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Social and community service managers have an important role. They're responsible for serving their neighborhood or region as needed to help solve or ease social problems. This might include fighting homelessness, easing hunger, or helping treat mental illnesses. As a professional in this field you could assist unemployed veterans in finding meaningful employment, help the homeless battle addictions, or organize enrichment programs for low-income youths.
If you're someone who loves helping others and always sees the potential solutions in a challenging situation, this career may offer you the satisfying professional experience that you're after. Though you'll work hard, you'll also find many rewarding experiences waiting for you along the way.
Social and community service managers organize programs to provide social services to the public. They analyze the needs of people in different kinds of communities and identifying opportunities to help them. Social and community service managers may organize programs that focus on increasing awareness, providing education, or offering an important service. These managers often work closely with social workers, counselors, mentors, and others to organize efficient delivery of important services to people in their area.
A social and community service manager in a small community may work on a variety of diverse programs. In a larger community, these professionals typically work with a more tight focus, assisting a particular group such as the homeless or veterans. They may also specialize with a single program when that program has a large reach and requires a significant commitment of time and energy. In larger programs, these managers will spend most of their time overseeing others and coordinating activities from the top. As part of a smaller organization or facility, you're more likely to spend hands-on time working with program participants.
The job outlook is good for social and community service managers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth is expected to increase 16 percent for this profession over the 2016 to 2026 decade. This is much faster than the average for all US occupations, which is just 7 percent.
The aging baby boomer generation will contribute to much of this growth. Not only will older adults retire from their positions, but a larger population of senior citizens will create the need for more social and community programs targeted at serving their unique needs.
Social and community service managers can work in a wide range of different communities and organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 27 percent of these professionals work for individual and family services. Another 12 percent are employed with religious, civic, and other similar organizations. Nursing and residential care facilities employ 11 percent of social and community service managers, as do local government agencies. Ten percent work for community and vocational rehab facilities.
As a social and community service manager, you might find employment with:
Most professionals in this field work full time, and about a quarter work more than 40 hours a week. There's much to be done in this area, assisting those in the community.
You will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree for most jobs in social and community service, particularly with a management role. A Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration is a well-rounded choice that will give you a background in key areas including:
Many employers also prefer industry experience for positions in social and community service management. You can gain this by working as a counselor or social worker. You may consider working on community projects under current social and community service managers in local organizations, or volunteering with various social programs in your area to gain relevant experience.
You should also focus on honing skills that are relevant to a position in social and community service management. You can do this by pursuing certificate programs or professional certifications in key areas, or by focusing on professional and volunteer projects that will clearly demonstrate these skills on your resume. Important skills for social and community services managers include:
A BS Health Services Administration degree prepares you for positions in the fields of medical and health services management or social and community services management. This degree will give you a strong background in the administrative, financial, and managerial responsibilities involved in these roles. With a BS Health Services Administration Degree, you should look for job postings with titles such as:
Please note that data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects averages only. This is not a guarantee of employment opportunities within a given field.
For more insights into the field of social and community service managers, visit the Healthcare section on the blog. You'll find further career insights to guide your path in this area and help you determine the best way to build a satisfying future in this field.