What Is a Community Development Officer?
A community development officer is responsible for examining a particular community and determining ways to make it better. Community development officers can work on behalf of private companies, or they may be employed by government agencies or non-profit organizations involved in community development. The role of a community development officer can be wide-ranging. It completely depends on the goals of a project and the needs of the population that he or she is working with.
Community developers are usually involved in health-related work, education and employment work, or organization of leisure activities. For example, a community developer may work to target a particular disease that is affecting the community and try to help community members unite and create programs aimed towards fighting and preventing the disease.
Community development officers spend a large amount of time out in the communities that they are trying to help, getting to know the community and furthering their insight into how to make improvements or bring people together.
How to Become a Community Development Officer
In order to work as a community development officer, an individual will need at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as anthropology, social science, psychology or sociology. Most employers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Candidates with postgraduate degrees in related disciplines will have better chances of walking into a community development position.
Many online and traditional universities offer degree programs that can lead to community development at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Individuals with either bachelor’s or master’s degrees will benefit from past work or internship experience in a community support or development role.
Candidates with experience in planning, organizing events and grant writing will also have the best job opportunities. Community development officers can work for private companies and non-profit organizations, so job seekers should inquire as to positions in both the private and public sectors.
Community Development Officer Career Outlook & Salary
Employment for community development officers should be good within the next decade. According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for community developers is $45,069 to $78,246. The Bureau of Labor statistics reports the median annual wages of social scientist and related workers to be $73.450. Salary will depend completely on the degree an employee has and the type of industry in which he or she is employed.
According to the Bureau, the industries with the highest amounts of community developers were the Federal Executive Branch of the government, colleges, universities and professional schools, scientific research and development services, and state and local government. The average annual wages for community development officers in these industries were $79,650, $51,810, $75,930 and $57,560, respectively. Community developers with postgraduate degrees who are skilled at research, statistical analysis, organization and interpersonal communication will see the most advancement and the highest salaries.