Types of human service professionals
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Types of human service professionals
Human service workers is a generic term used for individuals holding different job titles such as social service assistant, gerontology aides, case management assistants, social work assistants, life skill counselors, community support workers, mental health assistants, community outreach workers, and drug abuse counselors. In most instances, they all work under the supervision and direction of various professionals from different fields like nursing, psychology, rehabilitative therapy, social work, and psychiatry. The amount of accountability as well as supervision given to them varies in each circumstance as most of them have little direct supervision, while others have to work under close supervision.
Human service professionals and assistants offer both direct as well as indirect services to their clients. Their responsibilities entails evaluating the needs of clients, establishing whether they are eligible for help and services, and assisting clients to acquire these services. They scrutinize financial documents like rent receipts and tax returns to verify whether the client is entitled for Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, and various human service initiatives (Coyne, 2012). At the same time, other services provided by them include transportation arrangement and escorts, if deemed necessary, as well as emotional support. Another key responsibility of the human service professionals is the monitoring and documenting of case records of their clients, as well as reporting on their progress to supervisors or case managers. Conversely, human service professionals and assistants transport or even accompany clients to doctors’ offices, group meal sites, and adult daycare centers (Firmin, Johnson & Wikler, 2009). They might telephone and pay visits to their clients to ensure they are receiving the services provided or assist in resolving disputes between tenants and property owners. The social workers can also assist clients in filling out insurance and medical forms and financial assistance applications.
Both social and human service personnel and their assistants help others with their daily living needs. They play important and crucial roles in the community, and are tasked with the responsibility of organizing as well as guide group activities, helping clients who need counseling, crisis intervention, managing a food bank, and coordinating emergency fuel initiatives (Walsh & Gordon, 2010). Social workers also help adults who live in group homes, halfway houses, and housing programs supported by the government and require supervision in terms of hygiene and living skills. At the same time, they review clients’ records, ensure they have taken the proper medication doses, talk with other family members of their clients, and discuss with medical personnel and care givers on better ways of gaining insights of their clients backgrounds and needs. Social service workers offer emotional support and assist clients to get involved with their communities’ well-being, by ensuring they participate in community recreation initiatives and other activities. Human service personnel also play a major role in psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehabilitation programs. They work with professional service providers like psychiatrists, psychologists, as well as social workers to assist clients to master daily living skills, communicating effectively, and interact better with other members of the society. They support participation of clients in treatment plans, particularly in individual, group, and occupational therapy counseling.
Human service employees working conditions vary as some work in hospitals, offices, and clinics, while others are assigned to work in group homes, day programs, shelters, and sheltered workshops. Many of them spend most their time visiting clients while working almost 40 hours weekly, while some work during weekends and in the evenings. Despite the fact that the work is satisfying, it can be psychologically draining with understaffing and low pay adding to the pressure associated with the job. Turnover has been reported to be high, mostly among workers who do not have academic preparation in this field.Employment
Human service personnel held around 268,000 jobs in the year 1998. Half of them worked in private social and human services agencies; providing different services such as adult counseling, daycare, crisis intervention, job training, and group meals. Several human service employees supervise group homes residents and halfway houses. One-third of them are employed by both State and local governments, mainly in public welfare agencies as facilities for mentally disabled and developmentally challenged individuals (Witherell, 1997). Human service workers and assistants also held jobs in clinics, detoxification units, community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, day treatment programs, and sheltered workshops.
Training, Qualification, and Advancement
Even though a bachelor degree is not often a requirement for the occupation, many employers are increasingly seeking individuals who have related work experience and education past high school level. Certificates and associate degrees in social work and human services subjects or behavioral sciences tend to meet majority of the employers’ requirements. It is obvious that human services boasts of core curriculum, which trains various students to scrutinize clients, record their information, apply problem solving techniques, make usage of appropriate use of case management, undertake patient interviews, use problem-solving mechanisms, execute treatment plans, tackle crisis intervention issues, referral procedures, and employ proper case management. In most cases, general education courses, especially in sciences, humanities and liberal arts are a component of the curriculum. Several degree programs necessitate a supervised internship completion.
It is obvious that educational attainment mostly influences the type of work assigned to social workers and the level of responsibility entrusted to them. For instance, workers who have more than high school education often get broad on-the-job training to operate in direct-care services. Here they are employees who have a college degree who may be assigned to undertake supportive counseling, management of group homes, and management of program activities. Conversely, human service staff with established leadership capability from experience or field volunteers often gets greater independence in their work. In spite of academic and work background of the social workers, majority of employers offer in-service training in terms of seminars and workshops to employees.
Employment requirements in many group homes are more stringent compared to other settings. For instance, employers might need employees to have legal driver’s license and agree to take part in criminal background investigation (Northern, 2009). Many employers often choose applicants who have efficient communication skills with a strong responsibility sense, and the capacity to manage time efficiently. Various human service jobs entail having direct contact with individuals who are susceptible to exploitation and mistreatment. Patience, understanding as well as strong desire to assist others remains valuable characteristics that many employers look for in potential employees. Formal education remains necessary for one to be a social worker. This means any advancement requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in counseling, rehabilitation, social work, in services management, and a related field in social work.
Opportunities for human service workers are much better for applicants with suitable postsecondary education. Future projections indicate that the number of social service workers will increase faster in all occupations and rank among occupations with rapid growth. The replacement of workers moving to new positions because of advancement, retirement or other reasons creates many extra job opportunities (Hallowell, 2010). On the other hand, this occupation is not often attractive to everyone because it is emotionally draining and the pay remains relatively low. It is evident that qualified applicants will have limited challenges in finding employment. Rapid growth and demand for social services has forced employers to develop new strategies to ensure efficiency in service delivery and funding.
Many employers are increasingly depending on social workers to be responsible for the service delivery to their clients. There are anticipated good opportunities associated with social work in terms of job training programs, private social service, and residential care facilities. These include services like adult daycare as well as meal delivery programs (Drueke, 2008). The demand for the services will expand with the rising number of the aged more likely to require these services. Additionally, social service workers will still be needed to offer services to pregnant teenagers, developmentally challenged, the homeless, individuals suffering from drug abuse, and the mentally disabled. Job training programs in the social work field are anticipated to entail additional social service workers. This is because the social welfare strategies seem to shift focus from programs that are beneficial to initiative that are work based. The situation will result to an increased demand for individuals to teach the job skills to the new employees or those re-entering the field.
Streamlined and downsized businesses generate increased persons demand for those with job retraining proficiency. Social workers assist companies to deal with new methods of conducting business as well as help employees master new skills required for the job. At the same time, residential care establishment need to experience increased pressures, which respond to the individual needs of the chronically or mentally ill. Majority of such patients are deinstitutionalized and often lack knowledge and the ability to take care of them. Many community-based initiatives should support independent living sites. Group residences are expected to house and help the homeless and individuals who are chronically or mentally ill. This means that the social workers demand will increase in the future as the number of jobs grows rapidly in comparison to the overall employment in both State and local governments. Many of the State and local governments have employed social workers in corrections or public assistance sections. Even though employment in corrections departments remains on the rise, social workers employment is not expected to grow rapidly in other corrections jobs like guards and corrections officers. At the same time, public assistance initiatives have employed more social workers in an attempt to ensure they are few, more educated, and are highly paid. Human service professionals play an important role in the society. Their responsibilities entails evaluating the needs of clients, establishing whether they are eligible for help and services, and assisting clients to acquire the services. There is need to improve their working environment by raising their pay and giving them incentives to encourage them because being a social worker is emotionally draining and stressful. Human service professionals support participation of clients in treatment plans in individual, group, and occupational therapy counseling; hence, they are instrumental in the recovery of patients in the society.
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