What do Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other Do?
A Community and Social Service Specialist administers social assistance programs and community services. They assist clients with social and personal difficulties. These specialists are frequently employed by government agencies, mental health agencies, group homes, shelters, substance abuse centers, and correctional facilities.Job growth in the social service sector is on the rise overall due to increase in the number of older Americans and veterans who will need assistance in career transitions or health issues. This career field is expected to grow by 15% in the next few years and add over 4,000 positions.
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other Skills and Abilities
Social Service Specialists must have empathy and strong communication skills. The job requires an ability to understand human reactions and their triggers. You must be able to understand social problems, their causes and complications, and make choices for each client on an individual case basis. You may work with people who have substance abuse problems, a criminal record, who are homeless, or with abused children and troubled youth. You may also be an advocate for minority populations such as Native Americans. You may need to teach basic life skills such as personal finance or stress management. Some key skills for this occupation are:
- Psychology – understand individual differences in learning and motivation
- Counseling – methods of diagnosis and treatment
- Active Listening – full attention to a speaker and asking questions to increase comprehension
- Critical Thinking – reasoning to find best alternatives among many choices
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other Duties
A Social Service Specialist may need to work odd hours and weekends depending on the case load. Most duties are repetitive and structured, but others require creative thinking and problem solving and can cause some specialists to suffer burnout from emotional overload. Some of the regular duties you would be expected to perform are:
- Review client background and prepare case history
- Assist clients to develop plans of action and provide support
- Investigate eligibility for social benefits
- Select and admit clients to appropriate programs
- Implement life skills workshops, treatment and other programs
- Work and coordinate with Social Service Professionals
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other Tools and Technology
Social Service work is oriented towards association with people and technology is not used to a wide extent. You will need to be familiar with basic computer applications such as word processing and spreadsheets. You will also use database software used by your employer for case management and record keeping.
Education and Training for Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other
A Master’s Degree is typically required for Social Service Specialists, with 18% having this level of education and 31% having only a Bachelor’s Degree. You may choose to get started in this career field with only a four year degree but your advancement will be severely curtailed until you obtain that advanced degree. Focus of study should be social work, psychology, or other social science or health-related field.
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other Salary
Median salary for Social Service Specialists is just over $41,000 with the top 10% making just under $69,000. With additional training and experience, many Social Service Specialists choose to pursue professional occupations in social services, such as family and marriage counselors, social workers, and parole officers.
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other Jobs by Geography
Social Service Specialists tend to enjoy higher salaries in urban areas. Job growth is expected to increase nationwide but states with the largest anticipated growth are Utah, North Carolina, and Arizona.