Service coordinators across the U.S. provide assistance and aid for more than one million people who have special needs, live in low-income housing or are economically challenged seniors, according to the American Association of Service Coordinators. If you're considering a career in service coordination, taking classes at a college that offers a degree or concentration in social work -- or a similar social services area -- is a must when it comes to your professional training.
Concentration of Classes
Unlike nursing, teaching or pharmacy, service coordination isn't always a major in itself. While you might not find a "service coordinator" degree, you will find academic programs that provide the classes necessary to tackle this type of job. Service coordination requires professionals to understand the social welfare system and have a knowledge of social services practices -- including mental or behavioral health, human development, aging and communicating with a diverse clientele. That said, taking classes in a social work or social services program provides the types of course work that is necessary to find an entry-level job in the service coordination field.
If you're looking to fast-track your service coordination career, and are looking to find an entry-level or assisting type of job, community colleges often offer social services or social work degrees that students can complete in two years or under. these certificate, diploma or associate degrees provide basics that will help the budding professional to navigate the social services system. For example, Capital Community College's Associate in Science of social services includes courses in local and state government, social welfare, psychology, sociology, social issues and community organization.
A four-year bachelor's degree in social work -- or a similar discipline -- can provide you with the opportunity to learn about service coordination principles, theory and practice. A bachelor's degree provides more training in service coordination and social services than an associate degree does, meaning you are more likely to land a job with a greater degree of responsibility or in a managerial or leadership role. Additionally, a bachelor's degree typically includes hands-on practice in social services or service coordination. For example, the University of Texas at Austin's bachelor's in social work includes courses in social welfare policy, social work practice, government, cultural diversity and social justice along with a 480-hour field practicum at a social services agency.
Practicing service coordination at a high or management level may require a graduate degree. A master's in social work or services provides students with focused course work in one specific area of care coordination. While a bachelor's degree offers a generalist perspective, a master's includes a focus in one area -- such as geriatric care, community organizations or youth and families. For example, the University of Pittsburgh offers a Master of Social Work with a concentration in community organizations and social administration. this type of graduate-level degree includes courses in social administration, urban environments, public policy, community organizations, leadership and teams, community planning and a hands-on field placement with a social services agency.
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.