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Social And Human Service Assistants Career

Career Description

Social and Human Service Assistants help social workers, health care workers, and other professionals to provide services to people.

Common Work Tasks

  • Assess clients’ needs, investigate their eligibility for benefits and services such as food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare, and help to obtain them
  • Arrange for transportation and escorts, if necessary, and provide emotional support
  • Monitor and keep case records on clients and report progress to supervisors and case managers
  • Organize and lead group activities, assist clients in need of counseling or crisis intervention, or administer food banks or emergency fuel programs
  • Assist adults who need supervision with personal hygiene and daily living skills
  • Review clients’ records, ensure that they take their medication, talk with family members, and confer with medical personnel and other caregivers to provide insight into clients’ needs
  • Give emotional support and help clients become involved in community recreation programs and other activities
  • Work with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and others to help clients master everyday living skills, communicate more effectively, and live well with others
  • Support the client’s participation in a treatment plan, such as individual or group counseling or occupational therapy
  • Work under the direction of workers from a variety of fields, such as nursing, psychiatry, psychology, rehabilitative or physical therapy, or social work

Other Job Titles

Social and Human Service Assistants are also known by other titles, including:

  • Human Service Workers
  • Community Outreach Workers
  • Mental Health Aides
  • Life Skills Counselors

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
 
Many employers prefer to hire people with some education beyond high school.  Certificates or associate degrees in subjects such as human services,  gerontology or one of the social or behavioral sciences meet many employers’  requirements. Some jobs may require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human services or a related field, such as counseling, rehabilitation, or social work.

Experience
     
These workers should have a strong desire to help others, effective communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and the ability to manage time effectively.  Many human services jobs involve direct contact with people who are vulnerable to exploitation or mistreatment; so patience and understanding are also highly valued characteristics.

It is becoming more common for employers to require a criminal background check, and in some settings, workers may be required to have a valid driver’s license.

Salary

The median annual salary for a Social and Human Service Assistant is $27,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $43,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $17,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of social and human service assistants are:

  • Individual and Family Services - $26,300
  • Local Government - $33,180
  • State Government - $35,200
  • Residential Mental Retardation, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities - $24,210
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services - $24,760

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  34%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 114,000
  • Employment 2006 : 339,000
  • Employment 2016:  453,000
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