If you have ever considered a career in youth ministry, there are certain things that are absolutely necessary if that is going to happen for you. This post is not about specifically the hiring process, but more importantly about some of the specific things that are needed if you hope to get your name in the hat when a church is going through the hiring process. When I was in college I was fortunate enough to be a part of a student ministry that gave me incredible opportunities that shaped me as I tried to figure out the whole youth ministry thing. By the time I was done with college, I was "ready" to dive into full-time ministry. If you want to do youth ministry as a career, you will have to make some intentional choices about what you are doing and how you are going to gain experience, skills, and knowledge relevant to student ministry.
3 Things You Need to Get a Job in Youth Ministry
Experience, experience, experience.
If you expect to apply to a college with a great youth ministry program, but don't have a plan for where you are going to volunteer in student ministry, there is a huge problem. The most valuable way to prepare yourself for doing youth ministry is by doing youth ministry. Do anything and everything you can so that by the end of your college years you feel like you could take over the student ministry that you have been volunteering in.
Get a degree.
If you want a job in a church in the current culture, you have to have some sort of degree, preferably a relevant one. If there's a school that offers a good youth ministry program, do it. It's always helpful to have a degree that you like to learn about. Find a degree program that will benefit you as a youth worker and also will look good on paper. If you find the perfect youth ministry program, but you cannot do the program and also be an active volunteer in a local student ministry, it's probably not that great of a program.
Find a mentor.
One of the best things I did in college was ask one of our church staff to spend time with me every week talking about youth ministry. There are a lot of people that have incredible youth ministry experience, find someone and learn from them. Doing this not only was helpful professionally, but it led to a great friendship that is much more valuable than any professional gain I could've gotten.