Making Your Way: Opportunities in Social Services

An old proverb says: “Progress, not perfection.” Despite advances in technology and government, social problems persist–poverty, addiction, and limited access to healthcare continue to dog our civilization. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but you needn’t let it paralyze you. Every day, social service workers fight the good fight. If you’ve ever wanted to take some of the small steps that add up to big change, a career in social services may be right for you. Broadly speaking, social service is an umbrella term encompassing various careers. The common goal of social service work is to provide aid–legal, medical, financial, etc.–to those in need. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), community and social service occupations employed over 1.7 million as of May 2007. That number included occupations ranging from probation officers and correctional treatment specialists to social workers, school counselors–even marriage and family therapists. Growing Opportunity   One of the strongest incentives to enter a social service career is the rapid expansion of the employment opportunity. Over the next ten years, employment in many social service careers is expected to increase. Social workers, for example, should see employment increase 22 percent during between 2006 and 2016. Over the same period, marriage and family therapists, as well as substance abuse counselors should see a jump of 30 percent in employment. One social service career experiencing particularly rapid growth is geriatric care. Geriatric care may provide many career opportunities in the near future. According to Larry Minnix, CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, in the next ten years, “geriatric care managers will be one of the most important roles in the whole health services delivery system.” The data on America’s rapidly expanding senior population seem to agree. By 2030, the number of Americans older than 65 is expected to reach 71 million. The Freedonia Group, a research firm, estimates revenue for elder care services should grow 6.6 percent annually through 2011.   Education for Social Service Careers   If you’re interested in pursuing a social service career, education is an important first step. Most social service careers require you to have some form of postsecondary training, and many require advanced degrees and state licensure. For example, social workers typically need a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) for entry-level positions. However, if you major in psychology, sociology, or a related field, you can also lay the academic groundwork for further career development–and college degrees, in social work. social workers in clinical and healthcare settings (five in ten, according to the BLS) typically need master’s degrees. Similarly, if you’re interested in practicing as a counselor, a master’s degree is traditionally a must. If you wish to practice in the public employ, you may also need state licensure. Whatever the job, social work can be challenging, yet rewarding. In the words of Beverly Bernstein Joie, co-founder of Philadelphia-based Elder Connections (a nonprofit practice providing home help to the elderly), “This work satisfies two parts of myself: the part that loves to take care of people and the part that wants to be a businesswoman.” And that’s what really counts. After all, the most important requirement for social service work is a strong desire to help others. If you’re also emotionally mature, sensitive to the problems of others, and capable of forming strong, courteous relationships, you may already have what it takes–and ample reason–to make your way in social service. Kelli Smith ————————–



  1. Star said :
    January 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Can someone please edit my essay for grammar, errors, and punctuation?
    One of the core ethical principles of social work is that all people have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. We must ensure that each individuals’ human rights are upheld. Considering that each person has a right to be treated as a whole person, this requires social workers to not only be concerned about the individual, but also their family, community, and environment. Social workers must come together to change the social conditions that contribute to economic inequalities by challenging unjust policies and practices at every level. This includes making sure that those in need receive resources first, and that resources offered are distributed fairly.
    Social workers are concerned with well-being of individuals who are the most helpless in society. They work with women and children, the elderly and disabled individuals who are more likely to live in poverty. Not having access to resources, transportation, education, employment, and child care can make it difficult for them to fully participate in their communities. Being able to work and provide for our needs and those of our families is essential to our well-being. Individuals susceptible to living in poverty should not be deprived of their basic necessities that can sustain their lives.
    Before we can address changes for those living in poverty, first, we need to look at clearly what is causing poverty. There are many factors to why people are living in poverty: lack of income, lack of resources that ensure sustainable lives, limited or lack of access to education and services, a lack of participation in decision-making and loss of livelihood as a result of economic recession or disaster.
    There needs to be a combination of resources, support, empowerment, education and employment opportunities for individuals living in poverty to enhance their well-being and improve their lives. For instance, we must ensure that there is universal access to economic opportunities that promote sustainable lives and social services, as well as being able to facilitate access to opportunities and services for the disadvantaged. People living in poverty an vulnerable groups must be empowered to through participation in all aspect of their lives. We need to expand opportunities to enable people living in poverty to enhance their overall capacities and improve their economic and social conditions. Therefore, as social workers we need to change social conditions in order to ensure access for all individuals to resources, opportunities, and public services. People living in poverty should also be empowered by strengthening education at all levels and ensuring access to education of these people. Having an education for people living in poverty can aid in their opportunity to develop skills and knowledge that they need to better their conditions and improve their lives. Other areas that can aid and improve the lives of people living in poverty are ensuring that there is equal access to social services, especially education. For example, equal access to social services programs that enable vulnerable people and those living in poverty to improve their lives and by them fully participating in their lives.
    What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about people being poor; laziness, unmotivated, unemployed, no education, and having children. These are not even the main reasons that contribute to someone living in poverty. Most people living in poverty are often discriminated and more likely to be vulnerable, powerless, and without a voice. All individuals have a right to be treated equally regardless of their race, gender, sex, or age. This is about equality, rights, dignity, and having a voice for those groups that are vulnerable and oppressed. It is about taking the time to help individuals, women, children, and families in need to build a better life and future for themselves. It is about recognizing that every person deserves the right to a decent standard of living and the chance to contribute to the common good. Ultimately, it is about empowering people to be self-sufficient to making decisions that can contribute to their development and well-being. We need to support programs that give opportunity for those in need to develop skills, knowledge, and information that can improve their overall social and economic conditions and well-being. One needs to be given the opportunity, resources, and support to benefit from development and participation in decision making affecting themselves and their community.
    We need to come together as a community in ensuring that inequality must be addressed at all levels. There needs to be gender equality in equal access to education, health care and equal opportunities for individuals, women, and children. Women are the biggest percentage of support for their families and children. We need to ensure that women for one are empowered to be able to participate in making their own decisions and have the o

  2. Luna said :
    January 21, 2010 at 12:13 am

    I did a complete and thorough proofreading/editing on this two days ago for this question and since I was unable to submit it here (Y!A was having a glitch in the system at the time), I did so on another one of your questions that has mysteriously been deleted. Your texts are very long, and when someone takes the time and makes the effort to "help" you, it isn’t polite to remove it.
    References :

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