Social and Community Service Workers

(NOC 4212)

in All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Social and community service workers administer and implement a variety of social assistance programs and community services, and assist clients to deal with personal and social problems. They are employed by social service and government agencies, mental health agencies, group homes, shelters, substance abuse centres, school boards, correctional facilities and other establishments.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 260 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4880 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Social and Community Service Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 60% of Social and Community Service Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $44,343. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$15.50

Minimum

$21.00

Median

$33.33

Maximum

Annual Pay

$8,266

Minimum

$38,472

Median

$66,189

Maximum

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Hourly Pay

$14.00

Minimum

$26.88

Median

$46.15

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,616

Minimum

$44,335

Median

$92,599

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Social and community service workers administer and implement a variety of social assistance programs and community services, and assist clients to deal with personal and social problems. They are employed by social service and government agencies, mental health agencies, group homes, shelters, substance abuse centres, school boards, correctional facilities and other establishments.

Job duties

Social and community service workers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Review client background information, interview clients to obtain case history and prepare intake reports.
  • Assess clients' relevant skill strengths and needs.
  • Assist clients to sort out options and develop plans of action while providing necessary support and assistance.
  • Assess and investigate eligibility for social benefits.
  • Refer clients to other social services or assist clients in locating and utilizing community resources including legal, medical and financial assistance, housing, employment, transportation, day care and other services.
  • Counsel clients living in group homes and half-way houses, supervise their activities, and assist in pre-release and release planning.
  • Participate in the selection and admission of clients to appropriate programs.
  • Implement life skills workshops, substance abuse treatment programs, behaviour management programs, youth services programs and other community and social service programs under the supervision of social services or health care professionals.
  • Meet with clients to assess their progress, give support and discuss any difficulties or problems.
  • Assist in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment programs by tracking clients' behavioural changes and responses to interventions.
  • Advise and aid recipients of social assistance and pensions.
  • Provide crisis intervention and emergency shelter services.
  • Implement and organize the delivery of specific services within the community.
  • Maintain contact with other social service agencies and health care providers involved with clients to provide information and obtain feedback on clients' overall progress.
  • Coordinate the volunteer activities of human service agencies, health care facilities and arts and sports organizations.
  • May maintain program statistics for purposes of evaluation and research.
  • May supervise social service support workers and volunteers.

Sample job titles

  • addictions worker
  • child and youth worker
  • community mental health worker
  • community services officer - social services
  • crisis intervention worker
  • group home worker
  • life skills coach
  • mental health support worker
  • psychological assistant
  • social services worker

Skills

To work in this field, you should have an interest in the welfare of others and a desire to help them. Patience, maturity, and good listening skills are important. You must be able to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing. Leadership, reasoning and decision-making skills are also necessary. An understanding of human nature is also important.

Job requirements

  • Completion of a college or university program in social work, child and youth care, psychology or other social science or health-related discipline is usually required.
  • Social service workers may be required to be a member of a provincial regulatory body in some provinces.

Other considerations

Previous work experience in a social service environment as a volunteer or in a support capacity may replace formal education requirements for some jobs in this group. Progression to professional occupations in social services, such as family and marriage counsellors, social workers, and probation and parole officers, is possible with additional training and experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

4,345

employed in 2016

79.8%

employed full-time

1.6%

self employed

76.4%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
23.6%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
41.4

median age

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

55,420

employed in 2016

79.3%

employed full-time

6.5%

self employed

64.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
36%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

39.5%

Halifax

18.7%

Northern

16.3%

Cape Breton

14.1%

Annapolis Valley

11.4%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

67.7%

Health Care and Social Assistance

17.1%

Public Administration

5.7%

Other Services

3.1%

Educational Services

1.1%

Management, Admin & Other Support

What is the age of Employment?

27.3%

25-34

22.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

16.8%

15-24

10.1%

55-64

1.3%

65+

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

36.6%

35-44

29.3%

45-54

24.4%

55-64

4.9%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

35.3%

Bachelor's degree

$38,813 median annual income
34.4%

College certificate or diploma

$42,341 median annual income
14.5%

High school

$35,209 median annual income
4.5%

Doctorate

N/A
3.7%

Trades certificate

N/A

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

29.2%

Bachelor's degree

$43,533 median annual income
21.5%

College certificate or diploma

$28,183 median annual income
17.2%

Master's degree

$35,978 median annual income
14.3%

High school

$25,801 median annual income
4.6%

Doctorate

$60,991 median annual income

Education & training

Applied behaviour analysis

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of principles of learning and behaviour to enhance the development, abilities, and choices of children and adults; and that prepares individuals to address the behavioural needs of individuals, especially those with developmental disabilities and autism. These programs include courses in behaviour analysis and learning, behavioural and functional assessment, developmental psychology, applied behavioural analysis in developmental disabilities and autism, applied behavioural analysis in mental health and aging, research methods, evaluation of interventions, and professional and ethical issues.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Biological and physical sciences

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that is either a general synthesis of one or more of the biological and physical sciences, or a specialization which draws from the biological and physical sciences.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Child care provider/assistant

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to be primary providers of home, family, residential, or institutional-based child care services. These programs include courses in child growth and development; nutrition; recreation; planning and supervision of play and learning activities; child abuse and neglect prevention; parent-child relationships; and applicable legal and administrative requirements.

Institutions providing this program

Eastern College - Halifax

6940 Mumford Road, Suite 111

Halifax, NS B3L 0B7

(902) 423-3933

Success College

800 Sackville Drive

Lower Sackville, NS B4E 1R8

(902) 865-8283

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Child development

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This program engages students in practical training and theoretical explorations in child and youth work, early childhood education, as well as early intervention and inclusive development.

Institutions providing this program

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

Community health services/liaison/counselling

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to serve as facilitators, advocates, and referral professionals linking health care and related social services with affected recipient communities. These programs include courses in public and community health, human and social services, health services administration, group counselling, health education, group advocacy, cross-cultural and multilingual communication, and applicable laws and policies.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Community organization and advocacy

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the theories, principles, and practice of providing services to communities, organizing communities and neighbourhoods for social action, serving as community liaisons to public agencies, and using community resources to furnish information, instruction, and assistance to all members of a community. Prepares individuals to apply such knowledge and skills in community service positions.

Institutions providing this program

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Developmental service worker

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply practical knowledge and skills to support individuals with a variety of physical, mental or developmental disabilities in a family or community setting. These programs include courses in health care, basic nutrition, pharmacology, nursing, autism, mental health, psychology, sociology, behavioural analysis, communication, intervention, counselling and community services, and developmental services, such as literacy and life skills training.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Business College - Dartmouth

45 Ochterloney Street, Suite 100

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6

(902) 463-6700

Island Career Academy

721 Alexandra Street

Sydney, NS B1S 2H4

(902) 564-6112

Family and community services

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the development and implementation of public, private, and voluntary support services for individuals, families, and localities and that prepares individuals to function in a variety of occupations promoting family life, and family/community development. These programs include courses in family systems, human development, social services, community social and economic development, social policy, voluntary sector activities, and outreach and community education.

Institutions providing this program

Academy of Learning - Halifax

6960 Mumford Road, Suite 155-1st Floor Mumford Professional Centre

Halifax, NS B3L 4P1

(902) 455-3395

Human development and family studies - General

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on basic human developmental and behavioural characteristics of the individual within the context of the family. These programs include courses in the conditions that influence human growth and development; strategies that promote growth and development across the lifespan; and the study of family systems.

Institutions providing this program

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

Human services - General

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the general study and provision of human and social services to individuals and communities and prepares individuals to work in public and private human services agencies and organizations. These programs include courses in the social sciences, psychology, principles of social service, human services policy, planning and evaluation, social services law and administration, and applications to particular issues, services, localities, and populations.

Institutions providing this program

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Mental health counselling/counselor

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to provide evaluations, referrals, and short-term counselling services to help people prevent or remediate personal problems, conflicts, and emotional crises. These programs include courses in human development, psychopathology, individual and group counselling, personality theory, career assessment, patient screening and referral, observation and testing techniques, interviewing skills, professional standards and ethics, and applicable laws and regulations.

Institutions providing this program

Success College

800 Sackville Drive

Lower Sackville, NS B4E 1R8

(902) 865-8283

Psychology - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the scientific study of individual and collective behaviour, the physical and environmental bases of behaviour, and the analysis and treatment of behaviour problems and disorders. These programs include courses in the principles of the various subfields of psychology, research methods, and psychological assessment and testing methods.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Social work - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals for the professional practice of social welfare administration and counselling, and that focuses on the study of organized means of providing basic support services for vulnerable individuals and groups. These programs include courses in social welfare policy; case work planning; social counselling and intervention strategies; administrative procedures and regulations; and specific applications in areas such as child welfare and family services, probation, employment services, and disability counselling.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Sociology

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the systematic study of human social institutions and social relationships. These programs include courses in social theory, sociological research methods, social organization and structure, social stratification and hierarchies, dynamics of social change, family structures, social deviance and control, and applications to the study of specific social groups, social institutions, and social problems.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Substance abuse/addiction counseling

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to help prevent substance abuse, counsel individuals and families with drug and alcohol problems, and perform intervention and therapeutic services for persons suffering from addiction. These programs include courses in individual and group counselling skills, psychology of addiction, sociology, crisis intervention, substance abuse identification methodologies, substance abuse treatment modalities, substance abuse prevention and treatment resources, pharmacology and behavioural aspects of abused substances, treatment evaluation, patient observation and education, group dynamics, professional standards and ethics, and applicable laws and regulations.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Youth services/administration

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to plan, manage, and implement social services for children, youth, and families. These programs include courses in child development and psychology, adolescence, family studies, social work, social services administration, juvenile and family law, program and facilities planning, youth leadership, counselling, probation, casework, applicable procedures, and regulations, and professional standards and ethics.

Institutions providing this program

Jane Norman College (Truro)

60 Lorne Street, Suite 1

Truro, NS B2N 3K3

(902) 893-3342

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Community Services
PO Box 696
Halifax, NS B3J 2T7
Tel: (877) 424-1177

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