Work in an Adoption Agency: Career Information and Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Some of the staff employed by adoption agencies may provide counseling services to children or families as part of the adoption process. Other adoption agency staff perform administrative tasks. Office managers oversee the staff and documents, as well as the promotion of the agency.

Essential Information

Adoption agencies can help connect children who have been put up for adoption with adoptive families or assist birth parents who are considering adoption. Adoption agencies employ administrative and counseling staff, and whether private or state owned, are required to have state licensure.

Career Social and Community Service Managers Social Worker
Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's sometimes also necessary Bachelor's degree in social work; master's degree and two years of postgraduate work for clinical social workers
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 17% 13%
Median Salary (2020)* $69,600 $51,760

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Adoption Agency Administrative Staff

Adoption agency administrative staff members oversee the operations of the adoption office. Administrative staff includes executive directors, operations directors, administrators and office managers. Managing employees, managing documents, making phone calls and marketing the agencies services are just a few of the job duties required by the staff.


Administrative staff, such as an office manager or administrative assistant, may only need an associate's degree in office management or administration. Higher-level administrative staff positions, such as directors and administrators, require an advanced degree or professional certificate. Common degrees for these higher-level positions include a graduate certificate or master's degree in marriage and family therapy, public health or social work.

Higher-level administrators may also need to be a licensed clinical social worker or marriage and family therapist. State regulations vary regarding licensing for individuals using certain professional titles and for those practicing social work.

Adoption Agency Counseling Staff

The counseling staff at an adoption agency works directly with clients, including the birth parents and adoptive family. Adoption agency counseling staff job titles may include adoption counselor, birthmother advocate, adoption advocate, adoption consultant or hotline counselor.

The main job duties of the counseling staff are to provide support and assist clients with the adoption process. Duties may also include explaining adoption options and how the adoption process works, verifying application information, conducting background checks and approving families to adopt.


An adoption counselor typically needs at least a bachelor's degree in social work, psychology or other area of counseling. Licensing requirements for counselors vary by state and depend upon job title and work location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in most states, using job titles, such as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist or Clinical Social Worker, require passing of a state administered examination (

Career and Salary Information

Staff at adoption agencies work within the larger field of social and community service workers and managers, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations from 2019 to 2029. Social workers are projected to see a 13% increase in jobs, while social and community service managers should see 17% growth. According to the BLS in May 2020, child, family and school social workers made a median salary of $48,430 per year (

Licensed counselors work for adoption agencies to provide counseling services during all stages of the adoption process. They typically have a degree in social work, psychology or a related field, and must be licensed by the state. Social and community service managers need a bachelor's degree in their field, and some employers may require a master's degree.

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