Social and Human Services Assistant: Education and Career Information
If you are socially conscious and want to make a definitive impact while helping others, a social and human services assistant may be a good career choice. This job is also called a case management aide, social work assistant and human service assistant. They are supervised by social workers and other management professionals in the social services field. One of the advantages of this position is that the education requirements are not as stringent, and can be a stepping stone for the transition into a social worker role.
What does a Social and Human Services Assistant Do?
This profession is a support system for health care workers, social workers and professionals who provide social and human services to others. They assist clients in getting social services, train clients in cooking and daily living skills, assist in finding employment, can arrange transportation, and works with social workers to discuss client progress and maintain records.
The social and human services assistants are the first point of contact for individuals who need assistance. They know where to find the resources to support clients and work in conjunction with social workers to get state and federal benefits that clients need. They are adept at conducting interviews with individuals or family members to determine which services would be best, and also meets with youth groups to provide information on the consequences of delinquent behavior.
How much does a Social and Human Services Assistant earn?
The pay for a social and human services assistant varies based on location, agency, the amount of experience the person has, and education level. The median average pay in 2012 was $28,850 per year, on the low end, up to $34,500 as a midpoint, and the high earners made up to $43,500. The job outlook is very promising, with a projected increase in the field of 23% through 2018.
What types of skills are required to be a Social and Human Services Assistant?
There are a number of skills required to be a social and human services assistant:
Customer Service: Because this is a position where there is quite a bit of interaction with clientele, there must be a high level of customer service background skills, including empathy, patience, perseverance and a willingness to go the extra mile.
Research: Research is needed to find the resources and services that would work best for each individual client or family. This research extends beyond the norm to provide personalized service that will assist and strengthen daily living.
Planning: This position requires a high degree of planning, especially when working with social service workers. Planning the social services of a high number of clients requires proper planning and attention to detail.
Organization: There must be strong organizational skills present to make sure no paperwork is lost and all the information gets to the social workers for processing in a timely manner. Organization is also needed to properly direct clients to the right resources that will assist them.
Interviewing skills: This position must have thorough interviewing skills to extract all the information needed from the clients so they can be directed to the correct area that can assist them. This position requires the skill of information gathering, and going beyond the surface to make sure every resource is identified and challenge addressed.
Communication: This person must be able to clearly communicate all the needs of the clients to the social workers and management professionals, as well as when dealing with the public whether in public speaking, writing correspondence, or conducting trainings and workshops.
This is a position that holds a high level of responsibility in maintaining client files, keeping their information confidential and in assessing needs and being able to convey those needs to others in the organization that can assist. This individual should keep up with social issues going on in the local areas to be aware of any events or circumstances that may promote an influx of individuals and families that may need assistance due to tragedies or unforeseen circumstances. This proactive behavior works well in showing initiative and a willingness to help others.
There are two internships in Human Services Programs when obtaining an Associate’s degree or College Credit Certification. These internships vary per program.
There are Associate of Science degree in Human Services programs available for those individuals wanting to pursue a career as a social and human services assistant. These programs prepare students to function effectively in different settings of community agencies, youth services programs, rehabilitation facilities, and psychology related areas.
If realized early on, individuals can take psychology in high school, volunteer to be a peer counselor and work as a volunteer or intern at social service agencies to get some experience in the field.
The Associate of Science degree program usually has two tracks, which consists of Associate of Science Generalist Track to prepare students for entry level positions in human services, and the Associate of Science Addiction track, which prepares students for entry level positions in human services associated with addiction and alcoholism programs. Although most programs are not accredited, students who complete the program are still eligible to sit for the Human Services Board Certified Practitioner Exam after 3 years of work experience and 4,500 hours.
The College Credit Certification is available in Addiction Studies, Human Services Assistant and Youth Development.
This career path is a great way to determine whether or not future advanced study is warranted to become a full-fledged social worker. There are a number of organizations that employ social and human services assistants that will be rewarding and beneficial to both the individual and the clients receiving the services.