To work as a social or human service assistant, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent; and
- complete short-term, on-the-job training.
Education after high school
Social and human service assistants who specialize in clerical work must have at least a high school diploma. To work directly with clients you need college-level training. Certificates or degrees in social work, psychology, sociology, human services, or gerontology are favored. Community colleges and universities offer degrees in these areas. Look for programs that train you to observe patients and write reports. You should also know how to conduct interviews, manage caseloads, and perform crisis intervention.
Experience working with people and handling clerical tasks is good background for this occupation.
Social and human service assistants receive training after they are hired. This may be in a classroom setting, on the job, or both. You learn to observe clients, record information, conduct client interviews, and make referrals. You also learn to use problem-solving skills, perform crisis intervention, and use proper case management methods. You may receive training for up to one month.
You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a four-year degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.