Youth Worker Diploma

The Youth Worker diploma is a two-year course which prepares graduates to work with youth in a variety of community-based situations such as juvenile justice, recreation, rehabilitation and residential youth care. Students participating in this program will acquire the knowledge, skills and experience to work effectively with youth and youth at risk for, or having, special emotional, behavioural and environmental needs. The youth worker program provides students with a balanced course of theoretical studies as well as ample practical interactions in the community so that the student has the opportunity to develop into a caring professional.

This Diploma meets the educational requirements for youth worker positions in NS Child Welfare Level 1 & 2 and Level 3 & 4 facilities.

Delivery: 2 years of full-time study


*Information on the 500 hours of practicum requirements are available in the downloadable Student Manual:



Courses: Year One

YHW100 Human Development: Conception -3

Students will discover and discuss why and what makes children and adults behave as they do. As they delve into the topic, students will be reading, writing and talking about important and interesting questions regarding the development of children from conception to age three.

YHW109 Professional Communication

This course will focus on using proper spelling, grammar and formatting for commonly required communication and documentation in Youth  Worker settings. Students will practice various types of common communication and documentation.

YHW108 Professional Literature

Students will improve professional research and writing skills by reviewing current literature on a specific topic. Students will write summaries using correct grammar, spelling and formatting. Students will review academic library procedures for research purposes. Students will develop their analytical and critical thinking skills to find and use credible information sources.

YHW110 Relational Skills for Youth Work

Relationships are the key element in woking effectively with others. Developing social and emotional competence is the best pathway to finding success in relationships and life. In this course, students will discuss and practice various strategies to support youth skills development. Students will also reflect on the importance of their relationships with youth. Stud

YHW101 Life Skills for Youth

Drug and alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted disease, human sexuality, anger management and communication skills are examined.  The students are exposed to current information as well as how this information can be transferred to youth.  Students will examine their own beliefs, bias and communication styles as a means to improving their skills at listening, responding and supporting the clients in their care. Students will examine various barriers that may exist in the lives of youth and how to utilize trauma-informed practice in their eeryday work lives.

YHW102 Restorative Practices

The course provides an examination of the Canadian legal system as it pertains to youth.  The various types of services, treatments and community based programs will be identified and studied.  The dynamics of youth involved in asocial behavior will provide a framework into which appropriate intervention could be introduced.

YHW103 Youth Worker Professional Issues

The focus of the course will be on skills and knowledge essential to good professional practice.  Confidentiality, interpersonal communication, stress management, professional report writing and cultural sensitivity will be addressed.

YHW104 Adolescent Program Development

Program development from a recreational perspective is addressed. Students are encouraged to address the positive attributes of this developmental phase and to make  connections to various activities that might appeal to individuals of various backgrounds and abilities.

YHW105 Standards for Working with Children and Youth

The intent of this course is to provide students with an overview of the field of Child and Youth Care. The course will explore policies, standards and required record keeping in the youth worker field.  The students are challenged to explore attitudes, knowledge, and skills that are required of competent youth workers.

YHW106 Child and Youth Guidance

In this course students will explore, together, ideas about behaviour and will think about development as a relationship to behaviour. Students will reflect on those behaviours that cause us to sometimes respond in unhelpful ways. Students will focus on prevention, and when needed, best interventions to help children and youth develop the skills needed to function in a way that will work for them and those around them. Students will also look at specific environmental and biological factors that put children at risk for behavioural challenges. Students will focus on positive strategies to support competence development and the importance of relationships.

YHW107 Professional Certification 1

Students will successfully complete professional certifications including: Non Violent Crisis Intervention; First Aid; WHMIS; and Introduction to Occupational Health and Safety.

Courses: Year Two

YHW200 Human Development: Preschool and School Age

The focus of the course is on typical development in the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional domains. The development of children between the ages of three and twelve is the primary focus of the course. Students are challenged to examine how children’s needs and abilities change as they grow and develop and how they must, as quality care givers, adapt their programs to meet these needs .

YHW207 Critical Issues

Various topic areas are addressed with an aim to develop critical thinking skills. Students will examine topical issues and will write about their implication to youth and society in a critical manner. Cultural and lifestyle diversity will form the cornerstones of prescribed readings.

YHW208 Professional Research Methods

Youth workers need to be able to communicate effectively in a variety of ways. It is also important for youth workers to be able to evaluate the many sources of information currently available in our field.  In this course students will be given the opportunity to explore, in-depth, a particular topic in youth works and prepare a paper and presentation about that topic. Students will learn how to evaluate professional journals, books and internet sites, to collect and organize research materials, write a short paper and present what has been learned to classmates. The skills and practice acquired in this class will aid in professional communication with co-workers, parents, board members and other professional stake holders.

YHW209 Studies in Exceptionalities

Students will be introduced to a cross section of diverse abilities, particularly those commonly found in youth populations. The effects of environmental and physiological factors will be examined, as well, appropriate interventions and treatments. Both life-long impairments and late onset conditions and disorders will be investigated.

YHW210 Working with Exceptional Youth 

Students will examine some of the diverse abilities prevalent in the youth population. Particular attention will be applied to the study of appropriate interventions and treatments. Students will also have the opportunity to design a life skill lesson to be used in the field.

YHW201 Human Development: Adolescence

Course content will focus on the normative development of individuals through the transition years between childhood and adulthood. Autonomy, peer relationships, sexuality, morality and cognitive abilities will be addressed.

YHW202 Observation and Documentation

The ability to observe and assess children’s development is a necessary prerequisite to becoming a youth work professional. In this course, students are introduced to good observational practice, as well as, methodology. The focus will be on the observation of children, but staff and environmental observation will also be addressed.

YHW203 Prevention and Intervention Strategies

The course focus is on suicide prevention, dynamics of family violence and abuse prevention, detection and intervention. The students will be introduced to the principles of prevention and appropriate intervention.  Students will also learn strategies to deal with the long-term effects of trauma on youth. Trauma informed practice is central to this course.

YHW204 At-Risk Youth

The intent of the course is to provide students with an overview of the field of Child and Youth Care. The course will explore interventions and strategies utilized when working with children/youth at risk. The students are challenged to explore attitudes, knowledge, and skills that are required of competent youth workers.

YHW205 Creative Experiences for Youth

Students will explore various methods of self-expression in an interactive fashion.  Students will be challenged to explore their own creativity as well as develop skills to encourage and develop creative expression in others. Students will discover opportunities and and resources that exist within their community that can be utilized to support creative programming.

YHW206 Professional Certification 2

Students will successfully complete professional certifications including;  MANDT;  Mental Health First Aid; and Personality Dimensions.


Articulation Agreement with Athabasca University

Transfer Credit awarded toward Bachelor of Professional Arts-Human Services