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Social and Community Service Managers

At a Glance

  • Direct the operations of public and private agencies
  • Work closely with clients, staff, community groups, and others
  • May work overtime to meet deadlines
  • Have at least a bachelor's degree plus work experience
  • May need a license

Career summary

Social and community service managers plan and direct social service programs.

Job titles for social and community service managers usually reflect an area of specialization.

Social and community service managers work in public and private agencies. These agencies provide services such as:

Managers direct the operation of social service agencies. In many agencies, they also work directly with clients.

Social and community service managers create policies and define the scope of services offered. They gather information by researching community needs. They also consult with individuals and other agencies in the community.

Managers interview and hire new staff. They train staff in the skills needed to provide services. They also assign duties to and supervise staff. If the agency uses volunteers, managers may also recruit and train these workers. In order to ensure the quality of services and the best use of resources, managers evaluate all staff and volunteers on a regular basis.

In private agencies managers report to and consult with the board of directors. In large organizations that have more than one manager, they report to the agency director.

In addition, managers prepare records and reports. For example, they:

Many social and community service managers speak to community groups and explain the purpose of their agency and the services they offer. They may also plan and direct fundraising activities.

Related careers

This career is part of the Human Services cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to social and community service managers.

Common work activities

Social and community service managers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, social and community service managers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Social and community service managers frequently:

It is important for social and community service managers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for social and community service managers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Social and community service managers need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a social and community service manager, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most social and community service managers have a bachelor's degree or higher. Common fields of study are counseling, social work, education, and management. Many managers have a college degree in the area in which they provided service before becoming managers. For example, the manager of a mental health center might have a master's degree in counseling.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's and master's degree programs in service fields, such as counseling and social work.

Work experience

Social and community services managers often have experience as social service workers. Many managers work first as welfare workers, social workers, counselors, or assistant managers before becoming managers.

On-the-job training

You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a four-year degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.

Some agencies have in-house training programs. They may also pay for college courses you take to improve your skills.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Some employers prefer to hire social and community service managers who have an advanced degree in their field. Managers are often hired from experienced staff within the agency. Some employers will hire social and community service managers who do not have any work-related experience. Other employers prefer to hire social and community service managers who have up to six years of experience.

Employers prefer social and community service managers with excellent verbal and written skills. They look for applicants who inspire trust and confidence in others. Managers must also be able to work independently with little supervision.

Some employers look for applicants who are bilingual. For jobs in some parts of the state, the ability to speak Spanish may be necessary.


Internships or volunteer work in direct human services or planning is helpful. Double degrees in social planning and in the field covered by the agency may be desirable. Experience working with social program clients and program management skills are helpful. Talk with people who work in this field.

Costs to workers

Many pay professional association dues.


A license may be required for social and community service managers who work in the mental health field. For example, social workers or psychologists may work as social and community service managers. Many states require these workers to have a license.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.

Social and community service managers (SOC 11-9151)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $14.03 $20.88 $29.47 $38.62 $48.76
Monthly $2,431 $3,619 $5,107 $6,693 $8,450
Yearly $29,190 $43,430 $61,310 $80,330 $101,420
    Bellingham Hourly $19.34 $21.37 $24.68 $35.31 $46.55
Monthly $3,352 $3,703 $4,277 $6,119 $8,067
Yearly $40,216 $44,439 $51,323 $73,448 $96,826
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $20.50 $28.26 $34.13 $38.91 $47.96
Monthly $3,553 $4,897 $5,915 $6,743 $8,311
Yearly $42,638 $58,765 $70,995 $80,933 $99,754
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $16.65 $22.12 $28.12 $30.68 $32.24
Monthly $2,885 $3,833 $4,873 $5,317 $5,587
Yearly $34,625 $46,018 $58,498 $63,831 $67,056
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $18.75 $23.58 $31.05 $41.96 $50.26
Monthly $3,249 $4,086 $5,381 $7,272 $8,710
Yearly $38,990 $49,048 $64,576 $87,270 $104,524
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $11.73 $23.76 $35.41 $43.56 $50.02
Monthly $2,033 $4,118 $6,137 $7,549 $8,668
Yearly $24,400 $49,414 $73,663 $90,597 $104,035
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $20.96 $26.89 $32.78 $49.48 $59.38
Monthly $3,632 $4,660 $5,681 $8,575 $10,291
Yearly $43,594 $55,929 $68,184 $102,913 $123,498
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $13.69 $20.68 $30.72 $40.97 $50.09
Monthly $2,372 $3,584 $5,324 $7,100 $8,681
Yearly $28,471 $43,015 $63,905 $85,218 $104,182
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $16.41 $25.53 $30.26 $38.42 $47.79
Monthly $2,844 $4,424 $5,244 $6,658 $8,282
Yearly $34,127 $53,087 $62,939 $79,917 $99,398
    Vancouver Hourly $15.39 $21.85 $30.33 $40.02 $50.15
Monthly $2,667 $3,787 $5,256 $6,935 $8,691
Yearly $32,021 $45,435 $63,072 $83,241 $104,323
    Walla Walla Hourly $22.70 $26.46 $28.74 $31.01 $41.51
Monthly $3,934 $4,586 $4,981 $5,374 $7,194
Yearly $47,224 $55,052 $59,780 $64,503 $86,347
    Wenatchee Hourly $11.92 $12.18 $12.63 $33.11 $40.32
Monthly $2,066 $2,111 $2,189 $5,738 $6,987
Yearly $24,776 $25,334 $26,263 $68,873 $83,855
    Yakima Hourly $22.71 $29.02 $37.20 $48.63 $62.22
Monthly $3,936 $5,029 $6,447 $8,428 $10,783
Yearly $47,246 $60,368 $77,379 $101,167 $129,426
United States Hourly $19.58 $24.57 $31.41 $41.43 $53.44
Monthly $3,393 $4,258 $5,443 $7,180 $9,261
Yearly $40,720 $51,100 $65,320 $86,170 $111,150

Wages vary among agencies and by area of the country. Wages also vary based on the social service manager's level of education and responsibility.

Most full-time social service managers receive benefits. These include vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. They may also receive a retirement plan.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Social and Community Service Managers (SOC 11-9151)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 5,374 19.8% 16.1% 717
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 168 16.7% 13.4% 21
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 220 28.6% 8.6% 34
    Benton and Franklin Counties 92 22.8% 15.0% 13
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 214 20.6% 11.9% 29
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 425 15.8% 15.2% 52
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 358 16.5% 14.1% 45
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 225 20.4% 14.6% 30
    King County 1,950 18.9% 19.6% 256
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 141 23.4% 13.8% 20
    Pierce County 716 22.9% 15.2% 100
    Snohomish County 683 15.8% 12.4% 85
    Spokane County 371 19.7% 13.9% 49
United States 168,800 13.0% 5.2% 17,800

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will be strong. Several factors will affect growth in social service fields. One is the aging population and its need for services. Another is increasing concern about crime and juvenile delinquency. A third is the continuing need for services for those who are mentally ill, have physical disabilities, or are in need of long-term health care. There is also a growing need for drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Despite the expected growth, government funding determines the number of jobs in this occupation. Funding is likely to be affected by the economy and by the popularity of social programs.

Other resources

Alliance for Children and Families (external link)
1825 K St. N.W.
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
American Public Human Services Association (external link)
1101 Wilson Boulevard, 6th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209
American Society for Public Administration (external link)
1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (external link)
630 Eye Street NW
Washington, DC 20001


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Strong Interest Inventory

Holland occupational cluster