3 minute read

Social and Human Service Assistants Job Description, Career as a Social and Human Service Assistants, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High school

Salary: Median— $25,580 per year

Employment Outlook: Very Good

The fundamental responsibility of social and human service assistants is helping healthcare and social workers provide services to clients. They primarily look after the needs of clients, assess their eligibility for various health care services and benefits, and inform clients of benefits available to them.

Social and human service assistants have various job titles like human service workers, life skills counselors, community support workers, social work assistants, or mental health aides. Depending on their field of specialization, social and human service assistants are involved in facilities like psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, government-supported housing programs, halfway houses, rehabilitation programs, and community recreation programs.

The job responsibilities of social and human service assistants vary from one place of work to the other. In some organizations, one may be under the supervision of a doctor, nurse, or therapist, while in other places, there may be little or no direct supervision. On similar lines, those employed in rehabilitative centers have to look after the personal hygiene of patients, whereas those working for community programs provide emotional support to patients and help them get involved in the community.

Education and Training Requirements

To enter this profession, one should possess at least a high school education. However, most employers today prefer candidates with an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, or relevant work experience. A number of colleges and universities offer degree programs in human services. These programs revolve around teaching students the right procedures for interviewing and observing patients, as well as recording necessary information, implementing treatment plans, and handling crisis situations. One can also opt for courses that offer hands-on experience. In addition, several specialized programs are available that deal with sensitive issues like child protection, addiction, and gerontology.

Getting the Job

Those interested in pursuing the profession can find information about suitable job openings in state employment service offices. Often, the health and human resources departments at the city and county level can assist applicants in finding positions. A lot of private organizations list their job openings on their website or in job portals. One can also check out the classified advertisements in newspapers for similar jobs.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

In order to advance in the profession, it is extremely important for a social and human service assistant to have formal education. Even though most entry-level jobs do not require more than a high school degree, it is beneficial to opt for a bachelor’s or a master’s program in fields related to counseling, human services, social work, or rehabilitation.

In fact, the work profile of a social and human service assistant is influenced to a large extent by his/her educational background. For instance, those with just high school education are likely to be assigned duties like completing paperwork. On the other hand, social and human service assistants having a college degree might be involved in managing group homes, providing counseling, and coordinating program activities.

The job prospects for social and human service assistants are extremely lucrative in the current scenario. The job market is expected to see an increase of around 34% in the coming decade. The best employment opportunities will be available to those with appropriate education beyond high school level.

Working Conditions

Social and human service assistants may be employed in the government, health care facilities, rehabilitation, and family services centers. Hence, their working conditions vary as dictated by their place of employment. They may work in clinics, offices, group homes, shelters, workshops, or hospitals. Social and human service assistants generally work 40 hours per week, but they may have to travel frequently in order to visit clients.

Where to Go for More Information

Council for Standards in Human Services Education
PMB 703, 1050 Larrabee Avenue, Suite 104
Bellingham, WA 98225-7367

National Organization for Human Services
90 Madison Street, Suite 206
Denver, CO 80206

Corporation for National and Community Service
1201 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20525

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Earnings and Benefits

According to research conducted in May 2006, the median yearly salary of social and human service assistants was $25,580. Those employed in the local government earned about $30,510 on a yearly basis, while those working for residential substance abuse and mental health care facilities earned $22,380 per annum.

Social and human service assistants are offered benefits ranging from paid leave and vacations to insurance and retirement plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service