A social welfare administrator is an integral part of any social services program or organization. These are the professionals who plan, direct, and then coordinate the activities of any social services program or project within a region. They are also the administrators in charge of overseeing all aspects of the program, including budgeting, volunteers, potential benefits and pitfalls of the program, hiring staff, collaborating with team members, and more. They work in a variety of settings, including in the private, public and government sector, and are instrumental in providing legislators and nonprofit organizations with the information needed in order to successfully roll out any program designed for the benefit of the community. While social welfare administration is a challenging career, it is also rewarding for those who choose to pursue this path.
A social welfare administrator is also known as a social and community services manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals can expect an average salary of $64,680.
Payscale reports that social welfare administrators earn an entry-level salary of roughly $43,000. Professionals who choose to work in major cities earn more while those who work in rural areas earn less but live in areas with a lower cost of living.
A social welfare administrator has many key responsibilities, most of them focusing on analyzing and solving problems that arise in the social services programs they oversee. They are the leaders, meaning they establish and oversee all procedures and policies for their department, including human resources, new strategies for implementing services, maintaining records, and more. They are also responsible for collaborating with other programs and organizations, often working as a liaison when discussing new programs. They help with fundraising efforts and giving talks to the public about their work as well as take care of administrative tasks, such as planning and administering budgets.
Social welfare administration is a profession that requires both an analytical and personable candidate; to this end, the necessary skills required are numerous. Administrators are required to have critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills in order to complete the tasks of their day-to-day tasks. They are also required to be able to speak to not only their team but the public as well. This means they must have interpersonal, communication, and judgment skills in order to be successful in their careers. These professionals must also have excellent time management and organizational skills so they can keep up with the demands of overseeing a department and must be able to delegate tasks as needed.
Degree and Education Requirements
Social welfare administration work requires, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Many professionals in this field earn a Bachelor's in Social Work, although public health, public policy, and health services are also alternative majors. Students often take a minor in management in order to supplement their education at the undergraduate. While it is possible to gain employment as an administrator in this field without a graduate degree, most employers now require a master's degree in social work; again, other fields, such as public policy, administration, or social services will also be considered. This is because advanced education offers employers the chance to hire candidates who demonstrate an advanced understanding of social services. Most employment opportunities for social welfare administrators require a graduate degree in social work, so professionals interested in this job position will need to consider going back to school if they do not have a master's degree.
Rewards and Challenges
There are several rewards associated with working as a social welfare administrator, none more evident than the work itself is meaningful. These administrators often work to build better lives for their communities, adding to the feeling of satisfaction and feeling of doing something good to help people. Many professionals in this field are also rewarded with support from co-workers and superiors, who work together as a team to ensure projects and programs run smoothly. Some of the challenges include working overtime or on weekends when the need arises, which can lead to a stressful work experience. Sometimes administrators are tasked with conflicting demands and a rapid work tempo, requiring them to switch from task to task without properly completing any task. New strategies, which could help increase efficiency and lower stress, are also not always implemented for the sake of traditional methods, leaving some administrators to feel as though their concerns are not always heard.