What is a TSS?

TSS stands for therapeutic staff support. People in this position work with children and young adults with emotional and mental issues including autism and ADHD as well as mental illnesses. People who work as TSS may have a social work degree.

Job Description

TSS workers may have a private practice or might work for a state social agency. The children they work with generally have a treatment plan in place, and it is the job of the TSS worker to help the children achieve the goals of the treatment plan. The TSS worker needs to build trust with the child. Techniques used to reach these goals may include behavior modification as well as teaching strategies for coping, de-escalation and conflict resolution. They may also work with children on developing social skills. With young adults, a TSS worker might help with finding work and other age-appropriate activities or may help the child access needed resources. TSS staff may meet with a child weekly or several days per week and usually also works with the rest of the child's treatment team, including teachers and counselors, as well as the child's family and any caregivers.

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Becoming a TSS Worker

A social work degree or one that is related, such as a degree in psychology, can help prepare a person to work as therapeutic staff support. This can be an entry-level position for someone with a bachelor's degree. A TSS is not required to be a licensed social worker. However, it may be necessary to get background checks and security screenings, and a TSS may also need to have first aid training. It can help to have experience working with children who have special needs. TSS workers need to be empathetic, communicative and patient as well as having strong problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Depending on how many different children they work with and the environment in which they work, TSS workers may perform a number of different tasks over the course of a workday.

Outlook and Work Conditions

TSS workers might work in a school or another facility, or they may make home visits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in social work are expected to grow much faster than usual in the next decade. Children with certain types of conditions could sometimes have violent emotional outbursts that TSS workers must deal with, and this may be one of the more challenging aspects of the job. TSS workers may meet with any particular child several times a week or less frequently. They may sometimes need to work outside of regular office hours.

TSS workers can become very important figures in children's lives. They may act as mentors to children, and the work can be difficult but rewarding. People may go on from being a TSS worker to getting a master's degree in psychology or social work and continuing to work with a similar population of children in a different capacity. Others may want to remain a therapeutic staff support worker as a long-term career.