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Career profile Social Services Director

Also known as Adoption Services Manager, Child Welfare Services Director, Children's Service Supervisor, Clinical Services Director, Community Services Director, Psychiatric Social Worker Supervisor, Social Services Director, Transitional Care Director, Vocational Rehabilitation Administrator

Social Services Director

Also known as Adoption Services Manager, Child Welfare Services Director, Children's Service Supervisor

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Social
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$42,230 - $115,800 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Service Orientation
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administration and Management
  • Psychology
Core tasks
  • Establish and oversee administrative procedures to meet objectives set by boards of directors or senior management.
  • Direct activities of professional and technical staff members and volunteers.
  • Evaluate the work of staff and volunteers to ensure that programs are of appropriate quality and that resources are used effectively.
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What does a Social Services Director do?

Social Services Directors plan, direct, or coordinate the activities of a social service program or community outreach organization.

In addition, Social Services Directors

  • oversee the program or organization's budget and policies regarding participant involvement, program requirements, and benefits,
  • work may involve directing social workers, counselors, or probation officers.

What kind of tasks does a Social Services Director perform regularly?

Social Services Directors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Establish and oversee administrative procedures to meet objectives set by boards of directors or senior management.
  • Direct activities of professional and technical staff members and volunteers.
  • Evaluate the work of staff and volunteers to ensure that programs are of appropriate quality and that resources are used effectively.
  • Participate in the determination of organizational policies regarding such issues as participant eligibility, program requirements, and program benefits.
  • Prepare and maintain records and reports, such as budgets, personnel records, or training manuals.
  • Provide direct service and support to individuals or clients, such as handling a referral for child advocacy issues, conducting a needs evaluation, or resolving complaints.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with other agencies and organizations in community to meet community needs and to ensure that services are not duplicated.
  • Recruit, interview, and hire or sign up volunteers and staff.
  • Research and analyze member or community needs to determine program directions and goals.
  • Implement and evaluate staff, volunteer, or community training programs.
  • Act as consultants to agency staff and other community programs regarding the interpretation of program-related federal, state, and county regulations and policies.
  • Speak to community groups to explain and interpret agency purposes, programs, and policies.

The above responsibilities are specific to Social Services Directors. More generally, Social Services Directors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

What is a Social Services Director salary?

The median salary for a Social Services Director is $69,600, and the average salary is $75,140. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Social Services Director salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Social Services Directors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Social Services Directors earn less than $42,230 per year, 25% earn less than $53,880, 75% earn less than $90,630, and 90% earn less than $115,800.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Social Services Directors is expected to change by 15.2%, and there should be roughly 18,300 open positions for Social Services Directors every year.

Median annual salary
$69,600
Typical salary range
$42,230 - $115,800
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
15.2%

What personality traits are common among Social Services Directors?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Social Services Director are usually higher in their Enterprising and Social interests.

Social Services Directors typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Social Services Directors typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Social Services Director tend to value Relationships, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Social Services Directors very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Social Services Directors strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Social Services Directors strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Social Services Directors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as leadership, integrity, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Social Services Directors, ranked by importance:

Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

What education and training do Social Services Directors need?

Many Social Services Directors will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Social Services Directors usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Social Services Directors

  • 1.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 7.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 13.0% completed some college coursework
  • 5.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 38.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 28.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 5.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Social Services Directors

Social Services Directors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, administration and management, or psychology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Social Services Directors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Personnel and Human Resources
Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.

Important Abilities needed by Social Services Directors

Social Services Directors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Social Services Directors need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Social Services Directors, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Social Services Directors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Social Services Directors frequently use skills like social perceptiveness, service orientation, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Social Services Directors, ranked by their relative importance.

Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Learning
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.