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Online Schools with Degrees for Activity Directors: How to Choose

An activity director organizes and implements activities for residents of nursing homes. Some educational opportunities for activity directors are designed as entry-level training programs. There are also online degree and graduate certificate programs available at several colleges and universities.

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How to Find an Online School for Activity Directors

There are many degree options that prospective activity directors can choose from. Some, such as degrees in fitness and wellness, are general programs that can serve those entering a variety of different professions. Others, such as associate's degrees specifically for activity directors, provide specific knowledge of the field and ready graduates for employment.

Summary of Considerations

  • Degree focus
  • Degree level and educational needs

Degree Focus

Because activity directors do not normally need to seek licensure, employers' hiring requirements vary greatly. Students should consider whether to enroll in a broader degree program in health and wellness or a focused program that provides training as an activity director. It's a good idea to speak with managers of local nursing homes to see what their criteria for hiring activity directors are.

Degree Level and Educational Needs

Those who wish to enter careers as activity directors and need entry-level training in the profession have different educational needs from those who are already activity directors. Those seeking an entry-level position should look for an associate's or bachelor's degree program in an area that completes their training and fulfills job requirements. Meanwhile, current activity directors who wish to continue their education, either to retain their certification or for career advancement purposes, can find a number of certificate or higher degree options that fit their needs.

Program Options Available Online for Activity Directors

Associate of Applied Science - Activity Director

Online associate's degree programs for activity directors are usually delivered via education software that utilizes e-mail, real-time testing capabilities and voice or video conferencing. Normally, associate degree programs, even when presented online, are designed to follow a particular class schedule and have limited flexibility. An associate's degree program for activity directors focuses specifically on issues such as:

  • Elder care
  • Volunteer management
  • Activity planning
  • Event management
  • First aid

Bachelor of Science in Wellness

A bachelor's degree in wellness, health or a related area can provide the training necessary for a career as an activity director. Students in this program take an array of science courses along with the core health classes. Most online bachelor's degree programs use the same unified education software as associate's degree programs, but bachelor's degree programs are more likely to allow for scheduling flexibility, making them more suitable for adults who wish to continue working full time while completing their degree. Some of the core subjects in this degree program are:

  • Human anatomy
  • Human physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Programming
  • First aid and CPR
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