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Protective Service Worker: Job Description and Education Requirements

Protective Service Worker requires significant formal education. Learn about the degree, education, job duties and license requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Protective service workers are required to have a bachelor's degree. They typically study social work, psychology, or sociology to prepare to enter this field. They must have a state license, and, although it's not necessarily required, a master's degree in social work may increase job options and prepare them for advancement.

Essential Information

Protective service workers, also known as social workers, are employed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and adults who are disabled. Protective Service Workers typically hold bachelor's degrees in social work. Graduate school education is available to individuals who would like to hold supervisory roles. Individuals wanting to pursue a career as a protective service worker must obtain a license. Requirements vary from state to state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a protective service worker is $32,360 in May 2014.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in Social Work
Other Requirements State license
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 12% (faster than average)
Average Salary (2015)* $32,690

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Protective Service Worker Job Description

Protective service workers handle an array of duties and responsibilities. They offer assistance to abused children, drug-addicted adults and the mentally disabled. Some social workers help families deal with domestic violence or traumatic events, or they can specialize in helping terminally ill patients dealing with cancer or HIV infection. Specific assignments depend on the type of person being helped.

Working with single parents might involve arranging childcare options or helping with government assistance programs. Protective service workers focusing on drug rehabilitation might arrange interventions or supervise group therapy sessions. Assistance programs are often available to families dealing with mental health or domestic abuse issues.

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Education Requirements for Protective Service Workers

Many people employed as protective service workers hold bachelor's degrees in social work, but an undergraduate degree in psychology or sociology is also acceptable. Degree requirements can completed in four years, although students can finish at their own pace. The Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) maintains standards for protective service worker education, and it accredited 470 bachelor's degree programs in social work as of October 2010 (www.cswe.org). Graduate education, such as a Master of Social Work, can help candidates obtain jobs in supervisory roles that oversee social programs.

Curriculum Requirements

A bachelor's degree in social work involves numerous classes in psychology, sociology and professional ethics. Students work on developing communication skills and working within government bureaucracies. Many courses focus on therapy techniques for groups and individuals. A variety of classes concentrate on related professional issues, like violence, sexuality and child welfare. Participation in a program accredited by the CSWE requires 400 hours of supervised professional experience.

Licensing Information

To secure a job as a protective service worker, candidates need to fulfill all licensing or certification requirements as outlined by local jurisdictions. Requirements to become a licensed clinical social worker vary between states, but they all involve minimum hours of supervised hands-on experience. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in social work can hold entry-level jobs as general protective service workers. From there, they can concentrate on a chosen specialty.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that social workers could see an employment growth rate of 12% from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than average. Protective service workers made an annual salary of $32,690 in May 2015.

Protective service workers may work with adults and children who are disabled, abused children, and adults with addictions. They may also help those with terminal illnesses cope with their situation or assist families or individuals dealing with trauma. A strong educational foundation in social work or a related field is necessary to become a protective service worker, and licensing may be required in some jurisdictions.

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