According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings of social and human service assistants were $24,270 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $19,220 and $30,900. The top 10 percent earned more than $39,620, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,480. Human Service workers employed by the State government make an average of $29,000, local government average $28,000 and family services average $23,000 annually.
Facts at a glance
- While a bachelor’s degree usually is not required, employers increasingly seek individuals with relevant work experience or education beyond high school.
- Employment is projected to grow much faster than average.
- Job opportunities should be excellent, particularly for applicants with appropriate postsecondary education, but pay is low.
- Social workers usually work under the direction of workers from other fields, such as, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, and physical therapy.
Summary of what this career entails
Working conditions of social and human service assistants vary. Some work in offices, clinics, and hospitals, while others work in group homes, shelters, sheltered workshops, and day programs. Many work under close supervision, while others work much of the time on their own, such as those who spend their time in the field visiting clients. Sometimes visiting clients can be dangerous even though most agencies do everything they can to ensure their workers’ safety. Most work a 40-hour week, although some work in the evening and on weekends.
Examples and or details of work
Social workers work in offices, clinics, hospitals, group homes, shelters, and sheltered workshops. Social workers work with clients to master living skills, communicate effectively, and get along with others. They also work with halfway homes, group homes, and government housing-programs to assist adults who need supervision or help with personal hygiene. They also monitor and keep case records on clients and report progress to upper management.
Degrees that lead to this career
An associate’s degree is the minimal level of education an individual can receive. Some of the degrees and certification an individual can attain include:
- A.S. in Human Development and Family Study
- B.S. in Human Services/ Management
- B.A. in Human Resource Management
- M.S. in Human Services
- M.S. in Human Services- Criminal Justice
- PhD in Human Services- Counseling
Specific Career openings in this field
Some of the positions available for individuals that want a career in human services include social and human service assistants, case management aide, community support worker, mental health aide, life skill counselor, or gerontology aide.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Social and Human Service Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos059.htm