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If you want a career that will allow you to make a difference in the lives of others, pursuing a degree in social services or social work can enable you to follow your dreams. As a social services worker, you will be directly involved with the betterment of the lives of adults, children and whole families.
Here are five types of employment that you can reasonably expect to find with a social work degree:
1. Group Home Worker
As a group home worker, you will act as a liaison between client families, law enforcement, social services and other programs within the community. You will also be responsible for client admissions and discharges, behavior assistance and the teaching of life skills. Many group home workers also aid in the transportation of clients to and from medical appointments, court hearings and other important appointments.
2. Residential Counselor
Residential counselors are similar to group home workers in that they assist residents living in group homes, rehabilitation centers and even nursing homes. Residential counselors may help individuals prepare meals, get in and out of a wheelchair or participate in outings with residents. As a residential counselor, you can expect to make between $10 and $15 an hour. Your salary will be based on the region in which you live and the type of setting in which you work.
Caseworkers are typically employed by government agencies to act as advocates on behalf of a certain group of people. For instance, childrenâ€™s services agencies employ caseworkers to act on behalf of children in the community. It takes a very special person to be a caseworker; the job can be incredibly stressful and, at times, frustrating. If you are patient, persistent and organized, a job as a caseworker may prove to be a rewarding career.
4. Mental Health Assistant
Mental health assistants work in clinics, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and in private practices. As a mental health assistant, you will provide support to people with emotional problems and mental impairments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than half of the mental health assistants employed in the country work in a hospital setting. Because mental health patients require around-the-clock care, mental health assistants may be required to work evening and night shifts and on holidays.
5. School Social Worker
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, school social workers are needed now more than ever. In 2010, over 650,000 people were employed in this field. As a school social worker, you will be directly involved in resolving disputes, investigating allegations of abuse and assisting the intervention specialist in constructing an educational plan for special needs students. School social workers typically find their jobs to be incredibly rewarding and the rate of burn-out is fairly minimal.
A career in social work is not for everyone. To succeed in social work, you must be patient, empathetic, organized and steadfast. Though there are emotional struggles that come with being a social worker, a job in this field can be incredibly rewarding. If you have a strong desire to help people and to make a difference in the lives of others, pursuing a degree in social work is an excellent choice.
Jaynee Trenton writes for education blogs nationwide. If you are interested in a career helping others, there are several schools that offer degrees in social work, including socialwork.une.edu and www.bu.edu.