What does a community support worker do?
Community support workers help community members identify their goals and assist them with accessing many different available programs and services. They build relationships with community members and establish goals to create an effective plan. They help people implement their plans and provide information on many different program and service options. They also provide the necessary support in a variety of stressful and emotional situations. Community support workers prepare and file the appropriate paperwork regarding their clients.
What kind of training does a community support worker need?
Community support workers must have at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer applicants with postsecondary training and some related work experience. Many community support workers have an associate of bachelor degree in human services, social science, or other related field. Many aspiring community support workers complete internships or volunteer experiences with community programs to gain practical experience and establish valuable contacts. Some employers provide some on the job training to new community support workers to enable them to learn the required policies and procedures. Community support workers are often required to pass a background check and drug test. Community support workers complete additional training as needed throughout their careers to keep their skills current and stay up to date with advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a community support worker?
Employment of community support workers is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for community services and support will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be excellent especially for community support workers with postsecondary education and extensive experience. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace community support workers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do community support workers make?
As of March 2010, the average annual salary for community support workers is $38,000; average annual community support worker salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a community support worker is a great choice for people with a strong desire to make a difference in their communities by providing assistance with a variety of programs and services. Community support workers must have a solid understanding of the necessary policies and procedures of community support services. Patience, self-confidence, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Community support workers must have good communication and interpersonal skills and ability to build positive relationships with many different community members. They must be flexible and willing to perform many different efforts to meet the needs of the community.