Social Service Courses and Certificate Programs

Social service courses are included in certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Classes that make up a certificate program in social service might include human behavior, social science research, public policy and field techniques.

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Essential Information

By taking social services courses, students learn about social services programs, case management, child welfare, criminal justice procedures, and effective counseling. Programs focus on legal and ethical responsibilities of social workers as well as social, emotional, and psychological needs of clients.

Here is an outline of common concepts taught in social services programs:

  • Ethics
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Public Policy
  • Data Analysis
  • Human Behavior

Required field work allows those training to be social workers to practice skills in a supervised setting. Licensure requirements vary by state but usually include a certificate or degree in social services in addition to field practice.

Social Service Course List

Introduction to Social Services

In an introductory social services course, students learn how social work can help individuals and communities. They discuss the responsibilities of social workers and the skills, values and attitudes necessary to succeed in the field. Lessons may cover the theory of social work and the way the social work profession has developed over time. This class may also cover other areas of social services, such as juvenile probation and welfare.

Human Behavior

Students analyze a variety of human behaviors, their causes, and their effects. Lessons may cover social, emotional, and psychological motivations for various abnormal or maladaptive actions. Discussions focus on methods of research, behavioral motivations, social problems, and proposed solutions.

Social Science Research Methods

A course in social science research methods focuses on quantitative and qualitative approaches to the gathering of information in the social sciences. These courses focus on data analysis as well as types research programs adding to the literature in the social sciences. Students will have to develop skills to gather and interpret social science data as well as to analyze and critique social science research.

Public Policy

Students will learn the history of public policy as it pertains to social welfare in the United States. Courses in public policy focus on the history, purposes, and implications of changes in social welfare policy. Students will analyse the effects of these policies on individuals and groups throughout time.

Stress Management and Self-Care

Stress management courses focus on teaching students how to deal with high-stress environments common to social services work. Topics include time management, de-escalation, and methods of stress reduction. Students are taught to recognize and reduce the effects of stress on their own health and behaviors.

Field Experience

Students practice social service skills and functions under close supervision of professors, field experience supervisors, and licensed social services providers. This experience is necessary for both the completion of a degree program and for subsequent licensing.

Social Service Certificate Programs

Certificate programs in social services are offered at the undergraduate, graduate and post-master's level. Undergraduate certificates provide a background in the field, while advanced certificates can be completed by individuals who already have a degree and want to go into social services. Social service certificate programs include courses in human services, social work and criminal justice.

Undergraduate certificates can lead to careers as case managers, program aides and childcare workers. Depending on the undergraduate major, graduate and post-master's certificates can lead to careers as social workers or counselors.

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