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How to Become Social and Human Service Assistant

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Social and human service assistants work in various settings, including schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, prisons, or community organizations. They support people with disabilities or those struggling with addiction or other disadvantages. Read on to learn what it takes to become a social and human service assistant.

What is a Social and Human Service Assistant?

A social and human service assistant is an individual who provides support to clients with various needs. The main goal is to help people in need improve their quality of life.

This profession requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a community college or university. In addition, you should have strong communication skills and sound decision-making ability. Furthermore, it’s essential to be patient and compassionate.

What Do Social and Human Service Assistants Do?

Social and human service assistants help clients in various ways. These professionals offer support during recovery rehab or assist individuals in becoming more independent.

The primary responsibilities include:

  • Assist people who need healthcare services
  • Teach individuals how to live independently
  • Work on community projects
  • Supervisee other staff members at social agencies
  • Advocate for individual rights/concerns when necessary
  • Participate in meetings with outside organizations that assist families or individuals they serve

Other duties include administrative tasks such as completing paperwork related to the client’s file or consulting with supervisors about specific issues involving cases.

How to Become a Social and Human Service Assistant: A Step-by-Step Guide

This guide discusses how to become a social and health care administrator, including information about education and training, licensure and certification requirements, salary expectations, and career paths.

Education for a Social and Human Service Assistant

Social and human service assistants typically have a high school diploma or the equivalent. They don’t have to attend college. Some employers will offer formal training for employees needing additional instruction.

However, earning an Associate degree of the Arts in Social Work (AASW) through a two-year program will increase your career potential.

Part-time study options are available if you want to pursue your education while employed full-time as a social worker assistant. Such programs allow students to continue working while earning credit at night or on weekends instead of traditional weekday classes.

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Social and Human Service Assistant On-The-Job Training

Social and human service assistants without any postsecondary education generally go through a brief training period on the job. Subject areas include case management and racial equality. Because you will work with clients from varied backgrounds, social justice instruction will help you react appropriately to your clients’ different demands and situations.

Licensure and Certification

There are no licensure or certification requirements specifically for social and human service assistants. However, many employers prefer to hire those with credentials in the social work field.

Career Path for a Social and Human Service Assistant

Social and human service assistants can prepare for a variety of career paths in the following ways:

  • Gain experience in the field
  • Build your resume with volunteer work or internships
  • Take advantage of professional development such as workshops or seminars

You may want to consider becoming an administrator in this profession if you’re interested in supervising other social workers and supporting administrative tasks within your organization. Becoming an administrator could be advantageous since there is a growing demand for qualified leaders in today’s social worker labor force.

What Skills Do Social and Human Service Assistants Need?

Social and human service assistants need various skills to do their job. They need to communicate with people, work well with others, and be patient. In addition, social and human service assistants need to have good problem-solving skills. They also need strong organizational skills to keep track of their different cases. Finally, they should be compassionate and caring individuals who want to help others.

Communication Skills

Social and human service assistants need to communicate effectively with the people they are helping. They need to be able to listen carefully, understand what the person is saying, and respond in a way that makes them feel understood. In addition, they need to be good writers because they often have to write reports about the cases they are working on.

Interpersonal Skills

Social and human service assistants work with other people all day long. They need to get along well with others, both co-workers and clients. This skill includes being patient and understanding when someone is upset or having a tough day.

Problem-Solving Skills

Social and human service assistants often have to solve problems quickly throughout the day. They need to think fast and enact solutions that will help their client.

Organizational Skills

Social and human service assistants need strong organizational skills to manage their caseloads.

Compassionate and Caring

The essential skill for social and human service assistants is compassion. They need to be caring individuals who want to help others. Being caring includes being patient and understanding when someone is going through a difficult time.

Good Time Management Skills

Social and human service assistants often have a lot of work to do every day. They need to manage their time well.

Social and Human Service Assistant Education Requirements

To become a social and human service assistant, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, many employers may prefer if an applicant has some form of postsecondary education in the social service field.

Opportunities for Advancement as a Social and Human Service Assistant

Additional training is typically required for social and human service assistants to move ahead. In general, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or a related field is required to enter case management or social work occupations.

Degrees to Advance your Career in the Social Work Field

Many degrees may benefit you as you advance in your career. Some to consider are:

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

The BSW degree is the most common qualification for social work positions. The curriculum of a BSW program typically includes coursework in human behavior, social welfare policy, and practice methods. In addition, many programs offer field education experiences that provide students with supervised hands-on training in social work settings.

BSW programs prepare graduates to work in various social work settings, including child welfare, mental health, and aging services. They may also be eligible for licensure as social workers. A BSW degree can also lead to case management, program coordination, or community outreach careers.

Bachelor’s degrees in related areas such as psychology, sociology, or human services can also be helpful for some positions. A bachelor’s degree in these areas provides students with a broad understanding of the social service system. It may offer more general knowledge than a BSW program.

Related Resource: Top 7 Online Bachelor’s in Social Work

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Master of Social Work (MSW)

An MSW degree provides graduates with advanced knowledge, technical skills, and the opportunity to develop expertise in a specialized area.

The curriculum of an MSW program typically includes coursework in macro practice theory, micro practice theory, research methods, policy analysis, social work values/ethics, community organizing practices for individuals and communities affected by oppression, and human diversity. Field experience is a crucial component of MSW programs. And many schools offer students the opportunity to specialize in an area such as aging services, child welfare, mental health, or substance abuse.

MSW programs prepare graduates for various social work positions, including clinical social work, case management, program administration, and social work teaching. A master’s degree in social work is the minimum requirement for many advanced social worker positions and eligibility for licensure as a clinical social worker.

Related Resource: How to Become a Social Worker with Online MSW Programs

Applied Behavioral Science Degree

An Applied Behavioral Science degree can also be beneficial when seeking a career in the social work field. This degree provides students with an understanding of the principles of human behavior and how to apply these principles in practical settings. Coursework may include child development, abnormal psychology, motivational theory, and therapeutic interventions.

This degree can be completed in as few as two years and is typically less expensive than a social work degree.

Sociology Degree

Sociology is a broad field that provides students with the knowledge and skills to understand human behavior in a social context. This degree can also be helpful when seeking employment in the social service field. A sociology degree can also lead to careers in case management, program coordination, research, or community organization.

Coursework in a sociology program may include topics such as:

  • Community problems
  • Social institutions
  • Culture and society
  • Political structures and processes
  • Race relations
  • Gender dynamics
  • Poverty and welfare systems

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Psychology Degree

A psychology degree can lead to a case manager, program coordinator, research assistant, or community organizer.

Coursework in this area may include topics such as:

  • Human growth and development
  • Motivation
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Emotion theory
  • Psychological disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders)
  • Psychological testing and assessment techniques used by psychologists
  • Therapeutic interventions

A psychology degree can be completed in as few as two years and is typically less expensive than a social work degree.

Related Resource: Best Jobs for Psychology Majors

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Social Service Administration Degree for A Social and Human Service Assistant

Social service administration is a broad field that provides students with skills to assist individuals and communities in meeting their basic needs.

Coursework of this area may include topics such as:

  • The social welfare system
  • Poverty and public assistance programs
  • Community organizing practices for individuals and groups
  • Psychology of group dynamics
  • Problems affecting deprived populations (e.g., homelessness, substance abuse, unemployment)
  • Social research methods, and
  • Policy analysis.

This degree can be completed in as few as two years and is typically less expensive than a clinical social work or MSW degree.

Public Health Degree with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences

A public health degree concentrating in social and behavioral sciences can lead to a career as a case manager, program coordinator, research assistant, or community organizer.

Coursework of this area may include topics such as:

  • The political environment affecting local communities
  • Human behavior theory (e.g., motivation)
  • Economics
  • Nonprofit management strategies for promoting personal wellness and social justice
  • Public health policy

This type of degree can be completed in two years or less, making it an excellent option for those interested in healthcare and the social service field.

Helpful Certifications for a Social and Human Service Assistant to Have

There are quite a few certifications you can get to help you either land a position as a social and human service assistant or advance your career. Depending on the state in which you reside, you may be required to have one of the following certifications.

Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)

Having your CNA license will allow you to grow in this field and help those around you.

Related Resource: How to Become a CNA: A Comprehensive Guide

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are in high demand. With a certificate from an accredited school, you will work in various medical settings such as clinics and doctor’s offices.

Human Services – Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP)

If you want to specialize in a particular social and human services area, you may wish to become Board Certified. This certification will allow you to work with various populations such as the elderly, children, and families.

To be eligible for this certification, you must have at least two years of experience working in a specific field of interest. You must also pass an examination covering various social and human service topics.

First Aid, CPR, and AED Instructor

To become a certified instructor, you must attend one of the American Red Cross or National Safety Council-approved programs that offer instructor training. Once you have completed the program, you will teach these lifesaving courses in various settings.

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (NHA)

If you are looking to move up in the medical assisting field, you may become a certified clinical medical assistant. This certification will allow you to work with patients one-on-one and provide them with care.

To be eligible for this certification, you must have at least two years of experience as a medical assistant.

Medication Aide Certification (MACE)

If you want to work as a medication aide, you will need your Medication Aide Certification. This certification will allow you to dispense medication to patients under the direct supervision of a licensed nurse. You must complete an approved training program and pass a competency examination to be eligible for this certification.

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)

This certification allows you to work as a medical administrative assistant and perform various tasks like scheduling appointments, filing records, answering the phone, and greeting patients. You must complete an approved training program and pass a competency examination to be eligible for this certification.

OSHA Safety Certificate

If you are looking to work in the healthcare field, having an OSHA safety certificate may be helpful. This certification will allow you to perform various tasks within a health care setting, including cleaning and sanitizing patient rooms and transporting patients safely. To become eligible for this certification, you must have at least two years of experience working in a health care setting.

Work Environment for Social and Human Service Assistant Workers

Social and human service assistants are employed in various work environments, including hospitals, schools, mental health facilities, or government agencies. The two most common types of workplaces are school settings and community-based organizations.

Schools can include public school districts, private elementary or high schools, or particular educational institutions. Community-based organizations can consist of Boys and Girls Clubs, homeless shelters, or youth development programs.

There are also several different types of social and human service assistant jobs. Some assistants work directly with clients, while others support the client’s case manager or therapist. Nonprofits, for-profit social service agencies, and state and local governments employ many social and human service assistants. Social and Human Service Assistants usually work full time, although some work evenings and weekends.

Average Salary of Social and Human Service Assistants

According to BLS, $35,960 per year and $17.29 per hour is the average salary for social and human service assistants.

Several factors influence social work salaries, including geographical location and employer type.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Social and Human Service Assistant

There are several benefits to becoming a social and human service assistant. They include:

  • Fulfilling work that helps others – One of the main benefits of this career is that it’s fulfilling. You have the opportunity to help others in need and make a difference in their lives. This benefit can be rewarding, both personally and professionally.
  • Personal and professional growth – Assistants gain a lot of experience in their work, leading to personal and professional development.
  • Variety – Assistants typically work in various settings, so you’ll have the opportunity to find an environment that best suits your needs. While some may choose to work for a nonprofit or charity organization, others may opt for a position at a private company or agency where they can help individuals with specific needs.
  • Stability – This career is expected to grow significantly in the next decade, so many job opportunities will be available. This career is also very stable, meaning you’ll likely have a long-term career in this field if you choose to pursue it.

While there are many benefits to becoming a social and human service assistant, there are several drawbacks to consider. They include:

  • Low financial gain compared to other careers
  • Emotionally draining work
  • Long work hours

Despite these drawbacks, social and human service assistants play a vital role in our society and are needed more than ever. They provide much-needed support to those who need it the most, and they can make a massive difference in the lives of those they serve.

Conclusion

There are many great benefits to becoming a social and human service assistant. You will be able to help people in need, have flexible hours, work with others, and more. Start your career today!

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