Social Services



Those who work in the social services industry have stressful yet rewarding jobs. They dedicate their lives to helping others cope with and solve a variety of problems which have a negative impact on their quality of life.
 
There are a number of careers classified under the umbrella of social services, including community health workers, school psychologists, social workers and substance abuse counselors.
 
According to a document published by U.S. News and World Report, the best careers to have in the social service industry are school psychologist, interpreter/translator, substance abuse counselor, speech and language pathologist and marriage/family therapist.
 
Education Requirements

Social service degrees often are described as the education that helps others. Before deciding which degree to pursue, candidates should determine in which field of social services they plan to work. Different fields require different levels of education, and some may even require professional licensing in addition to a college degree.
 
The gold standard for many social service jobs is a bachelor’s degree. While associate degree programs are available, most students who enroll in them plan to continue on toward earning their bachelor degree.
 
Undergraduate degree programs in social services tend to mix liberal arts courses with those dedicated specifically to social services. Those who earn one will be qualified to work in many entry-level positions within the industry. They can work for hospitals and child welfare agencies, private agencies and even programs which provide services to senior citizens.

Those who wish to work in clinical aspects of the social services industry – such as a clinical psychologist or counselor – will be required to possess a master’s degree in social services. Supervisory and administrative positions in social services agencies also require a graduate degree.
 
Some careers within the social services field require a doctorate degree, including licensed psychologists and some clinical therapists. As a general rule, if the field requires a doctorate, it also likely requires licensing from the state in which the professional intends to practice.
 
Future Growth and Jobs Outlook

Demand for trained professionals in the social services is expected to increase by 25 percent by the year 2020, according to a 2012 report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is predicted to be the fastest-growing field in the United States due to the increased demand for healthcare and social services.
 
The average annual salary for those employed in social service work was $42,480 as of March 2010. The highest-paid workers in the industry earned $70,390.

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