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Become A Social Services Specialist

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Working As A Social Services Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Stressful

  • $42,821

    Average Salary

What Does A Social Services Specialist Do

Social and human service assistants provide client services, including support for families, in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. They assist other workers, such as social workers, and they help clients find benefits or community services.

Duties

Social and human service assistants typically do the following:

  • Help determine what type of aid their clients need
  • Work with clients and other professionals, such as social workers, to develop a treatment plan
  • Help clients find assistance with daily activities, such as eating and bathing
  • Research services, such as food stamps and Medicaid, that are available to their clients in their communities
  • Coordinate services provided to clients
  • Help clients complete paperwork to apply for assistance programs
  • Transport clients—for example, by driving them to appointments or to services within their community
  • Check in with clients to ensure that services are provided appropriately

Social and human service assistants have many job titles, including case work aide, clinical social work aide, family service assistant, social work assistant, addictions counselor assistant, and human service worker.

Social and human service assistants help clients to identify and obtain benefits and services. In addition to initially connecting clients with benefits or services, social and human service assistants may follow up with clients to ensure that they are receiving the intended services and that the services are meeting their needs. They work under the direction of social workers, psychologists, or other social and human service workers.

With children and families, social and human service assistants ensure that the children live in safe homes. They help parents get the resources, such as food stamps or childcare, they need to care for their children.

With the elderly, these workers help clients stay in their own homes and live under their own care whenever possible. Social and human service assistants may coordinate meal deliveries or find personal care aides to help with the clients’ day-to-day needs, such as running errands and bathing. In some cases, human service workers help look for residential care facilities, such as nursing homes.

For people with disabilities, social and human service assistants help find rehabilitation services that aid their clients. They may work with employers to make a job more accessible to people with disabilities. Some workers find personal care services to help clients with daily living activities, such as bathing and making meals.

For people with addictions, human service assistants find rehabilitation centers that meet their clients’ needs. They also may find support groups for people who are dependent on alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other substances or behaviors.

With veterans, assistants help people who have been discharged from the military adjust to civilian life. They help with practical needs, such as locating housing and finding ways to apply skills gained in the military to civilian jobs. They may also help their clients navigate the overwhelming number of services available to veterans.

For people with mental illnesses, social and human service assistants help clients find the appropriate resources to help them cope with their illness. They find self-help and support groups to provide their clients with an assistance network. In addition, they may find personal care services or group housing to help those with more severe mental illnesses care for themselves.

With immigrants, workers help clients adjust to living in a new country. They help the clients locate jobs and housing. They also may help them find programs that teach English, or they may find legal assistance to help immigrants get various administrative paperwork in order.

With former prison inmates, human service assistants find job training or placement programs to help clients reenter society. Human service assistants help former inmates find housing and connect with programs that help them start a new life for themselves.

With homeless people, assistants help clients meet their basic needs. They find temporary or permanent housing for their clients and locate places, such as soup kitchens, that provide meals. Human service assistants also may help homeless people find resources to address other problems they may have, such as joblessness.

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How To Become A Social Services Specialist

Requirements for social and human service assistants vary, although they typically have at least a high school diploma and must complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some employers prefer to hire workers who have additional education or experience.

Education

Although a high school diploma is typically required, some employers prefer to hire workers who have relevant work experience or education beyond high school. A certificate or an associate’s degree in a subject such as human services, gerontology (working with older adults), or social or behavioral science is common for workers entering this occupation.

Human service degree programs train students to observe and interview patients, carry out treatment plans, and handle people who are undergoing a crisis. Many programs include fieldwork to give students hands-on experience.

The level of education that social and human service assistants have completed often determines the responsibilities they are given. Those with a high school diploma are likely to do lower level work, such as helping clients fill out paperwork. Assistants with some college education may coordinate program activities or manage a group home.

Although postsecondary education is important, some employers may prefer or allow for applicants who have related work experience. In some cases, candidates may substitute such experience in place of postsecondary education. 

Training

Many social and human service assistants, particularly those without any postsecondary education, undergo a period of on-the-job training. Because such workers often are dealing with multiple clients from a wide variety of backgrounds, on-the-job training in case management helps prepare them to respond appropriately to the different needs and situations of their clients.

Advancement

For social and human service assistants, additional education is almost always necessary for advancement. In general, advancement to case management or social work jobs requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or a related field.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help. These workers must be able to listen to their clients and to communicate the clients’ needs to organizations that can help them.

Compassion. Social and human service assistants often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues. Assistants also need to build relationships with other service providers to become familiar with all of the resources that are available in their communities.

Organizational skills. Social and human service assistants often must complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients. They must be organized in order to ensure that the paperwork is filed properly and that clients are getting the help they need.

Problem-solving skills. Social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems. They must be able to listen carefully to their clients’ needs and offer practical solutions.

Time-management skills. Social and human service assistants often work with many clients. They must manage their time effectively to ensure that their clients are getting the attention they need.

Some employers require a criminal background check. In some settings, workers need a valid driver’s license.

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Social Services Specialist Jobs

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Social Services Specialist Career Paths

Social Services Specialist
Clinician Therapist School Counselor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Assistant Director Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Service Specialist Recruiter Career Counselor
Career Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Director Of Social Services Program Director Registered Nurse
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Operations Manager Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Clinician Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse
Clinical Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Therapist Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Protective Service Specialist Social Worker Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Social Services Supervisor Service Administrator Program Director
Deputy Director
9 Yearsyrs
Social Services Supervisor Director Of Social Services
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Therapist Medical Social Worker
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Family Support Specialist
Family Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Director Home Health Aid Case Manager
Housing Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Director Registered Nurse Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Director Of Social Services Therapist Program Manager
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Social Worker Admissions Coordinator Intake Coordinator
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Driver Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Child Welfare Specialist Case Manager
Senior Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Protective Service Specialist Child Protective Investigator Social Worker
Social Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Child Welfare Specialist Social Worker
Social Work Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Social Worker 3.5 years
Family Specialist 2.3 years
Case Aide 1.9 years
Top Employers Before
Case Manager 15.1%
Internship 13.0%
Volunteer 5.0%
Counselor 4.9%
Specialist 3.3%
Therapist 3.0%
Director 2.5%
Top Employers After
Case Manager 13.3%
Therapist 9.6%
Counselor 5.2%
Clinician 4.5%
Internship 4.2%
Teacher 3.4%
Consultant 2.7%

Do you work as a Social Services Specialist?

Social Services Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

77.5%

Male

20.5%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

63.7%

Black or African American

12.9%

Hispanic or Latino

12.3%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.4%

German

6.7%

French

6.7%

Japanese

4.4%

Swahili

2.2%

Mandarin

2.2%

Vietnamese

2.2%

Dutch

2.2%

Cherokee

2.2%

Russian

2.2%

Polish

2.2%

Cantonese

2.2%
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Social Services Specialist Education

Schools

University of Oklahoma

12.3%

University of Central Oklahoma

10.2%

Northeastern State University

9.0%

Clark Atlanta University

6.6%

Portland State University

6.3%

University of Georgia

5.7%

University of Phoenix

4.8%

Capella University

4.8%

East Central University

4.5%

Oklahoma State University

4.2%

Walden University

3.6%

Eastern Washington University

3.3%

University of South Florida

3.3%

Albany State University

3.3%

Grand Canyon University

3.3%

Troy University

3.0%

Georgia State University

3.0%

Grand Valley State University

3.0%

Cameron University

3.0%

Wayne State University

2.7%
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Majors

Social Work

33.2%

Psychology

12.1%

Business

8.8%

Criminal Justice

7.4%

Counseling Psychology

4.6%

Sociology

4.5%

Human Services

4.5%

School Counseling

3.8%

Human Resources Management

3.2%

Mental Health Counseling

3.0%

Education

2.3%

Public Administration

1.7%

Human Development

1.6%

Communication

1.5%

Nursing

1.4%

Management

1.4%

Elementary Education

1.2%

Educational Leadership

1.2%

Social Sciences

1.2%

English

1.1%
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Degrees

Masters

44.9%

Bachelors

37.9%

Other

8.8%

Associate

4.0%

Doctorate

1.9%

Certificate

1.9%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.1%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Social Services Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Health and Social Services Specialist Golden Hills Healthcare Services, Inc. Burbank, CA Nov 24, 2015 $92,266
Community and Social Service Specialist, All Others Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Apr 12, 2010 $80,000
Social & Community Service Specialist New Vision Youth Community Center Glenside, PA Dec 09, 2014 $69,992
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other* Hana Mission Paterson, NJ Sep 25, 2014 $68,619
Social Service Specialist Catchafire, Inc. New York, NY Oct 15, 2014 $65,000 -
$70,000
Social Service Specialist Catchafire, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $65,000 -
$70,000
Social Service Specialist Catchafire, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $55,452
Community & Social Services Specialist Clues-Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio Saint Paul, MN Jan 25, 2008 $55,122
Social Service Specialist Catchafire, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $54,930
Community and Social Service Specialist Multicultural Community Servivces, Inc. Edison, NJ Oct 05, 2011 $53,657
Community and Social Service Specialist Multicultural Community Servivces, Inc. Edison, NJ Feb 04, 2013 $53,657
Community and Social Service Specialist Multicultural Community Services, Inc. Edison, NJ Mar 23, 2013 $52,530
Community & Social Service Specialist Multicultural Community Servivces, Inc. Edison, NJ Mar 23, 2011 $52,374
Community and Social Service Specialist Multicultural Community Servivces, Inc. Edison, NJ Mar 23, 2011 $52,374
Community and Social Service Especialist Migente Assistance Foundation Fallbrook, CA May 01, 2014 $47,000
Community and Social Services Specialist Asian American Civic Association Boston, MA Aug 09, 2016 $46,925
Social Services Specialist Asperger's Association of New England Watertown Town, MA Oct 01, 2014 $46,350
Community and Social Service Specialist American Business Institute Corp NY Sep 05, 2015 $45,914
Social Services Specialist II Baycare Health System, Inc. Tampa, FL Jun 01, 2015 $45,718
Community & Social Service Specialist American Friends Service Committee Newark, NJ Mar 30, 2010 $45,705
Community and Social Services Specialist, Other Westchester Housing Fund Inc. Hawthorne, NY May 16, 2011 $45,000
Social Services Program Specialist The Salvation Army-USA Southern Territory Dallas, TX Jun 21, 2011 $42,400
Community and Social Service Specialist American Jewish Committee Los Angeles, CA Apr 06, 2009 $33,488
Social Worker/Consumer-Directed Service Specialist Paraquad, Inc. Saint Louis, MO Mar 22, 2016 $33,218
Social Worker/Consumer Directed Service Specialist Paraquad, Inc. Saint Louis, MO Apr 15, 2014 $32,968
Community and Social Service Specialist Comminity Action Development Corp of Bethlehem Bethlehem, PA Feb 24, 2010 $32,682
Community and Social Service Specialist Chabad of Rego Park/Corona Inc. NY May 23, 2011 $32,552
Community and Social Services Specialists Circle of Care for Families and Children of Passai Woodland Park, NJ Aug 01, 2010 $32,552 -
$38,000
Community and Social Service Specialists Circle of Care for Families and Children of Passai Woodland Park, NJ Jul 25, 2010 $32,552 -
$38,000

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Top Skills for A Social Services Specialist

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  1. Child
  2. Social Service Programs
  3. Court Hearings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Composed the adopted child's family/individual assessment reports incorporating birth records and developmental, educational, and medical history.
  • Worked with family preservation- intervention of social service programs to strengthen families.
  • Attend court hearings, make case presentations, prepare court reports, testify, and make recommendations to court as needed.
  • Provided regional support of County mental health agencies responsible for consumer mental health services.
  • Collaborated with mental health providers, medical professionals and law enforcement to provide comprehensive services for families and children.

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Top 10 Best States for Social Services Specialists

  1. Alaska
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Nevada
  4. Wisconsin
  5. North Dakota
  6. Minnesota
  7. New York
  8. Vermont
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Washington
  • (67 jobs)
  • (212 jobs)
  • (162 jobs)
  • (376 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)
  • (475 jobs)
  • (1,226 jobs)
  • (65 jobs)
  • (86 jobs)
  • (487 jobs)

Top Social Services Specialist Employers

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Jobs From Top Social Services Specialist Employers

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