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Career opportunities Childhood and Youth Studies

In the UK many graduates enter employment where a degree in any subject would be acceptable. In this instance what they offer the employer is evidence of the range of competencies which have been developed through their academic study, rather than the specific subject content of their degree.

Given the current economic climate and the increased competition for graduate jobs, it is important to consider a range of occupational areas. Bear in mind that many careers require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

We advise you to thoroughly research your career choices as early as possible, particularly in relation to experience required, differences that relate to where you live, or where the study choices you make may affect future opportunities.

You can enter a range of careers by taking a qualification in this subject area and there is a great demand for the knowledge and analytical skills developed in OU study. For example, you could find openings in the following career areas:

  • childcare
  • children and young people’s services
  • counselling
  • early years work including play therapy and hospital play
  • local, national and international policy development
  • police work
  • probation service (in Scotland a social work specialism - criminal justice)
  • research
  • speech therapy
  • teaching assistant (classroom assistant in Scotland)*
  • voluntary sector
  • youth and community work.

You need to be aware that the BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies and BA (Hons) Working with Young People are not qualification routes into teacher training. However, some initial teacher education providers will consider the BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies as an appropriate degree for entry into PGCE/PGDE Primary teacher training.

If you are interested in teaching, see our becoming a teacher guides which cover teaching in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Inside you’ll find lots of advice, from deciding if teaching is for you to getting work experience, the routes into teaching and our answers to frequently asked questions.

In England, careers in early years teaching is regulated by the Department for Education.

In Scotland all workers in early education and child care need to register with the Scottish Social Services Council.

In Wales, careers in early years teaching and childcare is regulated by Social Care Wales.

In Ireland, you'll find jobs and voluntary opportunities on Active Link.

Further useful links

These resources will help you explore careers areas in further detail.

You will also find information about general job vacancy sites, work experience and volunteering at:

Postgraduate study

Many graduates undertake further study on completion of their first degree and/or after gaining relevant work experience. Reasons for doing so include wanting to explore an aspect of their studies in more depth, to further or change their career, because a specific postgraduate qualification is either an entry requirement for their career of choice or would be an advantage if entry is competitive.

Postgraduate study related to Childhood and Youth can open up opportunities to work in higher education, social services, youth work, youth justice and the voluntary sector. Postgraduate study can also lead to opportunities to shape and influence future policy and practice within the childhood and youth sectors as managers, senior youth workers, consultants and senior positions within government departments at local, national and international level.

There are a range of childhood and youth related OU postgraduate study options, both taught and research awards, including courses that focus on Integrated and Critical Practice.

It is important to research further study options comprehensively by exploring the range of postgraduate courses and research opportunities on offer, and funding possibilities to ensure you make the correct choice, for the right reasons and importantly that you can afford it, as funding for postgraduate study is very different to the undergraduate system.

Last updated 7 months ago