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Career and Education Opportunities for Social Services Assistants in Gresham, Oregon

Social services assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Gresham, Oregon area. There are currently 4,930 jobs for social services assistants in Oregon and this is projected to grow 18% to 5,800 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for social services assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 22.6% over the next eight years. Social services assistants generally 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 about $12 hourly or $25,900 yearly on average in Oregon and about $13 hourly or $27,280 per year on average nationally. Social services assistants earn less than people working in the category of Social Work and Community Services generally in Oregon and less than people in the Social Work and Community Services category nationally. People working as social services assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: case work aide, head worker, and office specialist.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Gresham where you can study to be a social services assistant, among forty-six schools of higher education total in the Gresham area. Social services assistants usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Gresham 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

Mt Hood Community College - Gresham, OR

Mt Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, OR 97030. Mt Hood Community College is a medium sized college located in Gresham, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,251 students. Mt Hood Community College has an associate's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties.


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.


Gresham, Oregon
Gresham, Oregon photo by Amadeust

Gresham is situated in Multnomah County, Oregon. It has a population of over 101,221, which has grown by 12.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gresham, 100, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Gresham cost $219,200 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, one hundred three new homes were built in Gresham, down from three hundred five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Gresham are health care, accommodation and food services, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 27 minutes. More than 18.4% of Gresham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gresham is 10.8%, which is greater than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Gresham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Gresham is home to the Linnemann and the Ruby Junction Maintenance Facility-Portland Light Rail System as well as Kane City Park and Davis City Park. Visitors to Gresham can choose from Best Western, Gresham Suites and Shilo Inn-Gresham for temporary stays in the area.