Habilitation program managers oversee the care of individuals with developmental and behavioral issues. Their responsibilities include educating and providing basic services. Job growth and salaries for this field are reported as higher than average.
Habilitation programs offer assistance to clients with developmental disabilities, mental illness or behavioral conditions. A habilitation program manager develops and oversees educational enrichment activities that encourage social independence. These workers typically need a bachelor's degree and work experience to compete in the job market.
|Required Education||A bachelor's degree in human services, psychology, art therapy, speech pathology or a related discipline|
|Other Requirements||Up to 5 years of experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||10% for social and community service managers*|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)||$63,530 for social and community service managers*|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Habilitation program services vary depending on the focus of the organization and the needs of its clients. Most programs provide opportunities for socialization and training in everyday skills such as money management, nutrition and personal hygiene. Programs might also help clients find volunteer or work opportunities in the community and provide necessary transportation. Organizations might provide services at a center or at a client's home.
The manager of a habilitation program needs to have knowledge and experience in human services related to people with developmental disabilities. A degree in human services or the social sciences such as psychology, art therapy or speech pathology might be required in addition to significant work experience in a relevant human services setting. Successful managers make independent decisions, provide positive reinforcement to staff and maintain good relationships with a variety of people.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for social and community service managers were expected to increase 10% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted this job growth was partly due to population growth, although government budget cuts may limit some growth.
A habilitation program manager has both supervisory and administrative tasks. Managers develop and coordinate habilitation programs, sometimes at multiple facilities. They ensure services meet the needs of the client population and are compliant with state and federal laws. Managers keep detailed client records and analyze data to make decisions about program offerings. In addition, they provide guidance to staff members and conduct periodic reviews of their work.
Administrative work may include procuring equipment, managing facilities, maintaining financial records and handling budgetary issues. Program managers will likely need to communicate frequently with office staff or with government departments or donors which may fund their programs.
A habilitation manager must have a lot of patients, great communication skills, and a passion for helping others. They'll also need a bachelor's degree in an appropriate field and five years' experience working in the industry.