TSS Worker Job Description
The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is certainly applicable when it comes to therapeutic services. Therapeutic support staff (TSS) workers often work in conjunction with counselors, teachers, medical professionals, and others to provide various services to children with behavioral or social issues that affect their functioning in schools and other environments. They assess children, assist in developing and carrying out individualized treatment plans, and maintain progress reports and records. TSS workers mainly work for schools, community centers, or mental health clinics. They work full- or part-time, depending on the employer. In full-time roles, TSS workers usually enjoy health benefits, paid time off, vacations, and participation in 401K programs.
TSS Worker Duties and Responsibilities
While TSS workers’ day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Observe and Assess At-risk Children
It falls to TSS workers to begin the intervention process for children in academic settings. They might observe children in the classroom, note behavioral deviances, and work with teachers, administrators, doctors, and others involved in the care of the student to make suggestions for behavioral intervention strategies.
Apply Treatment Plans
Once a treatment plan has been established, TSS workers apply the methods outlined in the plan. They reinforce positive behavior, provide emotional support, and implement activities to redirect behaviors as necessary. This could include working with a child, not only in school, but in the child’s home and clinical setting as well.
Monitor and Report on Progress
TSS workers write weekly or bi-weekly reports indicating where a student has improved and areas that still need support and intervention. They attend meetings with teachers, parents, social workers, and others to address ongoing issues and make changes to interventions as needed.
Provide Crisis Intervention
Though most sessions are conducted in pre-scheduled settings, TSS workers respond to crises when required. Immediate disruptive behaviors in a classroom or changes in the home that spark behavioral changes could call for an immediate response from TSS workers who apply appropriate methods in these situations.
TSS Worker Skills and Qualifications
Patient individuals able to respond to often-stressful situations make successful TSS workers. After reviewing online job postings, we found that many employers prefer candidates who display the following skills/abilities:
- Mentoring skills – TSS workers mentor children, helping them build self-esteem, confidence, and social skills, and assisting them in managing behavioral outbursts and improving their success in and outside of the classroom
- Counseling skills – to achieve positive results for students with behavioral disorders
- Goal setting – to help students with behavioral issues set and reach goals
- Communication – to speak with children and other professionals and produce clearly-written and detailed progress reports and intervention plans
- Interpersonal skills – a strong, outgoing personality is most effective for TSS workers
- Problem-solving – to devise activities and methods that address different types of behavioral issues
- Creativity – to develop activities such as games or role-playing to assist children in overcoming behavioral issues
- Analytical skills – to observe and analyze a child’s behavior in various situations
TSS Worker Education and Training
Employers of TSS workers commonly require job candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree in an area of social sciences or human services, such as psychology, social work, counseling, education, or sociology. Experience in crisis intervention is helpful. Registered behavior technician training and credentials are also helpful.
TSS Worker Salary
According to the most recent information provided by PayScale.com, the average yearly salary for a TSS worker is just over $28,000. This translates into an hourly median wage of about $13.50.
Counselors such as TSS workers employed in elementary and secondary schools earn an average annual wage of about $65,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. Those working in areas of individual and family services earn close to $42,000 annually.
The overall employment growth rate for all counselors, which includes those addressing behavioral disorders, is reported by the BLS to be 23 percent through 2026. A 16 percent job growth rate is indicated for counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists.
If you wish to learn more about a career as a TSS worker, review the resources provided below. We’ve listed links to books, professional organizations, and more:
American School Counselor Association (ASCA) – TSS workers can find plenty of benefits in what ASCA offers—from professional development workshops and webinars to networking and links to reputable magazines and publications in this field.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in K-12 School Settings: A Practitioner’s Toolkit – Review intervention methods used by counselors and social workers. Get details about how TSS workers apply the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) method. Understand how therapies work in school settings. A detailed, informative book for both beginning and experienced TSS workers and others in similar occupations.
Psychotherapy.net – A site that offers links to articles, blogs, training videos, interviews, continuing education materials, and more. TSS workers can learn about therapeutic approaches, clinical practices, and integrative behavioral health information.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) – From conferences to continuing education opportunities, NASW, founded in 1955, provides professional support and networking to TSS workers and many others involved in the social work field.
Beck Institute Blog – Directed toward all types of behavioral therapists, this blog offers insightful articles into the applications of CBT, best practices, and more.
“Tips from a TSS (Therapeutic Staff Support) Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum” – This article provides a brief overview of what TSS workers do: how they set goals and communicate with children with autism spectrum disorder.
Behavioral Interventions in Schools: Evidence-Based Positive Strategies (School Psychology Book Series) – Beneficial for all school-based employees, from TSS workers to school administrators and teachers, this book explores assessment, intervention, and prevention strategies for dealing with behavioral issues in academic settings.
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