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The Disability Services Industry

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The United States Department of Health and Human Services reports that there are approximately 54 million people living with disabilities in the U.S.1.  Many of these individuals with disabilities need an infrastructure of personalized support to lead fulfilling lives.  In addition, with the proper support system, people with disabilities contribute to the diversity and vitality of their communities.

The development of a useful support system for these individuals has been a magnificent project in terms of altruism and scope. In addition to creating a better world for people with disabilities, the Disability Services industry has created hundreds of thousands of jobs and a work environment full of individuals with similar interests and good will.

Disability Service careers can be divided into two categories:

Disability Service Categories

The first category includes people who provide habilitation care, such as helping people with disabilities at home, in assisted living communities, or hospitals with their daily living tasks.

The second category is comprised of individuals who serve as Social Workers.  Social Workers in the Disability Services field fill many different areas of employment.  For example, some Social Workers assess needs and develop care plans for clients, others serve as policy reformers and advocate for improved disability services, while some provide psychosocial support to people with disabilities and their families.

Both categories allow for career advancement and increased professional responsibility.  For example, opportunities for upper-level management, as well as consulting positions, are available to those who qualify.  In addition, it is possible to have a career in one area and transition into another. 

Obtaining the appropriate education allows for the best employment opportunities for a career in Disability Services.  Many habilitation aide positions require nursing degrees, and it is necessary to at least have a Bachelors degree in psychology, social work, or a related field to work as a social worker. Many social work positions also require a Masters or PhD in social work or psychology.  By obtaining a degree, employees can advance their professional standing and gain the opportunity to play a larger role in improving the lives of people with disabilities (other bonuses include increased salaries and job flexibility). However, if you do not see yourself pursuing more education, there is still an opportunity to work in Disability Services.

People who enjoy working with disabled populations generally excel in working one on one with others and providing support to at-need populations.  Habilitation Aides and Social Workers report great satisfaction in providing the services necessary for individuals with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives.

If you have the desire to improve people’s lives through individualized care and support, a career in Disability Services may be for you.

Find out how you can become involved, request information from schools offering Psychology degree programs. Also, learn more about the psychology career licensing processes and what the requirements for licensure are: psychology career licensure.

Resources:
1U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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Winthrop University is a public, comprehensive university located just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
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At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Founded in 1821 in Chester, Pennsylvania, Widener is nationally recognized for our commitment to civic engagement, service, and social responsibility. It is our goal to develop true leaders who inspire positive change throughout our community.
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