Professional Social Service Managers
|Recommended Degree Level||Bachelor|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||115,360|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||4.3%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||6,480|
- In order to work as a social service manager, you must hold at least an M.S.W., which is a Master's Degree in Social Work.
- Depending on where you work, you may also be required to have a certificate in management studies.
What you study:
You will study all of the following in an M.S.W. program:
- Social Work Best Practices
- Professional Ethics
- Case Management and Counseling
- Social Psychology
- Disabilities in Society
- Behavioral Psychology
A Day in the Life
As a social services manager, your day begins before the facility where you work opens.. Depending on where you work, you may be known as a social services manager, a social work manager or a community services manager. No matter your title, you will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of your facility. From the moment you arrive to the last second of the workday, you're busy assisting social workers and mental health providers.
Before the rest of your staff arrives, you take time to listen to your phone messages and read your emails. An association you work with is offering special training sessions for social workers who assist clients with disabilities. You forward the announcement about the training to the employees in your office who would benefit from attending. You'll check in with them later in the day to ensure that they have received the information.
Shortly after your facility opens, you circulate from office to office to check in with your employees. You listen to concerns that one of your employees has about a client's welfare and help him to troubleshoot how he will interact with the client today. You quickly glance over the case loads of all of your social workers and identify those individuals that might need extra help with their appointments throughout the day.
After you've made the morning rounds, you leave the office to go to a county-wide budget meeting. At the meeting, you explain the budgetary needs of your facility and explain to county supervisors why your services are important. To prepare for the meeting, you have outlined the amount of funding that you receive from state and federal organizations. You make a request for additional funding from the county. It will be several weeks before you know if your request has been approved.
You return to your facility after lunch. The social workers with whom you work are overburdened, so you're interviewing for a new social worker to join the team. You conduct interviews during the afternoon. You work with a senior social worker to choose the top three candidates and ask your facility's receptionist to arrange another round of interviews. You'll talk to the candidates again next week and will make a final hiring decision then.
Before you leave for the day, you check in with the social workers at your facility again. You let them know that you're headed home and tell them to call you if they need your assistance. It's been a long day, but you feel a great deal of pride in what you've accomplished at your facility.
Certifications and Licensing
In order to become a social service manager, you must hold a state-level certification to practice as a social worker. Gaining this certification requires completing the M.S.W. and an internship.
As a manager in this field, you will enjoy decent career advancement opportunities, especially if you would like to work at the state or national level.
The majority of your work as a social service manager will be conducted on-site at your facility. You may need to travel for special meetings.
- The Network for Social Work Management: This organization is dedicated to providing for the needs of managers in social work and social services. The Network's website provides information about leadership institutes and certification in this field. Managers of all experience levels will also appreciate the monthly online newsletter, which highlights legislative news.
- The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Social and Community Service Managers: Those who are considering careers in this field will find this Bureau of Labor Statistics handbook particularly helpful. This site includes information about career outlooks and salary ranges for social service managers. Remember to consult more qualitative sites to gain a full picture of what careers in this field are like.
- National Association of Social Workers: NASW's website provides a wealth of information geared towards professionals in the field of social work. Educational resources and legislative updates will be particularly useful to individuals who have just entered this field. Newcomers to the field of social work will also benefit from using the NASW job board to locate internships and career opportunities.