Social services assistants help change lives every day. Also called social and human services assistants or case work aides, they work with licensed social workers or psychologists to help clients with challenging problems, ranging from unemployment, divorce or addiction to a complex adoption process or a serious diagnosis.
They may counsel clients about government aid and private sector services and help arrange for transportation or personal aides. Some social services assistants specialize in helping the elderly or people suffering from disabilities or a mental illness. Others may specialize in working with veterans, immigrants or the homeless.
- Interview clients and help determine needs
- Screen clients for program eligibility
- Present clients with information about programs and community resources
- Work with more experienced social services workers to develop a treatment plan
- Keep records of conversations and solutions
- Provide administrative support, such as answering the phone
- Schedule face-to-face interviews between clients and service providers
- Follow up with clients to ensure that the services are provided
Social services assistant jobs require a high school diploma or equivalent, but education requirements vary by role. For entry-level social services assistants, most employers provide on-the-job training in case management, which means working with clients from a variety of backgrounds. It’s becoming more common for students to earn an associate degree or certificate in areas including gerontology (the study of aging), human services and social and behavioral science.
Some positions require related work experience or a bachelor’s degree. Continuing education or specialization is common, and it opens up more job opportunities.
- Have excellent communication skills
- Have compassion and empathy
- Manage your time well
- Excel at problem-solving
- Have strong organizational skills