A program specialist is a type of skilled professional who works in an institutional or agency setting. An abundance of experience in his or her chosen field allows these professionals to take on a role that is focused on one or more smaller components of operations. This type of specialist often will act in a supervisory role for his or her area of specialty and in some cases will be responsible for the initial design of programs or later revision of established programs. The individual duties of a person in this career vary widely according to the mission of the institution or agency where he or she is employed, but the duties typically are assigned at the discretion of a director or other member of the management.
An education program specialist might work in settings as diverse as a museum, prison or adult rehabilitation center. In a museum setting, the program specialist would be responsible for implementing cooperative efforts with area schools, such as field trips, or sponsoring evening classes and information sessions at the museum. At a prison, an education program specialist could manage communications with outside instructors who would visit in order to teach convicts vocational skills. In an adult rehabilitation center, an education program specialist would help design and staff classes for recovering addicts that would provide information beneficial to learning about their addictions and courses of treatment. In all three cases, the specialist also would be responsible for support, feedback and other supervisory duties for the staff members working within their program or programs.
Health program specialists work primarily in conjunction with healthcare providers, but the size and nature of the provider varies greatly. Public hospitals as well as their private counterparts employ these types of specialists to ensure the proper distribution of important information about services. Smaller entities, such as community clinics, also use these professionals to design and implement outreach programs that offer free or discounted care to individuals within the community who are in need.
Any specialist must demonstrate significant experience in his or her field, but some larger agencies and institutions employ multiple program specialists in the same category and choose to distinguish them through ranking systems that correspond to pay grade and supervisory status. In these cases, the responsibilities of the specialist might be distributed among several individuals according to their work experience and skill level.