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The Community and Social Services field is heating up, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicting steady, faster than average job growth in the field through 2026. That makes occupations like Community and Social Services Specialist, a valid option for building a reliable and rewarding career. So what does the career minded individual need to know about this position?
A Community and Social Services Specialist works in places where people need help with managing their day-to-day lives. These specialists typically work under the supervision of upper level managers such as program directors or directors of social services. Their job is to help people in trouble to find government and private assistance programs. They coordinate activities like community outreach and social service programs. What they do depends on where they are employed. They may work with people with psychological or addiction problems. They may just work on helping lower income families get access to affordable housing or money for food and clothing. It all depends on the employment setting.
Community and Social Services Specialists work in a wide variety of settings. They are found in places like:
They may work in community food and housing, emergency aid and other types of relief services agencies. Many are employed by governments, working in state or local social services, child protection, public health, mental health and probation departments, and public and private schools also employ them. These are just a few examples of the many job settings in which Community and Social Services Specialists can be found.
In general, they help facilitate the delivery of support and services to clients, which may be individuals or groups. Given the wide variety of places where Community and Social Services Specialists work, their specific day-to-day job responsibilities also vary greatly. Some examples of those responsibilities include:
The Community and Social Services field is expected to see job growth of 14 percent by 2026, according to BLS, adding approximately 347,200 jobs. This projected growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations. Much of that growth in employment will be due to a continued rise in demand in social services, including drug abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling and career counseling.
While BLS information can be helpful in gaining perspective on career options, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is simply meant to provide insight on occupational opportunities. That data should not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in this or any other field of work.
Getting a start as a Community and Social Services Specialist means earning a degree. A combined Human and Social Services associate degree from Bryant & Stratton College can help you develop the knowledge and skills you need to begin your career. In this degree program, you will develop the ability to identify and address the needs of patients and clients, gain a solid foundation in the ethical and legal procedures relevant to Community and Social Services and explore the various functions of the human and social services field. Cultural competence, crisis intervention, public health issues and counseling and case management strategies are also areas of study in this program, as are computing skills, healthcare information system, and research and writing for the workplace.
Once you have earned your Human and Social Services associate degree with Bryant & Stratton College, you will be qualified to pursue entry-level positions as a Community and Social Services Specialist. You will also have the skills, knowledge and qualifications to pursue entry-level positions in other areas of human/social services, such as Social and Human Services Assistant and Community Health Worker positions, among others. You will also be well-situated to continue your education to a bachelor's or master's level to improve your career advancement potential.
Training and requirements over and above earning a degree depend largely upon the particular employment setting. Many employers and workplaces may require that Community and Social Services Specialist job candidates pass a criminal background check and drug screenings. If a position you're applying for entails working with children or developmentally disabled individuals of any age, a background check that looks for any history of abuse/neglect complaints may be necessary for hire.
Some employers may prefer to hire candidates who have earned specialty certifications in their field. Examples of in-demand credentials include Case Manager Certification and Certified Peer Specialist, among others. Some positions may require applicants to meet work experience requirements, either as paid employees or via internship programs. Some positions and/or employers may require that newly hired employees complete on the job training programs as a condition of continued employment. The Human and Social Services associate degree at Bryant & Stratton College does not align with or lead to a professional certification. Check with the certifying entity for eligibility and testing fees required.
Given the wide variety of employment settings and positions available to Community and Social Services Specialists, this is not an exhaustive account of the additional training and requirements candidates may encounter as they seek employment in the field.
For more details on the Community and Social/Human Services Field, please visit the Degree Insights section on the Bryant & Stratton College blog. By exploring the blog and our website, you'll find lots of helpful, career-focused information to help you create a career path that suits your needs and goals, along with a solid plan to pursue it.
*Job market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook is intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities and is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Bryant & Stratton College cannot guarantee employment.