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Social & Human Services Assistant

Career Overview

Social and human service assistants provide support to social workers, health care workers, and other professionals in the provision of assistance to people with all sorts of needs. Social and human services assistant is a generic term for many different types of service providers, a list that includes case management aide, social work assistant, community support worker, mental health aide, life skills counselor, and gerontology aide.

Professionals in these fields are involved in assisting people with housing needs, counseling and food bank support; they work in halfway houses for addicts and alcoholics, in homeless shelters, group homes, and crisis centers. Home health aides are human service assistants, providing in-home support for daily living skills to the infirm and the elderly.

Education

Some employers will hire people for some of these positions that have a high school diploma and perhaps some relevant experience. Government agencies are inclined to look for some formal education, perhaps a certificate in home health care or an associate's degree in social services. Mangerial positions in these branches of the social services usually require a bachelor's or master's degree.

Employment

Social and human service assistants held about 339,000 jobs in 2006. Over 60 percent were employed in health care positions or in a social support agency of some kind - which is inevitably a government office or a non-profit service center of some kind.

Job Outlook

These positions are going to expand tremendously due to the aging of our population and the increasing need for safety net services. The projected growth in social and human service jobs for the decade 2006 - 2016 is 34%, over three times the pace of projected average overall job growth.

Salary:

10th Percentile $17,900

Median Salary $27,280

90th Percentile $43,510

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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