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Social and Community Service Manager: Career and Salary Overview


Social and community service managers oversee organizations focused on community-related issues or public works. These professionals usually need at least a bachelor's degree to find employment. Their jobs typically require them to take on various tasks, including establishing goals for their organizations, and planning and carrying out strategies to meet those goals.

Community service managers also supervise employees, set fundraising targets, and establish outreach efforts, among other responsibilities. These leaders provide services for many different populations, like people experiencing homelessness, children in vulnerable home situations, and veterans. If they work for an organization offering social work services, these professionals might supervise and interact with social workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for social and community service workers reached $67,150 in 2019, though salaries vary considerably depending on location and setting. This guide offers detailed information about the career, including salary figures, workplace settings, and career outlook.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the educational requirements to be a social and community service manager?

Social and community service management professionals typically need at least a bachelor's degree in an area like social work or public health. Employers sometimes prefer job candidates with a master's degree in a similar field. A degree or certificate in leadership can certainly add a boost to a community service manager's job prospects, but is not required.

Where do social and community service managers work?

Social and community service managers can find employment at several different types of community organizations. They commonly work at individual and family services groups, religious or grantmaking organizations, nursing homes, residential facilities, vocational rehabilitation services, or local government agencies.

How long does it take to become a social and community service manager?

A bachelor's degree traditionally takes four years to complete. In addition, these professionals usually need work experience at a community organization before gaining the leadership responsibilities of a manager. They might gain experience as social workers or through working in a similar field. Given these steps, it takes at least five years to earn the role of social and community service director.

Is a social and community service manager a good job?

This is a great job for individuals who want to make a real mark on their communities, shape public programs and policy at the local level, and make decisions that have a tangible influence. The profession also boasts a higher salary than social work roles, which earn a median annual salary of about $50,000, according to the BLS.

Industries and Workplace Settings

Just as social and community service managers lead many different types of organizations, they also work in many industries. Those who work for local government agencies make the most on average, with median annual salaries of $85,550, according to the BLS. Those who work at religious, grantmaking, civic, or professional organizations also earn more than the average community service manager, with median wages of about $70,830.

These professionals can also work for nursing homes and residential care facilities, individual and family services, and community and vocational rehabilitation services. Within these industries, social and community service managers earn median salaries of $60,000-$62,000, according to the BLS.

The salary and career responsibilities may also change based on whether community service directors work at a small or large agency. At large agencies, these professionals often oversee a specific department or program, taking on more specialized tasks. At smaller agencies, they usually manage the entire organization and wear many administrative hats.

Top Paying States for Social and Community Service Managers

Location can make a large difference in employment rates and salary figures. Data from the BLS shows that Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, New Jersey, Colorado, and New York rank as the best-paying states for social and community managers. In Washington, D.C., social and community managers make an annual mean wage of $104,510. These supervisors also command high wages in Rhode Island, where the average salary is almost $95,000.

The states with the highest employment rates of community service directors do not overlap with the best-paying states. They include Vermont, Alaska, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Connecticut. In these states, social and community service managers earn average salaries ranging from $63,290 to $79,160.

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Social and Community Service Managers

Wages and employment opportunities can also vary significantly within states, depending on if an area is categorized as metropolitan or rural. The metropolitan areas with the highest employment rates for community service directors include: Burlington, Vermont; Jefferson City, Missouri; Walla Walla, Washington; Lemoninster-Gardner, Massachusetts, and Waterbury, Connecticut, according to the BLS.

Generally speaking, professionals make more money in metropolitan areas than rural areas, which typically boast a lower cost of living. The best-paying metropolitan areas for social and community service managers are Trenton, New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California; New York; and Denver.

Community service directors in all of these areas earned average annual salaries above $90,0000. In Trenton, where they earned the most, the annual mean wage for social and community service managers reached $93,060.

Salary and Job Growth for Social and Community Service Managers

The BLS projects jobs for social and community managers to grow by 13% between 2018 and 2028, outpacing the national average. As of May 2019, the BLS estimated the median pay for social and community service manager jobs to equal about $67,150, a figure that increased from the previous year’s average of $65,320.

The aging population of the U.S. counts as a major factor contributing to this rapid growth. The U.S. may need an increasing number of social and community services to care for the elderly. The need for services extends to social workers, and the BLS projects a similar increase of 11% in jobs for social workers between 2018 and 2028.

How to Become a Social and Community Service Manager

To obtain the position of social and community service manager, individuals need at least a bachelor's degree and experience in the field. Some employers prefer to hire candidates with master's degrees. Many professionals start their careers by earning a bachelor of social work followed by experience as a social worker.

However, a director of a social or community service organization might take a different pathway to the role. Professionals might study public health, counseling, or public administration and gain experience as health educators, substance abuse counselors, or community organizers.

A bachelor's degree traditionally takes about four years to complete, and a master's degree lasts two years. Professionals can expect to spend at least a year -- and often longer -- working in the field before they can land a leadership position.