Many social worker positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in social work or a closely related field. An individual with an associate degree and plenty of experience may be able to find a position as a social worker. More often, however, individuals with associate degrees find work as social services or human services assistants.
Social Worker Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary of a child, family and school social worker in the United States is $43,540 per year, or $20.93 per hour. A medical and public health social worker earns a higher average salary of $48,340 per year, or $23.24 per hour. Mental health and substance abuse social workers earn a lower salary on average than either child, family and school or medical and public health social workers. Their average annual salary is $41,350, or $19.88 per hour.
Social & Human Services Assistant
Social services and human services assistants provide vital support to social workers. They may translate if they are fluent in other languages than English, arrange transportation for clients, keep client records up to date and determine eligibility for social assistance programs. They may also help set up orientations for clients and perform other support-related duties. They enable case managers and social workers to provide higher-quality services to a greater number of clients. The minimum education required for social and human services assistants is a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, more and more employers are seeking assistants with at least some post-secondary education, making an individual with an associate degree a better job candidate than someone with only a high school education.
Social and Human Services Salary
The average annual salary of social services and human services assistants in the United States is $29,880, according to a 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. The average hourly wage is $14.37. Those in the 25th percentile for salary (75 percent earn more) earn $22,230 per year, while those in the 75th percentile (25 percent earn more) earn $35,620 per year.
Industries & States
The highest-paying industry for social and human services assistants is agencies, brokerages and other insurance-related activities. The average annual salary in this industry is $46,480 per year, or $22.35 per hour. The second highest-paying industry is the federal executive branch, where the annual salary averages $42,740, or $20.55 per hour. The highest-paying state for this occupation is Connecticut, where the annual average salary is $41,430, or $19.92 per hour. The second highest-paying state is California, where the annual average salary is $35,650, or $17.14 per hour.