Community and Social Service Workers

Community and Social Service Workers

by Service Canada
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Community and social service workers administer and implement a variety of social assistance programs and community services, and assist clients to deal with personal and social problems.

Over the past few years, the number of community and social service workers has risen very sharply. This growth is attributable to the large increase in the range and intensity of social service needs, and the handling of a growing proportion of these needs by community organizations. Since the community network is now well established, higher government spending in the health and social services sector should be more conducive to the hiring of members of other occupations and the number of income security claimants should continue, the number of community and social service workers is expected to grow sharply over the next few years, but at a more moderate pace than before.

Sources of employment
Openings will arise first from employment increase and from the need to replace community and social service workers who will be retiring or entering jobs in other occupations. In fact, with appropriate training, quite a large number of them will find positions in other occupations, for instance as social workers. Turnover is actually quite frequent within the occupation. For instance, many community and social service workers start their careers in community organizations, and move on after a few years to better paid positions in the public and parapublic sectors.

According to census data, in 2006 approximately 62% of community and social service workers worked in the health care and social assistance sector. About 15% worked in public administration, primarily as income security program administrators, mainly in the provincial civil service, but also in municipal government. Another 14% worked in associations, especially civil and social organizations (8%) and social advocacy organizations (4%).

Education and Training
To enter this occupation, it is generally necessary to have a diploma of college studies (DEC) in social work technology, special care counselling or correctional intervention, or a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to social services, such as social work, social service, psychoeducation, psychology, criminology or sexology. Experience of the social services sector as a volunteer or even as a former beneficiary, such as a former drug addict, alcoholic or pathological gambler, may in some cases be accepted in lieu of the academic requirements.

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