Treatment centers also hire life skills coaches to work with patients. Some life skills instructors are hired to work with specific populations, such as at-risk youth or disabled senior citizens.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to life skills instructors, it does publish data pertinent to both special education teachers and self-enrichment teachers. The BLS predicts that the employment of special education instructors will likely grow by about 6% between 2012 and 2022, while job opportunities afforded to self-enrichment teachers will grow by about 14% during the same time frame. Special education teachers were reported to have earned average salaries of $58,050 in May 2013 by the BLS; the same source indicated that self-enrichment teachers earned an average of $40,680 a year.

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