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Social and Human Service Assistants - What They Do


How to Advance (Advancement)
Formal education is almost always necessary for advancement. In general, advancement to case management, or social work jobs requires a bachelor's or master's degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or a related field.

Employment
Social and human service assistants held about 352,000 jobs in 2008. More than 65 percent were employed in the healthcare and social assistance industries and almost 24 percent were employed by State and local governments.

Job Outlook
Employment of social and human service assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be excellent, particularly for applicants with relevant postsecondary education.

Job Growth
The number of social and human service assistants is expected to grow by nearly 23 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This is due in large part to the aging population and increased demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment.

As the elderly population continues to grow, the demand for social and human service assistants will expand. This is due in large part to the increased need for social services demanded by this population, such as adult day care, meal delivery programs and support during medical crises. Social and human service assistants, who assist in locating and providing these services, will be needed to meet this increased demand.

Opportunities are expected to be good in private social service agencies. Employment in private agencies will grow, as State and local governments continue to contract out services to the private sector in an effort to cut costs.

The number of jobs for social and human service assistants in State and local governments will grow, but not as fast as employment for social and human service assistants in other industries. Employment in the public sector may fluctuate with the level of funding provided by State and local governments and with the number of services contracted out to private organizations.

Job prospects for social and human service assistants are expected to be excellent, particularly for individuals with appropriate education after high school. Job openings will come from job growth, but also from the need to replace workers, who advance into new positions, retire, or leave the workforce for other reasons. There will be more competition for jobs in urban areas than in rural ones, but qualified applicants should have little difficulty finding employment.

Earnings
Median annual wages of social and human service assistants were $27,280 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,860 and $34,590. The top 10 percent earned more than $43,510, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,900.

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Academic Programs of Interest

Social Work
Social Workers are concerned with social problems, their causes, their solutions and their human impacts. Social workers work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social Work is the profession committed to the pursuit of social justice, to the enhancement of the quality ...more