19 Pros and Cons of Working at the American Red Cross

Joining the American Red Cross is a fulfilling choice, as you’ll be furthering your career and working alongside positive people making a difference.

The American Red Cross aids those affected by disasters worldwide.

If you’re considering applying to work at the American Red Cross, you should know the pros and cons.

Below, we’ll review a few benefits and drawbacks of working for the Red Cross.

Pros of Working for the American Red Cross

Working at the American Red Cross provides many benefits.

Below, we’ll give a quick breakdown of many of the positives.

#1: Good Benefits

Among similar companies, the American Red Cross offers various benefits.

These can include health insurance, dental, and vision.

In addition, some full-time employees will receive health savings accounts, life insurance, and flexible spending accounts.

Supplemental life insurance, accidental death, and dismemberment insurance are also available.

Lastly, the American Red Cross includes disability insurance, mental health care, paid family leave, and career development.

#2: Variety of Projects

Many believe working for the Red Cross means you’ll only be sent to aid in disasters.

However, the Red Cross focuses on many projects outside of disaster relief.

These can include collecting blood and training health and safety courses for companies.

The American Red Cross also works alongside the armed forces to help support veterans, the military, and their families.

Lastly, the American Red Cross works internationally to help others in other countries.

#3: Flexible Scheduling

Those applying for a full-time position will be subjected to a 40-hour work week.

However, part-time or volunteer positions have flexible scheduling.

The Red Cross offers shifts ranging from early morning to night for part-time applicants.

In addition, part-time employees can work so many days on and off.

Volunteers have even more flexibility and only need to commit to four hours per week.

#4: Travel is Covered

Certain positions within the Red Cross will also reimburse or cover travel.

The American Red Cross will pay for travel expenses when volunteers are deployed to specific areas.

However, there are limitations to what the company will cover.

Generally, the Red Cross will reimburse for plane tickets, lodging, and a rental vehicle.

Other expenses, such as food, entertainment, or amenities, will not be refunded or covered.

#5: Free Training

Applicants will receive free training after being accepted into the American Red Cross.

The training will vary depending on the position and include online courses, in-person training, and community classes.

In addition, employees and volunteers can take courses from the Red Cross for a discounted rate.

#6: Sense of Satisfaction

Working at the Red Cross is a gratifying and satisfactory job.

You’ll constantly contact many communities, especially those in need.

Seeing the first-hand effects of your efforts can be highly motivating and create a sense of self-worth.

Working face-to-face with other like-minded people can also be good, as you’ll grow and bond over helping those in difficult situations.

#7: Job Security

The Red Cross has active projects worldwide, which means there is always a need for volunteers and employees.

The non-profit focuses on deploying volunteers to new locations, which keeps more positions open.

Those looking for job security will be satisfied, as a project will always need volunteers.

The positions can range from local to international.

#8: Lots of Travel & Exploration

Volunteers often travel to new locations since the American Red Cross works internationally.

Many workers report moving at least every two months.

This gives them a chance to be introduced to various cultures and allows them to see new places.

Since the room and travel are covered, this is an excellent way to immerse yourself in different environments.

#9: Learn a Wide Set of Skills

The American Red Cross does its best to train employees and volunteers in various programs.

As a company employee, you’ll gain access to all its courses and be able to apply for different training workshops.

This allows you to master various skills that can be useful in other jobs.

In addition, you’ll be able to gain these skills for free or at a discount.

#10: High Pace Environment

For those who don’t like a boring desk job, the Red Cross is the perfect solution.

Volunteers and employees often work on new projects weekly, meaning there is much to do and learn.

Exposure to new projects is consistent, and applicants can choose which projects they want to participate in.

So you won’t feel like you’re working the same job each day.

Cons of Working for the American Red Cross

While working for the Red Cross can be highly rewarding and exciting, one should know a handful of cons.

Below, we’ll give a breakdown of some of those.

#1: No Way to Move Up

Unfortunately, there aren’t many growth opportunities if you work at the American Red Cross.

While volunteers will gain experience in their field, there isn’t much chance to move up or be promoted.

Previous employees have mentioned that they often don’t see much room for advancement after they gain experience.

They also note that if you stay with the company for a long term, they are only given slight opportunities to work at a higher position.

#2: Long Hours

Working for the Red Cross can mean you don’t have set hours.

If you’re volunteering full-time, you can expect to put in long days when a project must be done.

Some note that they can even be working for work multiple days at a time after a disaster.

So, volunteers must be committed to working long hours when necessary.

#3: Low Wages

Since the American Red Cross is a non-profit organization, it does not often offer high pay.

Many of its positions are minimum wage or even free.

You can not expect to be compensated for your work as a volunteer.

However, they will cover any necessities while on the job.

You will get a decent salary as a full-time employee, but it pays off more due to the good benefits.

#4: Poor Management

One of the main gripes with many employees is that management isn’t always the best.

This varies by location, but many volunteers stated that they feel management is not as organized as it could be.

There is a lack of connection between the different teams, and the management often has to micromanage their staff.

#5: More Volunteer Positions Than Paid

The American Red Cross is a non-profit but often relies on volunteers.

While this can be a good thing, paid positions are frequently sparse.

If applying to the Red Cross, there will be a limited number of paid positions.

Many of these positions will also not be for aiding in disaster relief but instead for the immediate community.

This can include training people, helping the military, etc.

#6: Experience Varies By Location

Volunteers and employees also say their experiences differ vastly in each location.

Since the American Red Cross is spread internationally, various work environments exist.

Each is very different from the last, which might mean that volunteers enjoy one location but not the other.

This can dissatisfy anyone who has traveled, as they will be stuck volunteering in an area until the project is complete.

#7: On-Call

As a paid employee, you may also need to be on–call.

This means that even if you have a 40-hour work week, you must work overtime when necessary.

Since the Red Cross deals with disasters, employees often need to stretch their hours as far as possible.

This can sometimes mean working multiple days and having mandatory overtime hours.

It may be a difficult job for those not used to this or have other commitments.

#8: Stressful

Workers will be dealing with people who have been affected by a disaster.

This can be heartbreaking for some, who become stressed by the horrible circumstances.

If you can’t stay in your position or are susceptible to stress, working at the Red Cross might not be for you.

Many of these families have lost loved ones, dealt with horrible circumstances, and may not even have basic needs to live. 

#9: Short Breaks

If you’re susceptible to burnout, it’s often not recommended to work at the Red Cross.

Many workers will only have ten to thirty minutes during a shift.

The job requires a lot of attention and focus, which can be draining if you’re not used to a fast-paced workplace.

If you cannot work for hours on end, applying as an employee is not recommended.

Instead, you may be better suited for the volunteer position, which is less strict.

14 Pros and Cons of Working for the American Red Cross – Summary Table

Pros of Working for the American Red CrossCons of Working for the American Red Cross
Good BenefitsNo Way to Move Up
Variety of ProjectsLong Hours
Flexible SchedulingLow Wages
Travel is CoveredPoor Management
Free TrainingMore Volunteer Positions Than Paid
Sense of SatisfactionExperience Varies By Location
Job SecurityOn-Call
Lots of Travel & ExplorationStressful
Learn a Wide Set of SkillsShort Breaks
High Pace Environment

Should You Work for the American Red Cross?

If you’re interested in working for the Red Cross, then you should take the time to familiarize yourself with the position you’re applying to.

People often believe they can just sign up and have a typical 40-hour work week.

However, that’s not always the case.

Instead, applicants should be wary of the commitment to working at the company, as it is intensive when many projects are ongoing simultaneously.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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