How to Become a Facilitator: Career Path Guide
If you want to become a facilitator, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a facilitator:
• You enjoy leading and guiding others
• You have the self-confidence to speak in front of large groups of people
• You have the self-control to avoid being defensive when criticized
• You enjoy acting as a guide to help move people through a process together
• You enjoy shaping the process of how people arrive at consensus in order to meet their common goals
• You can maintain objectivity and neutrality during debates and when facing criticism
Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a facilitator. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, educational requirements, a list of possible employers and much more!
Education Needed to Become a Facilitator
The educational requirements for becoming a facilitator typically vary depending on the type of meeting or session that is being facilitated, and the size and type of the organization the facilitator works for. Below is an overview of common types of programs that employ facilitators, with the corresponding education needed to work as a facilitator in that area.
After-School Programs: Many after-school programs are designed to teach children group-oriented skills such as teamwork and communication, while also having fun. Facilitators in after-school programs may not require formal post-secondary education, although having a diploma, certificate or degree in a field such as education, outdoor recreation or any field that relates to working with children is often considered an asset.
Employment Workshops: The focus of employment workshops are typically to help groups of youth or adults increase their prospects of employment by teaching them skills such as customer service, teamwork and communication, as well as introducing them to resources such as employment, education and training opportunities. Those who facilitate employment workshops and related programs typically need at least an undergraduate degree in psychology, human services, education, human ecology, or a related field.
Family Health Workshops: The focus of a family health program is typically to strengthen positive family functioning through knowledge sharing and skill-building. Facilitators for family health related programs typically need at least an undergraduate degree in a field such as social work, family ecology or human services.
Life Skills Workshops: Life skills workshops aim to teach individuals and groups the importance of skills in areas such as financial management, employability, personal initiative, communication, domestic partnership, anger management, and many other areas. Facilitators for programs related to life skills typically need at least an undergraduate degree in a field such as social work, family ecology or human services.
Mental Health Workshops: Mental health workshops and other programs promote the development of relationships to help individuals realize their abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, find success and fulfillment in their work, and contribute to the general wellbeing of their communities. Facilitators in the area of mental health and related programs typically need at least an undergraduate degree in a field such as psychology, healthcare administration, social work or human/family ecology.
Peer-Support Programs: Peer support programs are typically designed to provide support, resources and referrals to individuals and groups who face various forms of trauma, such as abuse, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a home, or other difficult situations. Facilitators in peer support programs typically need at least an undergraduate degree in a field such as psychology or social work.
Corporate Team-Building: Corporate training programs may focus on developing teamwork and communication skills, typically with the goal of increasing employee engagement and commitment to the overall success of their organization. Facilitators working in the capacity of corporate team building either need, or can benefit from a degree in a field such as business administration, psychology, social work, education or communication.
Corporate Training: Medium and large-sized organizations may also hire facilitators to conduct town-hall style meetings in order to solicit honest feedback related to business operations. Facilitators working in the capacity of corporate training typically need a diploma or degree in a field such as business administration, human resources or communication.
Education: Facilitators in the area of public or private education may be involved in meetings related to curriculum development, or educational policy development. Facilitators in the field of education typically need a degree in education, curriculum development, instructional technology, or a closely related field.
Public Service Agencies: Facilitators are often needed to conduct meetings among various levels of government when they are working together to develop, plan, manage, evaluate or improve public service initiatives. Facilitators in this area typically need a degree in political science, communication, public administration, business administration, or a closely related field.
Public Service Information Sessions: Public service information sessions are designed to help the public voice their opinions related to various public services, such as healthcare, land-use planning, and transportation initiatives. Facilitators working in this capacity typically need a degree in political science, communication, public administration, business administration, or a closely related field.
In addition to the above mentioned fields of education, some employers may require their facilitators to have completed specialized facilitator training programs, which may be offered by private businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and facilitator certification bodies.
Facilitator Job Description
Facilitators are responsible for planning, organizing and conducting processes that bring people together for the purpose of achieving a common goal. These processes may include workshops, meeting, planning sessions, training sessions, seminars, retreats and individual coaching sessions, either for youth and/or adults. Facilitators may also develop, design and implement training programs and materials related to these processes.
Facilitators are responsible for acting as a guide that helps move people through a process together. They are not meant to share opinions with the group, or act as the focal point of knowledge for a process, they are meant instead to help draw opinions and knowledge out of others.
Their key focus is to help people participate in the process of learning or planning; they must never take sides if there are opposing viewpoints and always remain neutral. Facilitators are more concerned with the process itself than the desired outcomes of that process.
Facilitator Job Duties
The job duties of a facilitator may vary, typically depending on the type of session they are facilitating, as well as the size and type of their employer or client. In general however, facilitators are responsible for performing the following job duties:
• Confer with clients/management to determine the desired outcomes of the program/meeting
• Confer with clients/management to determine the best way to conduct programs
• Prepare plans related to the environment, logistics, room arrangements and ground rules of the session
• Ensure all group members feel comfortable participating
• Develop a program structure that allows for everyone's ideas to be heard
• Make members feel good about their contribution to the meeting
• Make sure the group feels that the ideas and decisions are theirs
• Support the ideas of group members
• Keep the group on topic and moving forward
• Resolve conflicts that may occur
• Use standardized evaluation methods to prepare summary reports and evaluate the outcomes of the process
• May assist clients with calculating their return on investment in relation to the costs of training and related activities
Who Creates Jobs for Facilitators?
Facilitators are employed on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis as in-house employees or outside contractors of the following types of organizations:
• Non-profit and not-for profit organizations
• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments
• School boards
• Healthcare authorities
• Colleges and universities
• Private and publicly traded business organizations
• Community and cultural groups and associations
Certification Needed to Become a Facilitator
Certification for facilitators is available from a variety of organizations, such as the International Association of Facilitators. Although certification for facilitators is largely voluntary, having it does demonstrate to potential employers and clients that you are a competent professional who can be trusted to facilitate for meetings and sessions related to critical issues they are facing.
Experience Needed to Become a Facilitator
The experience needed to become a facilitator typically varies by employer, although generally speaking, you need some experience working in the field related to the program they will be facilitating, even if you are not meant to serve as a resource of expertise in that area. For example, facilitators that work in the field of curriculum development for high schools typically have experience as a high school teacher, a high school administrator (such as a principal), or a school board member.
Facilitator Salary Level
The salary level of facilitators can vary, typically depending on factors such as:
• Their level of education
• Their level of experience
• The size and type of their employer
• The region in which they work
There is no salary information available from reliable sources specifically for the career Facilitator, although we can get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of workers in closely related occupations.
Facilitator Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Specialists in Human Resources occupational group earn an average wage of between $29.23 and $45.42 per hour.
Facilitator Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Specialists in Human Resources occupational group is $61,587 per year.
Facilitator Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Human Resources Specialists and Labor Relations Specialists occupational group is $55,640 per year. The lowest 10 percent of salaries in this group are below $32,770, and the top 10 percent are above $95,380 per year.
Skills Needed to Become a Facilitator
In order to become effective in a career as a facilitator, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:
• Able to gain a deep understanding of the goals of the program and the organization
• Able to keep a group on agenda and moving forward
• Able to draw out quiet participants and control domineering ones
• Able to choose a setting in which participants will be accessible and comfortable
• Knowledge of how room setting (such as chair placement) and layout will affect group participation
• Able to be flexible and natural in presentation
• Able to pick up on the body language of the group to assess level of engagement
• Able to avoid alienating or insulting individuals within the group
• Able to avoid being defensive when criticized by group members
• Able to apply preventative techniques or intervene when a group member is being disruptive
• Able to listen carefully to group members without simply pretending to listen
• Knowledge of when to pause and summarize prior to moving on to the next point of an agenda
Our job board below has "Facilitator" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Careers Similar to Facilitator
Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Facilitator, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.
References: Facilitator Career Information
Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a facilitator.
Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca
International Association of Facilitators website: www.iaf-world.org
Service Canada website: www.servicecanada.gc.ca
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov
University of Kansas – Community Toolbox website: ctb.ku.edu
Scholarships for Becoming a Facilitator
Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Facilitator can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!
Becoming a Facilitator: Applicable Majors
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a facilitator. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!