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Career in Social Services

The social services sector looks after the well being of people, particularly those in need, and helps them deal with their life challenges. The key areas of social services include helping youth in their upbringing and success. They also include assisting people with disabilities, uniting families, and dignifying the lives of the elderly.

There is a diverse range of social services careers where candidates can work with children, adults, families, people with disabilities, and the old. Broadly speaking, there are three types of careers in the social services sector: professionals, assistants, and executive personnel.

Social services Careers for Professionals
Within the social service professional field, candidates may have a choice to work in a variety of areas. Following includes some of the options:

  • Social workers;
  • Counselors;
  • Speech-language Therapists;
  • Physiotherapists;
  • Psychologists;
  • Occupational therapists;
  • Special education therapists;
  • Early intervention teachers; and
  • Child care teachers

These professionals help people solve their everyday life problems. They may assist in a wide range of challenges faced by people, such as adopting a child or being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Most social workers need a bachelor's degree in social work. Clinical social workers might be required to have a master's degree and two years of post graduation work experience in a clinical setting. Almost all states require clinical social workers to be licensed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of social workers was $44,200 in 2012.

Occupational Therapists
These professionals make therapeutic use of everyday activities to treat ill, injured or disabled people. They usually have a master's degree in occupational therapy and are required to be licensed by all the states in the U.S. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of occupational therapists was $75,400 in 2012.

Social Service Careers for Assistants
Social service assistants work under the supervision of social service professionals in taking care of the people in need. They manage and facilitate activities for clients and deliver care services such as running errand, performing housekeeping tasks, nutrition, therapy exercises and escort. They usually work in elderly homes, nursing homes, day care centers for the elderly, children's homes and hospitals. The social services assistants in the sector include therapy aides, nursing aides, welfare officers, home care workers, health attendants, house parents, and physiotherapists.

Usually, a high school diploma is required to become a social service assistant. However, some employers may seek work experience or qualification beyond high school. Certificates or associates in human services, behavioral sciences and gerontology are commonly pursued by candidates who wish to become social service assistants. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of social service assistants was $28,850 in 2012.

Social Service Careers for Executives
Social service executive personnel support the administrative functioning of the services. Candidates may also get training in marketing, human resources, and finance in order to find specific administration jobs in the sector. Various jobs in social service administration may include the following:

  • Executive directors;
  • Program co-ordinations;
  • HR personnel;
  • Advertising personnel;
  • Public education personnel;
  • Administrative officers;
  • Finance/accounts personnel; and
  • Centre managers


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