Social and Human Service Assistant Salary

The job of a social and human service assistant is certainly not easy. Such professionals often deal with very difficult, delicate, and complex cases which involve elders, veterans, individuals in rehab, and people with special needs. This profession seems designed specifically for those with a genuine calling to help others. Is the pay rewarding too, or is this the type of career path in which the emotional gains outweigh the material ones?

Overview of a Social and Human Service Assistant Salary

In May 2012*, the Social and Human Service Assistant salary sat far lower than the average median hourly pay among all occupations throughout the U.S. ($16.71 per hour). The median figure stood at $13.87 per hour for social and human service assistants. The hourly pay of such a professional also stood significantly lower compared to the median hourly wage earned by all workers in community and social service jobs ($19.42 per hour). The top 10 percent of earners among social and human service assistants made over $22.16. The bottom 10 percent made less than $9.34.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Earning Factors of a Social and Human Service Assistant Salary

Hourly pay for social and human service assistants in May 2012* varied greatly depending on the employee’s industry. The state, local, and federal governments served as the top paying industry with a median wage of $16.57 per hour. Religious, civic, professional and other types of organizations followed at $14.77 per hour. Other industries paid mid level median wages per hour such as individual and family services ($13.67 per hour), community and vocation rehabilitation ($12.49 per hour) and residential care ($11.98 per hour).

By and large, the job market typically regards working as a social and human service assistant as a profession that’s mostly motivated by one’s job satisfaction rather than by financial perks. At first glace, this may seem unfair since the job field is so demanding. Not only does it often involve working long hours on the weekend, but the advancement requirements are also quite difficult to meet. Professionals who wish to further their careers must often continue their education by obtaining either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or some other related field.

Furthermore, successful social and human service assistants must foster some admittedly elusive qualities. They must remain compassionate and communicate well (especially at an interpersonal level). They often deal with difficult situations, where they must get their clients to address in a way that’s comfortable to them. Aside from the ability to manage time and resources efficiently, social and human service assistants must also be good at solving problems when dealing with complex human interactions and issues.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Job Description and Outlook of a Social and Human Service Assistant

As the name of the job suggests, a social and human service assistant helps clients navigate through difficult times in their lives. They offer support and direct the clients toward sources of further assistance. They also assist social workers in carrying out certain duties. The typical work day of a social and human service assistant includes any of the following tasks:

  • Assisting a social worker or psychologist
  • Determining the type of support, aid, or benefit a client needs
  • Developing a plan for treatment, together with the client or another professional in the social work field
  • Providing assistance in day-to-day activities such as meal time or bath time
  • Researching aid, benefits, and treatment available for a client in a particular community
  • Determining a client’s eligibility for aid and/or benefits
  • Monitoring a client for their evolution under a particular treatment

Social and human service assistants work with a wide range of clients which range from children (and their families); to the elderly; to individuals suffering from disabilities, veterans, immigrants, former inmates, the homeless; or individuals with mental disorders.

Between the years 2012 through 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a rate of growth for all jobs in the U.S. of 11 percent. However, the situation is entirely different for social and human service assistants. The Bureau expects this field to grow by a staggering 22 percent* over the same decade.  This can be chalked up to the phenomenon of an aging population. Experts also explain that this is due to the fact that more and more people seek treatment for drug addiction, mental illness, and other plights.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Educational Requirements of a Social and Human Service Assistant

Usually, a social and human service assistant only expect to hold a high-school degree* or an equivalent degree. Given the competitive nature of the labor force over the past few years, more and more employers now seek candidates with relevant experience and/or higher education. Those interested in forging a career in this field should strongly consider obtaining a certificate (or two-year associate’s degree) in gerontology, social science, or human services. Such formal training usually involves hands-on experience in working with patients, conducting interviews, and administering prescribed treatments. Generally, the higher the education level of a job candidate in this field, the higher their level of responsibility as a new hire. Social and human service assistants who hold some college education are often placed in charge of program coordination or group home management.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

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