Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants help those who help others. They work alongside professionals such as social workers, counselors, and therapists. They take on many roles, such as:

  • Human service workers
  • Case management aides
  • Social work assistants
  • Community support workers
  • Mental health aides
  • Community outreach workers
  • Life skills counselors
  • Social services aides
  • Youth workers
  • Psychological aides
  • Client advocates
  • Gerontology aides

The type of work social and human service assistants do, along with the level of responsibility, varies greatly with the field in which they work, as well as with their level of experience and education.
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This article outlines the job expectations for a social and human service assistant, as well as detailing the education and other requirements needed to become one. This article also covers the 10-year employment outlook and expected yearly earnings.

Job Description
A social and human service assistant’s primary objective is to help individuals who work in psychology, nursing, social work, psychiatry, and other related fields. Job responsibilities vary greatly based on the assistant’s experience and education. Responsibilities can range from filing and setting appointments to taking on clients and managing a group home.

Social and human service assistants can also work directly with clients, if they are qualified to do so. They may help clients find programs and benefits they are qualified to receive, as well as perform client assessments and provide reports to their superiors to help them design treatment and care plans for their clients.

Social and human service assistants work in a variety of settings, from group homes to offices, hospitals, and clinics. An assistant employed by a social worker may travel and conduct home visits, whereas an assistant in a group home will most likely spend most of his or her time in an office setting.

Education and Other Requirements
A minimum of a high school diploma is required. Relevant work or volunteer experience is almost always preferred.

There is usually no minimum higher education requirement to become a social and human service assistant, but for some positions, a bachelor’s or master’s degree is required. Earning a higher degree, even an associate’s, in a related field can greatly increase your chances of finding work and your possibilities of advancement. Very often, the higher the degree the assistant has earned, the higher the level of responsibility and pay.

10-Year Employment Outlook
Job opportunities for social and human service assistants are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations over the next 10 years. Job availability is expected to be excellent, especially for individuals who have earned an advanced degree.

Over 250,000 people work as social and human service assistants across the country. Most of these workers are in the healthcare and social assistance fields, and about a quarter of all assistants work for the government in some form.

Most of the new jobs that will be created over the next 10 years will be in the private social services. Job prospects in the government sector are expected to increase at an average rate.

A social and human service assistant’s income level depends on his or her experience and education level, and on whether he or she works for the government or for a private company. On average, individuals working for the government tend to earn slightly more than those working in the private sector. Here are the projected yearly earning figures for assistants in all fields:

  • Median: $27,000
  • Middle range: $22,000 to $35,000
  • Overall range: $18,000 to $44,000