They will first assess the needs of clients and their eligibility for various benefits such as Medicaid and food stamps, and arrange transportation for them and provide emotional support. Social assistants will have a number of roles in a community such as crisis intervention and administering food banks and emergency food programs.
They may work in a halfway house helping adults who need to be supervised on a daily basis in order to learn living skills and hygiene. In a psychiatric hospital, a social assistant will work with psychologists and psychiatrists in order to help clients to back on their feet and cope with life.
The working environment for these professionals will vary and can range from shelters to group homes to day programs. The majority of social assistants will work 40 hours a week, with some time needed on the evenings and weekends. Usually an associates degree or on the job training is sufficient in order to gain employment, although more advanced jobs such as managing a group home may require a bachelors degree.
Other skills that these professionals should have include a desire to help other people and effective communication skills. With enough education, some social assistants will further their education and become a full social worker.
In 2006, the middle 50th percentile of social assistants made between $20,350 and $32,440, with those working in local government having the highest rate of pay and those working in mental health services having the lowest rate of pay..