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Career Opportunities

Opportunities for human service workers and assistants are expected to be excellent, particularly for applicants with appropriate postsecondary education. The number of human service workers and assistants is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 1998 and 2008—ranking among the most rapidly growing occupations. The need to replace workers who move into new positions due to advancement, retirement, or for other reasons will create many additional job opportunities. This occupation, however, is not attractive to everyone. It can be draining emotionally and the pay is relatively low. Qualified applicants should have little difficulty finding employment.

  • Social services, except child-care, ranks among the fastest growing industries.
  • About 2 out of 3 jobs are in professional, technical, and service occupations.
  • Human service workers and assistants— the ninth fastest growing occupation— are concentrated in social services.
  • Average earnings are low because of the large number of part-time and low-paying service jobs.

Public assistance programs have been employing more human service workers and assistants in an attempt to employ fewer social workers, who are more educated, thus more highly paid.

Occupation Employment: Nat %change Employment: Mass % change
  1998 2008   1998 2008  
Human Service Worker 268,400 409,900 53% 11,450 16,300 42%
Residential Counselor 189,900 277,800 46% 9,800 13,000 33%

Source: Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training, Research Department

For additional information on trends and wages for human service careers