Social and Human Service Assistants
Degrees and Education
What’s needed: While it is possible to secure a position as a human services assistant with only a high school diploma many state and federal agencies now prefer to hire job candidates who have two-year degrees in human services social sciences psychology or gerontology. Completing a four-year degree in human services will help to ensure that you will have excellent advancement opportunities. All human services assistants also receive extensive on-the-job training.
What you study:
When preparing for a career as a human services assistant you will study all of the following:
- Social Problems
- Social Psychology
- Human Behavior
- Human Services Ethics
- Public Health
Shows a quick overview of what human services assistants do in their work. Produced for the US Department of Labor.
A Day in the Life
As a human services assistant you will work with human services professionals and clients to ensure that all individuals who need extra help or support are able to find the programs that will benefit them. You’ll begin each day by going over client folders at your desk which will be located in the reception area of the center or program where you work. Clients may leave you messages overnight. You will listen to these messages note important information and get in touch with the clients to answer their questions. You may need to speak with a social worker or other human services professional before you get in touch with individual clients.
As your day progresses you’ll get to interact with individuals from all walks of life. When new clients come into your office you will help them to complete paperwork and will make a basic assessment of their needs and abilities. After doing so you will decide if clients should be referred to social workers and other service providers. You may take your clients to meet their service providers and will help them to understand what benefits they will receive under every program for which they are qualified. If you work with clients who can’t drive themselves you will help them arrange transportation to appointments and will find assistance so that they can complete basic duties such as grocery shopping.
If you work in a state or federal social services program you may be responsible for determining whether or not your clients qualify for food stamps or Medicaid. You’ll assist your clients as they fill out paperwork to apply for these programs. You will also help them understand the types of assistance they will receive and will check in with your clients on a regular basis to ensure that they are getting the help and support that they need. Most of your days will end with a staff meeting to review the day’s cases and talk about any client issues that may have come up during your appointments. You will be supported in your work by licensed social workers.
Certifications and Licensing
Human services assistants do not need to hold a special license or credential in order to work in this field. However you must pass a background check in order to be employed by most facilities. If you wish to advance into a position as a social worker you will need to be licensed at the state level.
Full-time versus part-time:
Most human services assistants work full-time schedules. If you want to work a part-time schedule you may be interested in a position as an on-call assistant. These individuals are responsible for answering emergency client calls meeting clients who have just been taken to the hospital and filling in for full-time assistants when they are ill or on vacation.
If you work as a human services assistant in a rural area you may be required to travel in order to meet your clients. You may also travel to meet your clients if they reside in assisted living facilities and are unable to come to your office.
Here are several websites that we recommend for researching careers as human services assistants:
- The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook: This handbook provides general information about human service assistant positions in the U.S. Salary ranges employment outlooks and general training information are included. However it’s important to consult other sources that offer a more holistic view of careers in this field.
- The National Organization for Human Services: The NOHS website provides information about human services ethics and education in this field. The site also includes a job board with a wealth of listings suitable for newcomers to this profession.
- The American Public Human Services Association: The APHSA provides information about state and federal human services programs and new research in this field. A wealth of information about human services careers is presented on this site making it ideal for students who are interested in finding out about what working in this field is like.
Salaries by City
See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.
|State||City / Region||Typical Salary||Salary Range||Job Count||% of All Jobs|
|AL||Birmingham – Hoover||$23580||510||0.10%|
|AR||Fayetteville – Springdale – Rogers||$21800||350||0.17%|
|AR||Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway||$28010||1000||0.30%|
|AZ||Lake Havasu City $ Kingman||$29190||110||0.26%|
|AZ||Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale||$27660||3780||0.22%|
|CA||Bakersfield – Delano||$32940||1320||0.48%|
|CA||Hanford – Corcoran||$19330||60||0.17%|
|CA||Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area)||$32830||12220||0.32%|
|CA||Madera – Chowchilla||$33900||100||0.27%|
|CA||Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area)||$36660||2370||0.24%|
|CA||Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura||$33660||820||0.29%|
|CA||Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario||$28020||2340||0.20%|
|CA||Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville||$37410||2030||0.25%|
|CA||San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos||$29750||2190||0.17%|
|CA||San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area)||$41030||2330||0.23%|
|CA||San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara||$39920||1150||0.13%|
|CA||Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area)||$31190||2550||0.18%|
|CA||Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta||$39840||640||0.38%|
|CA||Santa Cruz – Watsonville||$26580||440||0.53%|
|CA||Santa Rosa – Petaluma||$33430||390||0.23%|
|CA||Vallejo – Fairfield||$26680||150||0.12%|
|CA||Visalia – Porterville||$30600||370||0.29%|
|CO||Denver – Aurora – Broomfield||$31240||1320||0.11%|
|CO||Fort Collins – Loveland||$30420||130||0.10%|
|CT||Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk||$44590||2310||0.56%|
|CT||Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford||$31960||3120||0.57%|
|CT||Norwich – New London||$34120||730||0.57%|
|DC||Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area)||$37600||4430||0.19%|
|DE||Wilmington (Metro Area)||$25450||600||0.19%|
|FL||Cape Coral – Fort Myers||$28160||250||0.12%|
|FL||Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach||$28730||330||0.22%|
|FL||Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)||$30370||1560||0.22%|
|FL||Lakeland – Winter Haven||$27240||310||0.16%|
|FL||Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area)||$28690||2480||0.25%|
|FL||Naples – Marco Island||$30370||90||0.08%|
|FL||North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota||$30240||320||0.13%|
|FL||Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford||$27440||1330||0.13%|
|FL||Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville||$27790||260||0.14%|
|FL||Panama City – Lynn Haven – Panama City Beach||$25310||170||0.24%|
|FL||Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent||$24790||260||0.17%|
|FL||Port St. Lucie||$29600||210||0.17%|
|FL||Sebastian – Vero Beach||$29180||50||0.10%|
|FL||Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater||$27720||2320||0.21%|
|FL||West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area)||$29230||810||0.16%|
|GA||Athens – Clarke County||$25290||170||0.22%|
|GA||Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta||$28630||4180||0.18%|
|GA||Augusta – Richmond County||$22260||530||0.26%|
|GA||Hinesville – Fort Stewart||$39550||40||0.24%|
|IA||Davenport – Moline – Rock Island||$24180||990||0.31%|
|OR||Eugene – Springfield||$25500||730||0.54%|
|OR||Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro||$27470||3340||0.33%|
|PA||Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton||$24980||1090||0.32%|
|PA||Harrisburg – Carlisle||$23590||1090||0.36%|
|PA||Philadelphia (Metro Area)||$26760||7530||0.41%|
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