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 2019

Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim5,560$49,050
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach3,500$39,910
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward3,070$59,510
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater1,690$36,830
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario1,630$48,640
New Orleans-Metairie1,360$41,250
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell1,220$47,630
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara1,160$43,060

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Social Service Specialists

Use our handy tool to see what employment and salary numbers look like for two different metro areas

Select State
Select Metro Area 1
Select Metro Area 2
Please select State, Metro Area 1 and Metro Area 2
Select different Metro Areas

Total employment and salary for professions similar to social service specialists

Source : 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,; O*NET® 24.3 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor,

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.