A group of Community Services Worker students at Herzing College Ottawa
What will your life look like after community services worker (CSW) training? Where will you work, and who will you work with?
This is, obviously, a key question for anyone considering a career in community services.
Our goal in this post is to give you a clearer idea of your options and opportunities as a freshly graduated CSW.
Every CSW position we talk about here focuses on helping people improve their lives through education, compassion, and access to expert support. Each of these career paths is inspiring and rewarding in its own way.
Being a CSW is all about making our communities safer and healthier, and ensuring everyone has access to the services and help they deserve.
Which path should you choose?
It all depends on the kind of social work you're interested in.
Which topics interested you most during CSW training? What kind of work environment are you looking for? Is there a particular group in society you'd like to serve?
Let's take a look at 4 very popular job options for community services workers. These are career paths we've seen our own grads take over the years—and one of them could be perfect for you.
1. Working with Adults Who Need Specialized Care & Support
Working with adults as a community services worker means supporting and assisting people who are dealing with major life challenges—like homelessness, mental health issues, unemployment, poverty, and domestic abuse.
You could be employed at a shelter (such as the Shepherds of Good Hope in Ottawa), in a residential care centre (like Bairn Croft Residential Services Inc.), or with a day program (like the Carling Adult Day Program in Ottawa).
You could help women escape and recover from abusive relationships, provide employment and life-skills coaching, find safe housing for adults living on the streets, or simply provide companionship and social activities for seniors who need specialized care.
Some CSWs work as gerontology aides, and specialize in assisting seniors who need ongoing support.
There are many options within this broad field.
Many of our CSW graduates have found employment at the organizations listed above - or with similar programs and services in the Ottawa area.
After training, you can explore different adult-focussed CSW positions to find just the right fit for your talents and goals.
2. Supporting At-risk Youth & Children With Special Needs
Do you feel inspired to work with young people who are going through difficult life challenges? You could specialize in youth work after community services training.
Youth workers are employed at community centres and residential care facilities that specialize in supporting at-risk young people.
Terrace Residential Services (located in Ottawa and Toronto) is a good example.
Terrace runs short-term and long-term stay residential programs for at-risk youth. They focus on young people aged 7-18, who are struggling with mental health issues, aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts or actions, or intellectual disabilities.
Terrace also works with children who have suffered child abuse, or other forms of trauma related to family violence and disruption.
They offer a wide range of services, including:
- therapeutic programs
- crisis intervention
- counselling and life-skills coaching
- academic support
- foster care
- activities that promote physical health and connection with the local community—like rock-climbing, trips to the park, gym and pool, camping, volunteer work, and winter sports
As a community services worker, you would help to deliver these programs, ensuring each child stays on track with their individual "plan of care."
You'll follow their progress, and use the knowledge and skills learned in CSW training to offer specialized support to each young person you work with.
We've had several students go on to work with Terrace Residential Services in Ottawa, after earning their CSW diploma at Herzing.
3. Working at a Detoxification Centre
Community services worker training includes addiction counselling, so if this feels like your calling, you'll be prepared for work at a detox centre (or program) after college.
CSWs help intake and interview new clients, provide counselling, addiction education, and support services for family members.
Ottawa offers a range of addiction treatment and rehabilitation facilities, each with their own approach, range of services, and target audience.
For example, there's Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services, which offers addiction counselling to adults and youth, and the families of people struggling with substance abuse and/or gambling.
There are programs just for women, like the Amethyst Women's Addiction Centre, which offers treatment, health and wellness, and awareness education for women aged 18 and over.
And there are all-male detox programs, like Sobriety House, which offers residential addiction treatment for adult men. They offer intervention services, after-care, and housing for program participants.
As a drug abuse counsellor, you'll find options to specialize in youth treatment, opportunities to work with the LGBTQ community, with seniors, and other ways to tailor your career in addiction therapy and recovery.
4. Working at a Halfway House
Halfway houses exist to help eligible ex-offenders transition safely back into their communities. They're designed to support people who have completed a prison sentence or qualified for parole, and need help getting their lives back on track.
Before getting admitted to a halfway house, ex-offenders have to meet certain criteria.
The intake team looks at their criminal history, how they behaved while in prison, and whether they've made positive changes while serving out their sentence.
And once an ex-offender is admitted to a halfway house, they must follow strict rules, or risk being sent back to prison.
What's your role as a CSW at a halfway house? You'll help evaluate and admit new residents, and help deliver a range of programs, including:
- addiction counselling
- job search and employment support
- life skills coaching
- finding safe, permanent housing for residents, within the local community
If you're passionate about making sure deserving people get a second chance at life, working at a halfway house could be your ideal path after community services worker training.
Getting started with CSW training
Are you seriously considering becoming a Community Services Worker? Your next step is to speak with Admissions. An Admissions Advisor will explain courses, how to apply, tuition costs, financial aid, and more.
Chat live with an Advisor now. Or click below to explore the program in more detail. We're here to help!