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Child and Youth Care Worker

Child and youth care workers strive to improve the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of vulnerable children, youth and families.

  • Avg. Salary $36,834.00
  • Avg. Wage $22.59
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 15,800
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Caregiver, Child Care Professional, Community Support Worker, Youth Care Worker

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Community and Social Service Workers (4212) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Community and Social Service Workers (E212) 
  • 2011 NOC: Social and community service workers (4212) 
  • 2016 NOC: Social and community service workers (4212) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Child and Youth Care Worker is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Community and Social Service Workers

Interest in consulting with social assistance recipients and pensioners to advise and aid them in locating and utitizing a variety of community resources; in referring clients to other social services; in counselling clients living in group homes and halfway houses and assisting in pre-release and release planning; in providing crisis intervention and emergency-shelter services; and in co-ordinating volunteer activities of community and social services organizations


Interest in compiling information to participate in the selection and admission of clients to appropriate programs; to assess clients' relevant skill strengths and deficits; and in maintaining contact with other social service agencies and health care providers involved with clients to provide information and obtain feedback on clients' overall progress


Interest in assisting clients to sort out options and develop plans of action, and in implementing and organizing the delivery of life-skills workshops, substance-abuse treatment programs, behaviour management programs, youth services programs and other community and social service programs under the supervision of social workers and health care professionals

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 02, 2021

Child and youth care workers may work with young people who are:

  • Temporarily housed in government or private homes, agencies, treatment centres or group homes
  • Involved in community youth programs, recreational programs, early intervention programs, family support or foster care programs, or school-based programs

In general, child and youth care workers:

  • Establish trusting and meaningful 1-to-1 relationships with children, youth and families
  • Implement strategies that include planned daily activities, coordinated treatment interventions, structured environments, and organized recreational and social activities
  • Help individuals and families identify personal strengths and resources for positive change
  • Help develop and implement individual and group treatment programs
  • Respond effectively to acts of aggression and depressive, destructive or self-injurious behaviours
  • Act as a resource for individuals and their families
  • Engage in behaviour management programming and safety and security programming for young people in residential centres
  • Complete written documentation

Child and youth care workers are often part of a team of social workers, psychologists, recreation therapists, foster care workers, teachers and other professionals. They help integrate the efforts of all these specialized professionals with children, youth and families who may be experiencing emotional or behavioural challenges. Due to their ongoing close involvement with children, youth and families, child and youth care workers are in an ideal position to help them advocate for themselves and take responsibility for their actions.

The number of individuals or families assigned to each worker varies depending on the needs of the individuals and families and the type of services being offered.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Child and youth care workers may be required to work day, evening and some night shifts, 7 days a week. The work can be physically and mentally demanding, and may require physically restraining young people.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Child and youth care workers need:

  • Desire, ability and maturity to engage in intense therapeutic relationships with children, youth and families
  • Flexibility and creativity to adopt new ways of doing things
  • Communication skills (both written and oral)
  • Decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • Reliability and consistency
  • The ability to work in a team environment with children, youth and families and other professionals

Child and youth care workers should enjoy working with young people and families, keeping in touch with others involved in the helping process and finding innovative solutions to problems.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Social and community service workers
NOC code: 4212

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 60 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 27, 2021 and Jan 21, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Judgement
Resolve conflict situations
Administrative and office activities
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Child and youth care workers must be familiar with the developmental, educational, emotional, social and recreational needs of young people and families. Employers generally prefer to hire applicants with related post-secondary education, preferably a diploma or degree in child and youth care or a related degree in social science or human services. Previous work experience with young people is a definite asset. In some settings, knowledge of native culture and language may be required.

Child and youth care 2-year diploma programs are offered throughout Alberta. Articulation agreements from post-secondary schools, both within Alberta and across Canada, provide smooth transfer for those wishing to continue their education into a bachelor or master's degree.

To enhance employees' formal education, most employers offer orientation training for newly hired child and youth care workers.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

ABES (Alberta Business and Educational Services) - Calgary

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Edmonton

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Red Deer

Cambrooks College - Downtown Campus

Canford Institute of Technology

Capstone Edge College

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

Lethbridge College

Medicine Hat College

NorQuest College

Red Deer College

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary South

Reeves College - Edmonton North

Reeves College Edmonton South

Robertson College - Calgary

Robertson College - Edmonton

Thompson Rivers University

Vancouver College of Counsellor Training

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 02, 2021

The Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta offers a certification program for child and youth care workers. Certification is not mandatory in this occupation at this time, but may be an asset when seeking employment.

In 2018 the Mental Health Services Protection Act [pdf] was amended to include addictions counsellors, child and youth care counsellors, and counselling therapists under the new College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta (CCTA). Regulations are being developed and these professions will be regulated in the near future. Once this happens, counsellors will need to be approved by CCTA to work in these professions. For updates on the regulation, visit Alberta Counselling Therapists Association (ACTA).

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Child and youth care workers are employed by:

  • Provincial governments
  • School boards
  • Private agencies such as residential treatment programs, group homes, and family support and independent living programs
  • Community resources such as emergency shelters, community leagues, schools, after-school programs and recreational programs

Experienced child and youth care workers may advance to supervisory positions. Further advancement generally requires additional education.

Child and youth care workers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4212: Social and community service workers. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 4212: Social and community service workers occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 489 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the 489 new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 02, 2021

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Social and community service workers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $35.06 $19.92 $17.67
Overall $15.55 $43.39 $22.59 $19.70
Top $17.50 $45.33 $26.32 $23.50

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Educational Services
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Health Care & Social Assistance
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta (CYCAA) website:

Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations website:

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website:

The International Child and Youth Care Network (CYC-Net) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 02, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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