Program Director Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Program Director Do?

Program directors are responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating programs and projects. They ensure that programs are delivered on time, within budget, and according to quality standards. Typically, these directors work in healthcare, education, and non-profit organizations.

Leadership skills and the ability to manage and motivate teams are essential for program directors. It is essential that they possess project management skills and experience developing, managing, and controlling timelines, budgets, and schedules for projects. Their goal is to align programs with organizational goals and objectives in order to measure and evaluate program results. They must also be excellent communicators and be able to work collaboratively with their teams and stakeholders.

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National Average Salary

Program director salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Program Director is:


Program Director Job Descriptions

Crafting the perfect job description may be the key to finding an exceptional program director. To help you with your recruiting search, our team has put together some examples from past openings.

Example 1

A motivated and talented program director is needed to lead [Your Company Name]. Your position will be at the forefront of the organization, and you will be in charge of every aspect of management. This will include managing employees, hiring staff and new team members, managing the budget and overseeing finances, and working on marketing in coordination with the team marketer. The program director must be willing to work hard and full-time and must be dedicated enough to work overtime if needed. This position is not for the faint of heart. If this sounds like you, and like a position you could excel in, please consider applying!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Oversee the administrative aspects of program implementation
  • Evaluate program effectiveness and provide recommendations for areas of improvement 
  • Plan and manage program activities 
  • Coordinate the tasks of colleagues 
  • Maintain accurate records of all projects
  • Establish a plan and budget 

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a specific industry-related field. Many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree. 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Critical-thinking and decision-making skills
  • Expertise in communication and organization
  • Proficient in finding creative solutions to complex problems
  • Strong time management skills and ability to multi-task 
  • Ensure program meets the objectives of the organization

Preferred qualifications

  • 5+ years of experience managing employees
  • Strong sense of purpose and self-driven
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Master’s degree in business
  • Ability to interview and hire dedicated employees

Example 2

Role overview:

The Program Director of ABC Company essential job duties below (other duties may be assigned):

  • Meeting weekly with each clinician and Youth Development Counselor (YDC) Supervisor for individual supervision and documents each supervisory meeting
  • Has weekly group supervision with the YDC Supervisors as well as clinicians
  • Work closely with the Youth Development Counselors to ensure the safe, healthy emotional, and physical development of the residents
  • Ensuring that clear/measurable objectives and interventions are identified in every client treatment plan (CTP) and Needs and Services Plan (NSP) and are clearly documented
  • Responsible for ensuring that all residents are receiving appropriate treatment, i.e., clinical, education, vocational, and work programs
  • Demonstrating an understanding of trauma informed, DBT oriented, relationship based, culturally/SOGIE sensitive approach in engaging with youth/non-minor dependents and treatment team and provides support and training to staff in this area
  • Spends time on floor coaching
  • Responsible for facilitation of unit meetings, supporting CFT meetings, as well as cottage meetings
  • Responsible for on-going evaluation and planning for residents with regards to discharge/aftercare services
  • Serves as Administrator and is responsible for the following
  • Budgeting and management of expenditures
  • Organization of the work of the facility and delegation of staff
  • Assessment of the faculty operations and program; reporting to the licensee and making recommendations to address identified problems
  • Recruitment, appointment, evaluation, training, and termination of staff
  • Review of and response to complaints made by children or their authorized representatives
  • The CTF’s Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)
  • Observing and interacting with staff, youth, and other individuals, as necessary to ensure the quality of care for children and program services
  • Serves as the Head of Service/Administrator for the Community Treatment Facility (CTF)
  • Maintaining a safe, healthy, and therapeutic environment in the residential unit
  • Ensuring that each child admitted to the program has a mental health assessment
  • Ensuring that each child in the unit has commonality of needs with the other youth in the unity including whether the youth’s presence is averse to the safety or mental health needs of the youth or other youth admitted to CTF
  • Ensuring that the mental health services identified on each client treatment plan/NSP are provided and appropriate to meet the individuals needs of the youth
  • Monitoring the quality of the mental health services provided to children
  • Ensuring that arrangements are made, including transportation, for youth to receive mental health services that cannot be provided by the CTF including arrangements for special provision of mental health services to youth with disabilities including visual and auditory impairment
  • Ensuring that documentation and record keeping requirements are met
  • Development of mental health staff schedules, and any other schedules for the operation of the CTF mental health program


  • Master’s Degree in social work, psychology, marriage, and family counseling
  • Licensed PhD, PsyD, LCSW, LMFT required. Must be registered through the BBS
  • Licensed at least 4 years
  • At least 5 years of experience working in residential treatment preferred
  • At least 4 years of serving in a supervisorial capacity
  • Certified as a CTF and/or Group Home Administrator preferred
  • Clearly demonstrated leadership competence, including competence in staff supervision
  • An aptitude for treating the youth in the specified residential program
  • Ability to relate practice and theory
  • Ability to communicate clearly with peers, line supervisors, frontline staff, and youth
  • A successful experience in residential work with youth
  • Ability to hear and verbally communicate with others
  • COVID Vaccination Card (fully vaccinated) + booster required

Example 3

Have you been looking for a fantastic role to continue your career path in Social and Human Services? Look no further. This role is critical to our success and exemplifies the wonderful mission driven work we do here every day.

  • Manage the day-to-day operations of one to four programs in a community including organization and implementation of direct supports, person-centered planning, and implementation, health care, advocacy, stakeholder relations, regulatory compliance, recruiting, retention, staffing, training, safety, financial management, and maintenance of the physical environment
  • Manage program staff members including performance evaluations, scheduling, and orientation
  • Make recommendations and/or decisions on employee hires, transfers, promotions, salary changes, corrective action, and terminations
  • Manage the implementation of program planning; monitor delivery of services and supports; ensure services are consistent, engaging, and relevant to the individuals served
  • Must be available on-call to support staff, find coverage, or cover shifts as needed


  • Bachelor’s degree and two to three years of related experience in the Human Services Industry preferred
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Other education, experience, training, licensure, or certification per state requirements or as required by applicable regulations
  • Current driver’s license, car registration, and auto insurance
  • Strong attention to detail, organizational skills, and the ability to multitask to meet deadlines
  • Effective communication skills to manage relationships
  • A reliable, responsible attitude and a compassionate approach

Example 4

Responsible for the strategic leadership and operational management and oversight of assigned programs. Coordinates and supervises with faculty and staff. Accountable for the fiscal management, administration, and coordination of programs Identifies and supervises staff.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Develops long-range goals, objectives, priorities, and recommendations
  • Monitors various projects to insure maximum effectiveness and compliance
  • Acts as a College liaison for programs and services with outside agencies or community leaders. Communicates program information internally. Consults and advises within area of expertise
  • Advises students and faculty on departmental issues and requirements. Assists instructors with specific needs as requested
  • Responds to complex inquiries from all levels of employees or external sources regarding a variety of questions, such as clarification of College or Campus policy and procedures
  • Participates in various meetings and committees. Travels to meetings, between College locations, and for other purposes
  • Publicizes available student courses and programs and identifies contact specific target students
  • Guides, leads, reviews, verifies, observes, and manages the work of people reporting directly to you. Coordinates the activities of one or more staff. Assists in scheduling and administrative requirements. This may include student workers, part-time, full-time, temporary, and volunteers
  • Analyzes and interprets data that is regularly available on programs and performance
  • Conducts needs assessment to identify knowledge, skills, behaviors, and competencies required in selecting or designing curriculum to meet customer needs
  • Identifies, writes, and prepares as necessary related curriculum, instructor guides, student guides, handouts and other associated materials for classroom delivery and to promote the program
  • Performs other job-related duties as assigned

Education and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Four years of related experience

Knowledge of:

  • Microsoft Office Suite or similar applications

Skilled in:

  • Delivering a high level of customer service
  • Attention to detail while maintaining effective time and task management

Ability to:

  • Implement and manage programs
  • Interact in a positive manner with diverse populations and varying education levels of students, faculty, staff, and the public
  • Organize and prioritize multiple, competing priorities to maximize personal and team effectiveness
  • Effectively communicate verbally and in writing on a regular basis with internal and external customers, build relationships, manage customer expectations, and take responsibility for a high level of service

Licenses, registration, certifications, or special requirements:

  • Regular physical attendance required

Preferred qualifications:

  • Related experience in machining, HVAC or welding
  • Earned Industry-recognized credential in AWS, NIMS, HVAC Excellence, or NCCER
  • State License within one of the disciplines of responsibility
  • Community college teaching or administrative experience

Work environment and physical demand:

  • Lift, carry, push, pull, install, or remove objects weighing 20 to 49 pounds
  • Reach and grasp objects
  • Stoop, bend, kneel, crouch, or crawl
  • Stand for extended periods of time
  • Use of video display terminal
  • Use of manual dexterity and fine motor skills
  • Communicate information orally and in writing
  • Receive and understand information through oral and written communication
  • Proofread and check documents for accuracy
  • Work a fluctuating schedule

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Program Director Certification (PDC). The program director certification is an online course offered to help train and certify program directors. This course is offered by the BVOP, and can be beneficial for both beginning program directors, aspiring program directors, and established program directors.
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP). The Program Management Professional Certification is offered by the Program Management Institute, which is a recognized and reputable organization for program directors. This certification course and exam costs $1,000 for non-members and $800 for members. It ensures that program directors are of professional level skill sets.

Sample Interview Questions

  • What is your approach to planning and implementing programs?
  • In what ways do you ensure that your programs align with the goals and objectives of your organization?
  • When developing a budget for your program, what steps did you take to ensure its accuracy and realistic nature?
  • How have you collaborated with team members and stakeholders to meet program objectives?
  • How do you cultivate the skills that make for a successful program director?
  • Do you have any strategies for managing and motivating teams, and how have you handled conflicts or issues in your teams?
  • How would you screen new staff members before hiring them?
  • What metrics do you typically use to measure program success?
  • What methods do you use to evaluate the success of your programs, and how have you made changes in response to evaluations?
  • What strategies have you used to mitigate program risks and ensure success?
  • How would you go about ensuring a successful marketing campaign for [Your Organization Here]?
  • When your organization makes a mistake, it may fall on you. How would you handle a mistake made under your direction?
  • What is different about managing a non-profit business versus a for-profit business?

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