Consider your options
There are a number of career options available in the field of youth and social services. Learn more about how to engage with community members in these career paths. Use the descriptions below, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, to learn more about each option, including the education and experience needed.
Social & Community Service Managers
Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise social service programs and community organizations. They manage workers who provide social services to the public. Social and community service managers work for nonprofit organizations, private for-profit social service companies, and government agencies. Social and community service managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree plus related work experience. Entry-level employment can be obtained as a social or human services assistant.
Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than five prior to kindergarten. They teach language, motor, and social skills to young children. Preschool teachers typically work in public and private schools or childcare centers. Preschool teachers typically need at least an associate’s degree in early childhood education or youth development. Leadership positions are available for preschool and childcare center directors with additional education, credentials, and related experience.
Marriage & Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists work in a variety of settings, such as private practice and mental health centers. They help family members understand and overcome challenges with their family dynamics. Therapists may work with couples, children, or families. Marriage and family therapists are required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice. Students interested in this career path may earn bachelor’s degrees in related fields such as human development and family studies or youth development prior to entering graduate school.
Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. Clinical social workers also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. Social workers work in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies, hospitals, community development corporations, and private practices. While some positions are available for those with a bachelor’s degree, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and two years of experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice. Entry-level employment experience can be obtained as a social or human services assistant.
Community Health Workers
Health educators and community health workers teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They devise programs to improve the health of individuals and communities. Community health workers collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, clinics, businesses, and universities. Health educators need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Many employers require the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. The level of education for community health workers varies depending on the job and training provided.
Mental Health Counselors
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, mental health issues, or other mental or behavioral problems. They provide treatment and support to help clients recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors. They work in a wide variety of settings, such as mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practice. Most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is needed for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, and a master’s degree plus an internship is typically required to become a mental health counselor.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/, visited June 2018.
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- Community Health
- Health Education
- Human Development & Family Studies
- Public, Nonprofit & Community Recreation
- Recreational Therapy
- Youth Development
- Behavioral, Social, & Community Health
- Public Health Administration
- Recreational Therapy
- School & College Health Education
- Health Behavior
- Leisure Behavior
- ABC Autism
- Access Behavioral Solutions
- American Youth Foundation
- Bierman ABA
- Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County
- Centerstone • Fairbanks Hospital
Indiana Department of Child Services
- Life Designs Inc
- Nationwide Children’s Hospital
- Ramapo for Children
- Timmy Global Health