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Social and Human Services is a fast-growing field of employment, with above-average job growth. That employment growth is expected to continue, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections, at least through the year 2026. What that means is that this field is likely to have many career-building opportunities to offer. Jobs like Social and Human Service Assistant can be a great place to begin a career path in this field, so what do people looking for a job need to know about this position?
A Social and Human Service Assistant is an employee who works under the supervision of professionals, such as social workers, psychologists or program directors. They assist in identifying the needs of individual clients or groups, and in locating and providing services to fill those needs. Depending upon their employment setting, Social and Human Service Assistants may be known by a number of different titles. Most common are Family Service Assistants, Addictions Counselor Assistants, Social Work Assistants, Human Service Workers, Clinical Social Work Aides, or Case Work Aides.
The day-to-day tasks that Social and Human Service Assistants are responsible for depends largely on the type of position they hold and the type of organization in which they work. However, there are some general duties that most will be expected to perform as a function of their employment. These may include:
Social and Human Service Assistants work in a wide array of employment settings, and held approximately 389,800 jobs in 2016, according to BLS figures. About 27 percent of those jobs were in individual and family services organizations, which were the largest employers of Social and Human Service Assistants that year. Approximately 14 percent were employed by nursing and residential care facilities, and around 12 percent worked for local governments. Community and vocational rehabilitation services organizations provided about 10 percent of the total jobs held by these workers, and state government employed around 9 percent. Other common employment settings include shelters, group homes, offices and clinics.
Career outlooks for Social and Human Service Assistants are expected, according to BLS, to be favorable through 2026. The agency predicts a 16 percent increase in the number of Social and Human Service assistant positions between 2016 and 2026, an employment growth rate that is much faster than the average for all occupations.
BLS explains that it has based that projection on factors that include a growing elderly population, which is expected to lead an increasing demand for social services like adult daycare and meal delivery. Since these and many other services geared towards older adults are typically arranged by Social and Human Service Assistants, more of these workers will be employed to attend to these needs.
Another factor expected to spur job growth is an increase in the demand for addiction treatment services. More people are expected to seek treatment for their addictions in the coming years, and a greater number of individuals arrested for drug offenses are being sent to treatment programs as an alternative to jail. Rising demand for addiction services means a rising demand for Social and Human Service Assistants to work in the addiction field.
While this information can give you a general idea of job prospects in this occupation, it is important to realize that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only meant to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title, since neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in this or any other field of work.
While entering the workforce as a Social and Human Service Assistant with a high school education and on the job training was once common, most employers in the field today prefer entry-level candidates to have an associate degree in Human and Social Services or a related field. Bryant & Stratton College offers an excellent, career-focused Human & Social Services Associate Degree program for students who are interested in becoming qualified for these positions.
By earning Bryant & Stratton's Human & Social Services Associate Degree, you become qualified to take your first steps in building a career as a Human and Social Services professional by pursuing entry-level jobs in the field. Positions you can pursue with Social and Human Service Assistant credentials include Community and Social Services Specialist, Crisis Intervention Associate, Recreation Worker and Community Health Worker, among many others. Completing the Human & Social Services Associate Degree program also leaves you well-positioned to continue your education to bachelor's or master's level degrees, opening the doors for career advancement.
Most employers/employment settings require that candidates for Social and Human Service Assistant positions undergo criminal background checks and drug screening tests. Most entry-level employees in this position will be required to complete a brief period of on the job training after being hired as a condition of continued employment. Some employers require that candidates have some work experience in the field, a standard that can be met with paid employment, internships or volunteer work in most cases.
For further career insights related to the Social and Human Services field, please visit the degree insights section on the Bryant & Stratton College blog.