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Professions in social assistance

December 20,2010 by: Dallas Browne

For people who have natural tendencies to help make other people’s lives better careers in the social assistance industry can be the perfect match.

The mission, vision and goals of a specific social assistance establishment define the kind of service the workforce will provide to its target population. The services may vary from helping the homeless, training and educating underemployed or unemployed people, helping troubled individuals to assisting families to find financial support.  

One of the aspects of social assistance is concerned with family and individual services. This sector is usually aimed at specific groups in the population like the children, the physically and mentally disabled people and the elderly. Normally this particular social assistance is devoted to the provision of resources and skills for people to be more independent. For families, this assistance is primarily designed to help them live in a protected and unwavering environment.

Another aspect of social assistance is providing relief services like food and housing. People who are for some reason incapable of providing food for themselves are aided by this service. Housing services are designed for victims of child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. Assistance is made in the form of interim emergency shelter. Free repair services are also offered to the disabled and old people. This sector also includes other forms of relief services for victims of disasters.

There are several occupations that a professional can avail from this industry in order to help other people. In 2008, 35% of all the jobs in non-governmental social assistance occupations were comprised of professionals and other associated jobs like counselors, social workers, teachers for adult literacy, health educators and human service assistants.

Counselors may have a different field of specialization like rehabilitation counseling, mental health counseling and substance abuse counseling; in general however, they are concerned with assisting individuals who are experiencing social and personal problems as well as helping them find and work utilizing their innate talents and abilities.     

Social workers sometimes include counseling in their task but their primary responsibility is to help people learn how to maximize their potential despite the limiting factor of the environment. They are also expected to help people resolve interpersonal relationship problems. Like counselors, social workers also have field of specializations like medical and public health and child, family and school.

 Adult education teachers are responsible for helping adults and youths, who for some reason were not able to attend school. They are focused in learning writing, reading and speaking to adult learners. Health educators on the other hand focus on leading people to live a healthy lifestyle.

In order to take part of any of these social assistance services, one needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Nevertheless, the qualifications, licensure and certification requirement may vary across states. Master’s degree and specific fields of specialization may be required in some positions. In certain circumstances, social workers, counselors and family therapists need to have license issued by the state. There pre-requisites for obtaining licenses vary across states. The most usual requirement includes a 3000-hour clinical experience and a master’s degree.


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