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Support specialists enjoy a valuable position connecting families and individuals with agencies that can help them with a variety of important needs. The scope of this work varies by occupation and may include helping people with a certain disability, assisting applicants who want to participate in various programs, or aiding a specific demographic, such as veterans or the elderly.
If you're looking for a career that's focused on helping others, a position as a support specialist is ideal. You'll have the chance to help those in need connect with the right resources to live a healthier, happier, and more successful life.
A support specialist connects the public with healthcare providers and service professionals who can effectively meet their needs. Support specialists are typically employed in a very specialized area such as rehabilitation, psychology, or pediatric health services. Within this area, they will identify key programs, resources, services, and providers in their area. Though they may offer some counseling services, support specialists are not licensed healthcare providers and cannot function as such. Rather, they are important agents of referral who help those in their community find what they need to get by.
In some jobs, a support specialist may also assist with everyday activities, if their clients are not able to manage these on their own. This might include providing basic help with grooming, feeding, and household maintenance. In this capacity, a support specialist might help organize a client's medication, arrange for transportation so he can maintain meaningful social relationships, or take care of important errands.
While there are many ways that a support specialist can approach his or her career, the core tenets of the occupation are the same. These professionals focus on helping others in any way that they can.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for a support specialist is very favorable. Job growth is expected to increase 18 percent for this occupation over the 2016 to 2026 decade. This is much higher than the national average of 7 percent for all occupations.
The aging baby boomer generation is expected to create a growing need for all types of healthcare workers. Support specialists can help seniors navigate the healthcare programs and other community offerings that are available to them.
Support specialists are also well-poised to help healthcare providers who are looking for valuable ways to improve their outcomes without significantly increasing costs. In the value-based healthcare model, there's a critical role for those who can connect community members with smart solutions for healthcare and wellness.
Most support specialists are employed in individual or family services. This accounts for 18 percent of employment in this occupation. Another 16 percent are employed by the government while 14 percent work with religious, grant making, civic, and professional organizations.
Support specialists may spend some of their time in a traditional office setting, but they'll likely work outside the office as well. To be effective in their role, these professionals should have personal contact with those in the community. They may attend special programs or community events, participate in group meetings, and meet one-on-one in healthcare or home settings with those that they serve.
Support specialists should have a minimum of an associate's degree in a related field to remain competitive in this profession. The Health Services Administration associate degree from Bryant & Stratton College offers a well-rounded educational background that will prepare you for a career in many types of community work.
Courses such as healthcare terminology, healthcare information systems, and management principles will give you the tools you need to effectively serve your community, whether you're organizing events, developing your own service programs, or counseling individuals.
You can also improve your employment prospects by gaining experience with community programs in your area. Volunteer activity looks good on any resume, but this type of experience is particularly relevant for a prospective support specialist. Get to know the services that are available in your area now and you'll have an edge over other job applicants when you're seeking a career focused on connecting people with these same solutions.
A Health Services Administration associate degree will equip you for many careers in community work and healthcare. As you're seeking employment in this area, it's important to consider a variety of jobs. Most support specialist positions have a different job title. Look for postings such as:
Please note that data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects statistical averages only. These numbers are not a guarantee of your future employment prospects or job offerings. You should use these averages for informational purposes only as you're considering the best career for your needs.
For more insights into the field of support specialists, visit the Healthcare Degrees section of the blog. You'll find a wealth of information on how to best further your education, so you're poised for a satisfying career as a support specialist. If you're detail-oriented and people-focused, this may prove to be the ideal job for your future.
A career in the field of Health Services Administration may involve meeting certain licensing, training and other requirements that can vary by vocation and state. Bryant & Stratton College’s programs are education programs and the College makes no representations regarding whether a program will qualify a graduate for employment in any specific position, is necessary for attaining any such position, or whether potential employers may require additional training, certification or education. Before enrolling in a program, applicants are encouraged to consult with any relevant agency or employer with which he/she may wish to seek employment for a complete list of position requirements and pre-requisites
*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.