Social Service Administrator Employment Info

Social service administrators oversee programs and staff members that provide assistance to people in need, including children, the elderly, the homeless or veterans. Continue reading to learn more about educational requirements, skill sets, employment and salary outlook for social service administrators.

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Career Definition for a Social Service Administrator

Social service administrators organize and supervise the delivery of social assistance programs, either directly or through others. Their duties may include identifying what types of resources a community needs and evaluating the effectiveness of new or existing programs. Social service administrators also manage budgets, promote programs, supervise lower-level social workers and write grants or proposals. In addition to local and state governments, they may be employed by family services, nursing facilities, religious organizations or rehabilitation centers.

Education Bachelor's degree in public administration, social work, or urban studies; graduate work for professional advancement recommended
Job Skills Critical thinking, problem solving ability, communication and interpersonal skills, leadership and management abilities
Median Salary (May 2015)* $63,530 for social and community service managers
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 10% for social and community service managers

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

Entry-level requirements for social service administrators include a 4-year degree in public administration, social work or urban studies, among other related fields. Individual employers may show a preference for candidates who hold a Master of Arts in Social Work (MSW) or a Master of Public Administration (MPA). Relevant graduate programs also include those that lead to a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Experience in social work or another related area is key to obtaining a job as a social service administrator.

Skills Required

Social service administrators must be critical thinkers and have the ability to solve problems, as well as the communication and interpersonal skills necessary for communicating with the public. Leadership and management abilities are essential; a facility for time management can be helpful.

Employment and Salary Outlook

Social service is a growing field, with the number of positions available for social and community service managers expected to increase by about 10% between 2014 and 2024, or faster than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In particular, administrators will be needed to provide services to the elderly and substance abusers in need of treatment. According to the BLS, social and community service managers earned a median annual salary of $63,530 in May 2015. At that same time, those who were employed by the Federal government earned the highest average salary of $97,550 annually (

Alternate Career Options

Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation counselors help people of all ages, including the elderly, obtain necessary resources and services, as well as cope with the everyday challenges associated with mental or physical disabilities. Potential employers usually look for candidates who have completed a master's degree program in rehabilitation counseling; some states or vocational rehabilitation services might require a license. The BLS reports that job opportunities are projected to increase by 9% nationwide, or faster than average, from 2014 to 2024. In May 2015, the median annual wage of a rehabilitation counselor was $34,390, with those employed by local and state governments earning between $45,530 in the same month (

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are typically employed by outpatient or residential care facilities, the government, hospitals or social services, where they assist clients who have been affected by addictive behaviors or mental health issues. High school graduates who receive on-the-job training may be qualified for some positions; private practitioners usually need a master's degree in a relevant field of study and a license. The number of jobs in this much-faster-than average growing field is expected to increase by a dramatic 22% nationwide from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. Counselors who were employed as of May 2015 were paid a median yearly salary of $39,980 (

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