SOC Code: 21-1093


Pay Band(s): 1, 2, and 3 (Salary Structure)

Standard Occupational Description:
Assist professionals from a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, to provide client services, as well as support for families. May assist clients in identifying available benefits and social and community services and help clients obtain them. May assist social workers with developing, organizing, and conducting programs to prevent and resolve problems relevant to substance abuse, human relationships, rehabilitation, or adult daycare.


Social and Human Services Assistants in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Direct Service Career Group:


Direct Service Associate I

Direct Service Associate II

Direct Service Associate III


Social and Human Services Assistants have career advancement opportunities in the following Career Group(s):


Psychological Services


Program Administration

Rehabilitation Therapies



(Technical and Functional Expertise)



Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Social and Human Service Assistants commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.


1.      Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

2.      Talking to others to convey information effectively.

3.      Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

4.      Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

5.      Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

6.      Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

7.      Managing one's own time and the time of others.

8.      Actively looking for ways to help people.

9.      Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

10.  Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.



Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Social and Human Service Assistants commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.


The Knowledge of:


1.      Principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

2.      Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

3.      Human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

4.      Principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

5.      Principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

6.      Administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

7.      Relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

8.      Group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

9.      Laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

10.  Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.



Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Social and Human Service Assistants commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.


The Ability to:


1.      Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

2.      Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

3.      Speak clearly so others can understand you.

4.      Identify and understand the speech of another person.

5.      Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

6.      Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

7.      Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

8.      Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

9.      Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

10.  read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.



Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Social and Human Service Assistants.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed. 


1.      Provide information on and refer individuals to public or private agencies and community services for assistance.

2.      Keep records and prepare reports for owner or management concerning visits with clients.

3.      Visit individuals in homes or attend group meetings to provide information on agency services, requirements and procedures.

4.      Advise clients regarding food stamps, child care, food, money management, sanitation, and housekeeping.

5.      Submit to and review reports and problems with superior.

6.      Oversee day-to-day group activities of residents in institution.

7.      Interview individuals and family members to compile information on social, educational, criminal, institutional, or drug history.

8.      Meet with youth groups to acquaint them with consequences of delinquent acts.

9.      Transport and accompany clients to shopping area and to appointments, using automobile.

10.  Explain rules established by owner or management, such as sanitation and maintenance requirements, and parking regulations.




Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.


Social and Human Service Assistant occupations have the following characteristics:


Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.


Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.




Generally this is not required for Social and Human Service Assistant positions in state government. 


Licensing information (Licensed Professional Counselor, Psychologist, Social Worker, Registered Nurse) can be found at the following web location:


Department of Health Professions





The Department of Labor provides the following information:


Social and human service assistant is a generic term for people with a wide array of job titles, including human service worker, case management aide, social work assistant, community support worker, mental health aide, community outreach worker, life skill counselor, or gerontology aide. They usually work under the direction of professionals from a variety of fields, such as nursing, psychiatry, psychology, rehabilitative or physical therapy, or social work. The amount of responsibility and supervision they are given varies a great deal. Some have little direct supervision; others work under close direction.


Social and human service assistants provide direct and indirect client services to ensure that individuals in their care reach their maximum level of functioning. They assess clients' needs, establish their eligibility for benefits and services such as food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare, and help to obtain them. They also arrange for transportation and escorts, if necessary, and provide emotional support. Social and human service assistants monitor and keep case records on clients and report progress to supervisors and case managers.


While a bachelor's degree usually is not required for entry into this occupation, employers increasingly seek individuals with relevant work experience or education beyond high school. Certificates or associate degrees in subjects such as social work, human services, gerontology, or one of the social or behavioral sciences meet most employers' requirements. Some jobs may require a bachelor's or master's degree in human services or a related field such as counseling, rehabilitation, or social work.


Educational attainment often influences the kind of work employees may be assigned and the degree of responsibility that may be entrusted to them. For example, workers with no more than a high school education are likely to receive extensive on-the-job training to work in direct-care services, while employees with a college degree might be assigned to do supportive counseling, coordinate program activities, or manage a group home. Social and human service assistants with proven leadership ability, either from previous experience or as a volunteer in the field, often have greater autonomy in their work. Regardless of the academic or work background of employees, most employers provide some form of in-service training, such as seminars and workshops, to their employees.


There may be additional hiring requirements in group homes. For example, employers may require employees to have a valid driver's license or to submit to a criminal background investigation.


Formal education almost always is necessary for advancement. In general, advancement requires a bachelor's or master's degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or a related field.


There is one recognized apprenticeable specialty associated with this occupation:
Direct Support Specialist


To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities, please consult the Virginia U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training office. Detailed information on Apprenticeship programs is available on the DOLI web site at


For general information about apprenticeships, training, and partnerships with business, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services (OATELS) website.




Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.


The Commonwealth Competencies are:


1.      Technical and Functional Expertise

2.      Understanding the Business     

3.      Achieving Results

4.      Serving the Customer

5.      Teamwork

6.      Interpersonal and Communication Skills

7.      Leadership and Personal Effectiveness


The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences. 


Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!


For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to:  For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each.  Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like. 




Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)


For example: Social and Human Service Assistants



Practitioner Roles




Direct Service Associate I




Direct Service Associate II




Direct Service Associate III




Sample Career Path 


Direct Service Associate I

The Direct Service Associate I role provides career tracks for social and human service assistants (such as public health, day care, respiratory therapy) and hospital attendants performing entry-level to journey-level responsibilities requiring little prior training or experience and the work is well defined.


Direct Service Associate II

The Direct Service Associate II role provides career tracks for social and human service assistant such as rehabilitative assistants, social worker assistants, medication assistants, and others who perform health care support responsibilities ranging from entry-level to journey-level. This role also provides career tracks for supervisors of hospital attendants. Duties are varied, requiring either knowledge in a variety of areas or specialized knowledge to perform tasks in assigned specialty areas.


Direct Service Associate III

The Direct Service Associate III role provides career tracks for health care support specialists that are either service delivery experts or supervisors. As service delivery experts, employees provide or lead specialized services that support the work of interdisciplinary treatment teams, licensed clinical staff, and professional counselors. This role also provides career tracks for human rights advocates. As supervisors, employees supervise other Direct Service Workers, develop staff schedules, evaluate staff performance, serve as members of interdisciplinary treatment teams, make minor changes in treatment and program plans, write reports, make oral presentations, and review client records for appropriate documentation.




O*NET (Occupational Information Network)



Virginia Employment Commission


Career One Stop


Virginia Career Resource Network


National Organization for Human Service Education


Council for Standards in Human Services Education