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Career and Education Opportunities for Social Services Assistants in Boston, Massachusetts

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for social services assistants in the Boston, Massachusetts area. There are currently 16,080 working social services assistants in Massachusetts; this should grow 27% to about 20,410 working social services assistants in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for social services assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 22.6% over the next eight years. In general, social services assistants assist professionals from a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, to provide client services, as well as support for families.

Social services assistants earn approximately $13 hourly or $28,390 annually on average in Massachusetts. Nationally they average about $13 hourly or $27,280 per year. Earnings for social services assistants are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Social Work and Community Services in Massachusetts and not quite as good as general Social Work and Community Services category earnings nationally. Social services assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: probation officer, residential worker, and welfare service aide.

The Boston area is home to 151 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Boston where you can get a degree as a social services assistant. The most common level of education for social services assistants is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a social services assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Social Services Assistant

Social Services Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, social services assistants assist professionals from a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, to provide client services, as well as support for families. They also may assist clients in identifying available benefits and social and community services and help clients obtain them.

Every day, social services assistants are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for social services assistants to submit reports and review reports or problems with superior. They are often called upon to interview individuals and family members to compile data on social or drug history. They also keep records and ready summaries for owner or management concerning visits with clients. They are sometimes expected to confer with supervisor concerning programs for individual families. Somewhat less frequently, social services assistants are also expected to explain rules established by owner or management, such as sanitation and maintenance requirements, and parking regulations.

They also have to be able to care for children in client's home during client's appointments and oversee day-to-day group efforts of residents in institution. And finally, they sometimes have to assist clients with preparation of forms.

Like many other jobs, social services assistants must be reliable and have a strong concern for others.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Boston include:

  • Child and Family Services Worker. Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist single parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers on how to deal with problem children.
  • Mental Health Counselor. Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. May help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; suicide; stress management; problems with self-esteem; and issues associated with aging and mental and emotional health.
  • Probation Officer. Provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.
  • Substance Abuse Specialist. Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Social Services Assistant Training

Bridgewater State College - Bridgewater, MA

Bridgewater State College, 131 Summer Street, Bridgewater, MA 02325. Bridgewater State College is a large college located in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,269 students and an admission rate of 62%. Bridgewater State College has a master's degree and a post-master's certificate program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties.

North Shore Community College - Danvers, MA

North Shore Community College, 1 Ferncroft Rd, Danvers, MA 01923-0840. North Shore Community College is a medium sized college located in Danvers, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,223 students. North Shore Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated ten and seven students respectively in 2008.

Lesley University - Cambridge, MA

Lesley University, 29 Everett St, Cambridge, MA 02138-2790. Lesley University is a medium sized university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,325 students and an admission rate of 65%. Lesley University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree programs in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated thirteen, 185, one, and one students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Housing Counselor: A Certified Housing Counselor objectively assesses the client's current financial situation; identifies problem areas the client may face recommends appropriate actions to help clients obtain and maintain adequate housing; evaluates the housing and financial status of low, moderate and middle-income families; and understands the essential workings of all aspects of the industry in order to help clients make appropriate housing decisions.

For more information, see the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education website.

Case Manager Certification: The CCM is the first nationally accredited case manager credential.

For more information, see the Commission for Case Manager Certification website.

Certified Community Action Professional: Certification is designed for current and emerging managers or leaders in the Community Action Profession.

For more information, see the Community Action Partnership website.

Certified Workforce Specialist: Candidates must pass all four (4) WPDP competencies exams (History of Workforce Development, Business & Jobseeker Specialist, Unemployment Insurance Specialist, and Labor Market Information Specialist).

For more information, see the International Association of Workforce Professionals website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts photo by Ahonc

Boston is situated in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 609,023, which has grown by 3.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boston, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Boston are valued at $216,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were constructed in Boston, down from forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boston are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 35.6% of Boston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boston is 8.2%, which is less than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Boston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Brighton Congregational Church, Leslie Lindsay Chapel and Universalist Meeting House are some of the churches located in Boston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Episcopal Church.

Boston is home to the Metropolitan Water Works Pumping Stations and the Mystic Pier 1 as well as Schoolboy Stadium and Liberty Square. Shopping centers in the area include Legion Shopping Center, Longwood Galleria Shopping Center and Neponset Circle Shopping Center. Visitors to Boston can choose from Federalist Restaurant, Eco-Logical Solutions and Omni Parker Hotel for temporary stays in the area.