Social Service Specialists

Social service specialists make arrangements for needed services and treatments for individuals and families. They also develop and implement specialized treatment programs within a community. Some of the major areas they work in are public welfare, family services and child protective services. Social service specialists work with other professionals to determine the overall treatment for individuals.

Some social service workers specialize in specific areas and other deal with a wide variety of services. They usually provide services to economically and socially disadvantaged people. Community and social service specialists evaluate the needs of their clients and determine their eligibility for specific programs. Social service specialists need a thorough understanding of the variety of programs, support services and resources that are available.


  • Investigate, evaluate and follow up on complaints of neglect or abuse
  • Provide services to neglected and abused children
  • Develop, observe and modify clients' service plans
  • Provide services to people with disabilities
  • Provide services to socially and economically disadvantaged adults
  • Determine the best course of action and implement services, learning plans and treatment
  • Find resources that will help solve peoples' problems
  • Write and maintain social case histories, case records and case summaries
  • Perform family assessment and placement studies
  • Serve as a liaison between community groups and departments in order to develop and coordinate programs

Job Characteristics

Social service specialists need to communicate effectively with others and be courteous. They should enjoy helping people. Social service workers should be sensitive and dependable. Knowledge of cultural values and family dynamics is beneficial for the occupation. They should be skilled at organizing activities. They often meet with service providers.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted employment of social and human services assistants to grow by 34 percent between 2006 and 2016 which is faster than the national average for all occupations. The major reasons for the better than average projected growth rate is the increasing elderly population and the demand for more social services programs for substance abusers, the homeless, the mentally disabled and pregnant teenagers.

In 2008 the median annual salary for community and social service specialists was $37,670. The top paying sectors for the occupation are speciality hospitals, general medical and surgical hospitals and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Many employers prefer to hire applicants that hold a bachelor's degree in a subject such as social work, social welfare, psychology, sociology, consumer/community services, counseling and guidance, family and child development, and gerontology.


Major Employers

The major employers are local government, individual and family services, state government, elementary and secondary schools, social advocacy organizations, charitable organizations and nonprofit organizations.

Schools for Community And Social Service Specialists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Community and Social Service Specialists

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Community and Social Service Specialists jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 3,440 $54,660
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 2,670 $46,300
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater 1,600 $50,020
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 1,400 $45,030
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford 1,340 $44,090
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario 1,320 $51,350
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 1,250 $55,100
San Diego-Carlsbad 1,160 $49,520
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 1,040 $42,820
San Juan-Carolina-Caguas 940 $27,760

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to social service specialists

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Community and Social Service Specialists

To find out more about building a career as Social Service Specialists, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Community and Social Service Specialists

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 38,760 35% $42,490
Social Service 25,710 23% $32,080
Non-profit 12,640 11% $34,470
Education 9,610 8% $38,390
Nursing And Residential Care 6,360 5% $34,130
Hospital 4,550 4% $45,900
Medical Office 3,950 3% $34,350
Business Management 1,960 1% $37,380
Professional And Technical Services 1,310 1% $38,800
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Community and Social Service Specialists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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