If you enjoy helping others and have a desire to give back to your community, a career as a social worker's assistant may be a good choice for you. Although jobs in human or social services can be stressful and challenging, it can be rewarding to support social workers as they help individuals or families that are often classified as underprivileged.
Earn your high school diploma. If you did not graduate from high school you can enrol in a program that will allow you to complete the equivalent high school educational requirements. The General Education Development (GED) program is the most commonly used in the nation. GED programs are typically held at local community or technical colleges. You can search for GED programs in your area by visiting the American Council on Education's GED website (see Resources).
Complete a two-year associate degree in human services at an accredited community or technical college. The human services program will prepare you to work with clients or patients, handle crisis situations and perform proper documentation procedures. You will likely take courses in the social sciences, such as psychology and sociology. You also may complete coursework in topics such as child services or addiction as well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Complete an internship or practicum experience. This will provide you with first-hand experience and may meet degree requirements for your educational program. It can also increase your job prospects. Employers typically prefer employees with experience and internships with local social services offices or human service agencies can expose you to a variety of social work duties.
Complete any training required by employers. Although social work assistants are not licensed by the state, employers develop their own qualifications for staff. This can include in-service training in patient rights and the agency's policies and procedures. Training will differ based on your work setting. For example, social work assistants that work in local social services offices will need to know state and federal welfare or child protection regulations. Assistants in a hospital or health care setting would need to have training in dealing with mentally- or physically-impaired patients.
Employers may hire you if you have an educational background in psychology, sociology or gerontology.
Tips and warnings
- Employers may hire you if you have an educational background in psychology, sociology or gerontology.