Types of Social Services Degree Programs

This article provides information about the types of social services degree programs that are available today. You will learn about why you would want to earn a degree in social services and also where you may go to school.

Social services occupations are on the upswing in America today, with a 10% growth rate expected in all related fields, according to government data. The field of social services is very broad, and you should be able to find a career that supports you and your family, and also allows you to serve and benefit society.

You probably are wondering what some of the different jobs are that you can get that fall under the category of ‘social services.’ Let’s take a look at some of the most common social service occupations today:

  • Social workers: A social worker helps people to solve and deal with family, work and individual problems. One of the most common types is a clinical social worker, who is licensed to diagnose and treat mental problems. To become this type of social worker, you must complete at least a master’s degree. Entry level family social workers can begin in the field with a bachelor’s in social work. Licensure is overseen by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
  • Health educators and community health workers: Health educators provide instruction to people about important behaviors that promote wellness over their whole lives. Community health workers collect information and data from at risk communities and deal with health concerns of specific groups.
  • Social and human service assistants: Provide important family services in psychology, social work and rehabilitation. Some of these workers may eventually become social workers once they earn their bachelor’s or master’s degree.
  • Social and community managers: These professionals are very important in managing and coordinating social service programs as well as community organizations. They provide vital management services for many social services organizations. Budgeting and overseeing finances is also a very important part of this advanced social services role. If you work in a large agency, you may have very specialized roles; you may just run a single social services program. If you work for a smaller organization, you could have many different roles. You may oversee many social services programs that serve a large part of the community.
  • Rehabilitation counselors: These social services professionals help others to deal with mental, physical and developmental disabilities. They will work with clients to help them to overcome personal problems, and they need to have a master’s degree and be licensed, which is administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).
  • Mental health counselors: They help people to manage and overcome their personal problems. They also listen to their clients and help them to understand how to move forward. Requires a master’s degree and license, which is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Some of the above social services occupations are growing faster than 10%; for example, the field of health educators and community health workers is growing at a 13% pace. Social workers are seeing 12% growth, but the field of clinical and health care social workers is expected to see 19% growth in jobs by 2024. Also, the field of mental health counselors are seeing massive growth, with 19% demand anticipated.

For those who are interested in marriage and family counseling, you also can expect a solid growth rate of 15%.

If you are interested in a social services career, be sure to check out some of the exciting online degree programs below.

Master of Social Work

If you want to work in social services, such as mental health, family counseling and community advocacy, consider a MSW degree from the University of Southern California. This is a two year, online degree program with a curriculum that reflects how social work has evolved and innovated over the last several decades. The coursework that you take will explore the needs in this booming field so that you can meet the social services challenges of the 21st century.

Note that this is an advanced standing program, which means that you need to have a bachelor’s degree in social work to apply. If you do not have a bachelor’s in social work, you will need to complete it before applying.

You will start your studies with a strong foundation of social work principles and practice. Later in the first year, you will build upon that knowledge and learn about three major concentrations: children, youth and families; community organization; and adults and healthy aging.

The curriculum will focus on early intervention, prevention and wellness, and also how to collaborate and be a healthy leaders in the social work field.

Hands on experience is vital in any MSW program, and you will spend more than 1000 hours in the field in your area working with families and others in need. You need to coordinate this service time in the field with a supervisor at USC. You should be able to find a social services facility in your area where you can complete these hours.

This MSW program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or CSWE, which is the premier accreditation agency in the field.

Master of Science in Human Services – Social and Community Services Specialization

Want to strengthen your skills so that you can facilitate change in your community? Consider this master’s degree from Capella University, which can be completed entirely online. This curriculum will focus on cultural awareness, utilization of community resources, enacting social change, public policy and advocacy.

This program focuses on evaluating the theories and practices of the social and community service profession and also you will learn how to be an advocate for social change through applying value and ethical research principles. You also will learn how to think and write in a critical fashion in the social services field.

Many professionals who graduate from this human services master’s program work in the following areas:

  • Community organizer
  • Program manager for social services
  • Case manager
  • Probation or correctional officer
  • International social services professional
  • Family specialist

Master’s in Mental Health Counseling

For those who want to focus on social services and psychology, you should think about earning your Master’s in Counseling online from Wake Forest University. This program has an outstanding reputation in training and mentoring future leaders in research, teaching and innovation to better serve society. This program enables you to be eligible for state licensure as a counselor.

This program has a robust intellectual environment and a highly supportive atmosphere for both personal and professional development.

This program has been accredited for more than 20 years and has a 100% pass rate for the National Counselor Examination. Graduates of this program have gone on to work in community agencies, behavioral health care organizations, employee assistance programs and substance abuse facilities.

Also note that Wake Forest University is highly ranked by US News and World Report as a Best National University and also a Best Value.

There are many different directions that one can go in if you desire to work in the social services field. Whether you enter social work, counseling, community service or a related field, you will be able to find a good career.