A program director is a management professional found within the nonprofit job sector. She oversees one or more programs that are administered by her organization, managing all financial and human resources aspects. The longevity of her role and the program she supervises are typically contingent upon the provision of public or private funds.
A program director works with the executive director of an organization to create programs to be administered. He develops and implements all guidelines and policies with the purpose of ensuring compliance with all government regulations, as well as maintaining alignment with his organization's mission. He monitors the effectiveness of his program, making adjustments as needed. Human resources duties, such as the recruitment and training of employees, also fall under the program director's list of responsibilities.
Because the program director's role and those of his staff are contingent upon a fully funded budget, he works in tandem with the development officer of his organization to secure funds, donations and grants to meet the budgetary requirements of his department. Additionally, he serves as the face of his programs to the external community. As such, he attends community events in an effort to build and maintain positive relationships.
Working in the nonprofit sector can be difficult for many people. Long hours, unpleasant environments and below-average pay are some of the reasons that many organizations are understaffed. Those committed to finding employment in the field will find job postings both in newspaper classifieds and on online job boards. Additionally, staffing firms that focus specifically on the placement of professionals within the nonprofit and social services industries can be found in most major job markets.
Many nonprofit organizations have very limited budgets. As a result, employees are generally required to do more work with fewer resources. Successful program directors must be well organized and adept at performing many tasks at once. She must also be able to communicate effectively with people of all demographics.
Knowledge of all local, state and federal laws and regulations that govern the program's area of interest will also be required. Because many programs are dependent on public or private funds, the program director must be meticulous in all notes and documentation. It is extremely important that she maintain a passion for what she is doing. Many social services programs are geared toward the underserved. The program director may be required to interact with people in crisis and unpleasant environments and situations. This may take a toll on her psyche.
While a four-year degree is not required to become a program director, many employers prefer candidates who have matriculated from an accredited university. Typical fields of study include sociology, public administration and organizational development. Candidates are typically required to possess a minimum of five years of experience managing a program of similar size and demographics. Additionally, management experience will be required if the role oversees the performance of others.
The Certified Compensation Professionals' analysis conducted by Salary.com finds that the average program director working in the United States, in 2009, earns a salary of $68,651 per year.