Social and Human Service Assistants Career Description
It is the responsibility of human service assistants to help social workers, health care workers, and other professionals provide services to people. Human service assistants usually work under the direction of workers in fields such as nursing, psychiatry, psychology, rehabilitative or physical therapy, and social work. They provide services to clients in order to help them improve their quality of life. It is their duty to assess clients' needs, investigate eligibility for benefits and services, and help the clients obtain the benefits and services. Human service assistants are also responsible for arranging for transportation for the clients, if needed, and providing emotional support. These assistants have the responsibility of monitoring and keeping case records on clients and report any progress to their supervisors and case managers.
The work environment for this occupation can be both satisfying and emotionally draining. Human service assistants typically work in settings that are understaffed for low pay. Human service assistants may be found in offices, clinics, hospitals, group homes, shelters, sheltered workshops, and day programs. They may need to travel to see clients and most work 40 hours per week. Some assistants work evenings and weekends as well.
Human Service Assistants Employment Outlook and Opportunities
Human service assistants are frequently employed in health care and social assistance industries. Some are employed by State and local governments, mainly in public welfare agencies and facilities for mentally disabled and developmentally challenged individuals.
This occupation is expected to see a 34% increase by 2016 due to the rapid growth in the demand for social and human services. This increase is also the result of many employers increasing their reliance upon human service assistants.
How Much Does a Human Service Assistant make - Human Service Assistant Salaries and Wages
The base salary range for this occupation is from $19,348 to $30,027. The average hourly wage, according to 2007 national averages, is $12.80. Bonuses may range from $8 to $185. The benefits for the average human service assistant, according to the national United States averages for this occupation, are as follows: base salary is $23,536 (64.6%), bonus is $100 (0.3%), Social Security is $1,808 (5.0%), 401k/403b is $851 (2.3%), Disability is $236 (0.6%), healthcare is $5,722 (15.7%), pension is $1,087 (3.0%), and time off is $3,091 (8.5%).
How to Become a Human Service Assistant
Education for Human Service Assistants
Although a Bachelor's degree is not required for this job, most employers prefer applicants with relevant work experience or education beyond high school. Certificates or Associate's degrees in human services, gerontology, one of the social sciences, or one of the behavioral sciences are acceptable to many employers and meet their requirements. However, some jobs may require a Bachelor's or Master's degree in human services or a related field (i.e. counseling, rehabilitation, social work). Human services degree programs train students to observe patients, record information, conduct patient interviews, implement treatment plans, use problem-solving techniques, handle crisis intervention matters, and use proper case management and referral procedures. Human service assistants may be assigned to different kinds of and levels of work based on their level of education.
Other qualifications that may benefit individuals aspiring to become human service assistants include a strong desire to help others, effective communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and time management skills. Patience and understanding are also highly valued qualities in potential candidates.
In order to advance in this occupation, formal education is necessary; a Bachelor's or Master's degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or another related field usually enable and expedite advancements. Possible advancements include case management, rehabilitation, and social work jobs.