North Carolina Afterschool Professional Core Competencies
The North Carolina Afterschool Professional Core Competencies provide a framework of the knowledge and skills needed in eight content areas of professional development in the ﬁeld of afterschool programming. They address the diversity of skills and abilities necessary to work with afterschool children and youth. The competencies are based on the following beliefs:
- Competent, well-trained professionals are the key to quality afterschool programming.
- Competencies can be used to establish standards for employment and job performance.
- Individual competencies are considered emergent — developing over time with experience.
- Competencies are cumulative and together create a continuum for professional development for the afterschool workforce.
The core competencies are based on research and categorized according to ﬁve levels of skills necessary to provide quality programming. The skill levels establish a continuum from beginning workforce skills (Level 1) to an advanced level of skill which includes academic preparation (Level 5). Professionals progress from one level to another through a combination of formal study and practical experience. Depending on a professional’s role, setting, or experience, he or she may have skills at varying levels in the different areas.
LEVEL 1: Includes the knowledge and skills expected of a professional new to the ﬁeld with minimal specialized training and/or education. A level 1 professional can be considered new staff with limited to no background in the youth development ﬁeld. Possible positions may be volunteers (adult or teen), episodic volunteers, or staff.
LEVEL 2: Includes level 1 plus the knowledge and skills commensurate with a Youth Development Credential, a certiﬁcate in youth development or equivalent training and/or education. Possible positions may be the lower level frontline worker who has attended minimal training; however, the worker has interaction with the children and youth on a regular basis.
LEVEL 3: Includes levels 1 and 2 plus knowledge and skills commensurate with an Associate’s degree in child or youth development or related ﬁelds from an accredited institution. Level 3 positions may include site coordinators or staff members with slightly more responsibility than the typical frontline worker.
LEVEL 4: Includes levels 1, 2, and 3 plus knowledge and skills commensurate with a Bachelor’s degree in child or youth development or related ﬁelds from an accredited institution. Level 4 positions are often the Program Director or Coordinator.
LEVEL 5: Includes levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 plus knowledge and skills commensurate with an advanced degree in child or youth
development or related ﬁelds from an accredited institution. Level 5 positions are often the supporting agencies’ Executive Director, State/Regional Specialists, or funding agency representative familiar with school-age and youth development best practices.