If you have a strong streak of empathy for others going through hard times along with the ability to make critical decisions, you could have the makings of a case manager.

Also called human service assistants, case managers provide counsel and comfort, helping clients get through difficult emotional or financial obstacles. They help find services and create plans for recovery or treatment. Case managers are conduits to health and human service providers. Many work with social workers, psychologists and other human service professionals, implementing and monitoring progress of treatment plans.

The case manager profession, like most sectors of social services, is for the selfless individual that can see themselves spending the majority of their time helping people deal with stressing transitions. No one looking to own a yacht and drive around in a flashy sports car should apply here. These advocates spend their days speaking with hiring managers, churches and other human authority facilities, filling out paper work and searching for the best resources to help their clients. The job requires people who are patient, organized and communicative. They will work with recovering addicts, the disabled and mentally ill, ex-convicts, the homeless, immigrants and others.

Starting out, a case manager may only need a Bachelor’s or Associate’s. Those that want to move forward and become social workers and counselors will need advanced degrees.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics sees this profession expanding significantly faster than other professions over the next ten years as the growing public seeks out social services.

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