Many individuals who who possess a genuine interest in helping others in need often end up choosing a career in social services. These careers may not be very financially rewarding. However, the careers often carry their own unique and valuable perks. Those working in social services often enjoy knowing that they are helping others build a better life for themselves. Take a closer examination into the career of a Social and Human Service Assistant. These professional work in conjunction with other specialists in the same field toward connecting patients/clients with the necessary benefits that could dramatically improve their lives. They ensure clients receive proper treatment and possess the capability to obtain the resources to meet their needs.
Social and Human Service Assistant Job Responsibilities
A Social and Human Service Assistant often wears many ‘hats’ in terms of day-to-day job responsibilities. These professionals work with many types of people. Some Assistants work in homes with elderly people who require assistance in everyday tasks such as taking a bath or eating a meal. Other Assistants handle cases of children who require assistance from abusive home situations, placement in foster care, or whose families need help in accessing resources such as daycare and food stamps. Other professionals help individuals with disability lead dignified lives despite the clients’ physical and/or mental disability. Still, others work toward the social and professional integration of people who formally suffered from substance abuse, prison system inmates, immigrants, or veterans. Finally, Social and Human Service Assistants help people experiencing homelessness find shelter and assistance.
These varied job responsibilities increase the difficulty of adequately describing a typical workday of an average Social and Human Service Assistant in a single paragraph. By and large, these Assistants work under the direction of social workers, psychologists, or other professionals in the social service field. They assist other professionals in developing treatment plans. Assistants also provide help with daily client activities, assist clients in accessing resources (such as healthcare or nourishment), assist clients in applying for said aid, determine whether or not clients are eligible for assistance, and coordinate further services to these clients. In a way, they fulfill certain overlaps of the typical (and more mundane) work of a social worker, addiction counselor, or similar professional.
Social and Human Service Assistant Training and Education Requirements
Most employers seeking Social and Human Service Assistants only require their interview candidates hold a high school diploma. However, some prefer hiring employees with secondary education (such as an associate’s degree) and previous, relevant work experience. If you wish to further your education in order to become a Social and Human Service Assistant, you should look into specialized majors such as Human Services, Gerontology, Behavioral Studies, or the Social Sciences. You could also obtain an bachelor’s degree in Social Work. This major will likely teach you how to monitor and interview patients, implement treatments, and deal with patient crises. Social Work programs often provide hands-on experience in the form of an internship through a real-life employer.
An entry level Assistant’s job responsibilities depend on his or her level of education. Employers typically assign coordination and management duties (such as overseeing treatment plans) to employees with higher education beyond a high school diploma. While professional certificates are not required in this profession, the Assistant will likely receive on-the-job training – especially if he or she only holds a high school diploma. This training is necessary because the job will require that you deal with very different types of people from varied backgrounds. The job also requires that you respond to crisis scenarios.
Social and Human Service Assistant Salaries and Wages
The social services field notoriously pays low wages. Unfortunately, the trend of low wages also continues with Social and Human Service Assistants. In May 2012, the BLS reported the Social and Human Service Assistant median yearly wage as $28,850* That figure amounts to an hourly wage of $13.87. This rate falls far below the median salary average across all occupations (which currently stands at $16.71 per hour). We also wish to note that the average median hourly wage for all community and social service professions ($19.42) exceeded the median hourly wages for Social and Human Service Assistants.
The top ten percent of all earners among Social and Human Service Assistants earn an average income over $22.16 per hour. Meanwhile, the bottom ten percent earn less than $9.34 per hour. Of course, some industries pay better than others. Even the median hourly wage for the top paying industry (state and local governments at $16.57 per hour) pays below the average median wage across occupations in the U.S. Other top paying fields for Social and Human Service Assistants include civic, religious, and similar organizations ($14.77 per hour); individual and family services ($13.67 per hour); community and vocational rehabilitation services ($12.49 per hour); and residential care ($11.98 per hour). Social and Human Service Assistants often work long, unpredictable hours. These hours typically include nights, holidays, and weekends. Many of them also face dangerous or otherwise difficult conditions on the job since they work clients recovering from addiction, patients who suffered from abuse, and so on.
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Social and Human Service Assistant Outlook
The government expects that the Social and Human Service Assistant career track will grow rapidly between the years of 2012 through 2022. They expect that the rate of growth for this position will occur at a faster pace than the national average for all occupations throughout the U.S. (which currently stands at 11 percent). The projected growth rate for these Assistants currently sits at 22 percent* and is being determined by several factors. The growing population of elderly serves as a chief factor in this growth rate. As baby boomers grow old and exit the work force, more and more of them require social assistance such as meal delivery and daycare services. Furthermore, current policies regarding the reintegration of people suffering from drug addiction favor treatment and social care over incarceration. These patients also prompt a heightened need for social assistance. Additionally, an increase in war veterans require assistance. The BLS data expects the field to add roughly 81,200 new jobs by 2022.
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/