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Become A Program Assistant

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Working As A Program Assistant

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Stressful

  • $39,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Program Assistant Do

Social and human service assistants provide client services, including support for families, in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. They assist other workers, such as social workers, and they help clients find benefits or community services.

Duties

Social and human service assistants typically do the following:

  • Help determine what type of aid their clients need
  • Work with clients and other professionals, such as social workers, to develop a treatment plan
  • Help clients find assistance with daily activities, such as eating and bathing
  • Research services, such as food stamps and Medicaid, that are available to their clients in their communities
  • Coordinate services provided to clients
  • Help clients complete paperwork to apply for assistance programs
  • Transport clients—for example, by driving them to appointments or to services within their community
  • Check in with clients to ensure that services are provided appropriately

Social and human service assistants have many job titles, including case work aide, clinical social work aide, family service assistant, social work assistant, addictions counselor assistant, and human service worker.

Social and human service assistants help clients to identify and obtain benefits and services. In addition to initially connecting clients with benefits or services, social and human service assistants may follow up with clients to ensure that they are receiving the intended services and that the services are meeting their needs. They work under the direction of social workers, psychologists, or other social and human service workers.

With children and families, social and human service assistants ensure that the children live in safe homes. They help parents get the resources, such as food stamps or childcare, they need to care for their children.

With the elderly, these workers help clients stay in their own homes and live under their own care whenever possible. Social and human service assistants may coordinate meal deliveries or find personal care aides to help with the clients’ day-to-day needs, such as running errands and bathing. In some cases, human service workers help look for residential care facilities, such as nursing homes.

For people with disabilities, social and human service assistants help find rehabilitation services that aid their clients. They may work with employers to make a job more accessible to people with disabilities. Some workers find personal care services to help clients with daily living activities, such as bathing and making meals.

For people with addictions, human service assistants find rehabilitation centers that meet their clients’ needs. They also may find support groups for people who are dependent on alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other substances or behaviors.

With veterans, assistants help people who have been discharged from the military adjust to civilian life. They help with practical needs, such as locating housing and finding ways to apply skills gained in the military to civilian jobs. They may also help their clients navigate the overwhelming number of services available to veterans.

For people with mental illnesses, social and human service assistants help clients find the appropriate resources to help them cope with their illness. They find self-help and support groups to provide their clients with an assistance network. In addition, they may find personal care services or group housing to help those with more severe mental illnesses care for themselves.

With immigrants, workers help clients adjust to living in a new country. They help the clients locate jobs and housing. They also may help them find programs that teach English, or they may find legal assistance to help immigrants get various administrative paperwork in order.

With former prison inmates, human service assistants find job training or placement programs to help clients reenter society. Human service assistants help former inmates find housing and connect with programs that help them start a new life for themselves.

With homeless people, assistants help clients meet their basic needs. They find temporary or permanent housing for their clients and locate places, such as soup kitchens, that provide meals. Human service assistants also may help homeless people find resources to address other problems they may have, such as joblessness.

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How To Become A Program Assistant

Requirements for social and human service assistants vary, although they typically have at least a high school diploma and must complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some employers prefer to hire workers who have additional education or experience.

Education

Although a high school diploma is typically required, some employers prefer to hire workers who have relevant work experience or education beyond high school. A certificate or an associate’s degree in a subject such as human services, gerontology (working with older adults), or social or behavioral science is common for workers entering this occupation.

Human service degree programs train students to observe and interview patients, carry out treatment plans, and handle people who are undergoing a crisis. Many programs include fieldwork to give students hands-on experience.

The level of education that social and human service assistants have completed often determines the responsibilities they are given. Those with a high school diploma are likely to do lower level work, such as helping clients fill out paperwork. Assistants with some college education may coordinate program activities or manage a group home.

Although postsecondary education is important, some employers may prefer or allow for applicants who have related work experience. In some cases, candidates may substitute such experience in place of postsecondary education. 

Training

Many social and human service assistants, particularly those without any postsecondary education, undergo a period of on-the-job training. Because such workers often are dealing with multiple clients from a wide variety of backgrounds, on-the-job training in case management helps prepare them to respond appropriately to the different needs and situations of their clients.

Advancement

For social and human service assistants, additional education is almost always necessary for advancement. In general, advancement to case management or social work jobs requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or a related field.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help. These workers must be able to listen to their clients and to communicate the clients’ needs to organizations that can help them.

Compassion. Social and human service assistants often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues. Assistants also need to build relationships with other service providers to become familiar with all of the resources that are available in their communities.

Organizational skills. Social and human service assistants often must complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients. They must be organized in order to ensure that the paperwork is filed properly and that clients are getting the help they need.

Problem-solving skills. Social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems. They must be able to listen carefully to their clients’ needs and offer practical solutions.

Time-management skills. Social and human service assistants often work with many clients. They must manage their time effectively to ensure that their clients are getting the attention they need.

Some employers require a criminal background check. In some settings, workers need a valid driver’s license.

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Program Assistant Career Paths

Program Assistant
Programming Specialist Program Coordinator Operations Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Assistant Professor Chairperson
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Assistant Director General Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Instructor Assistant Director General Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Director Of Admissions
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager Property Manager
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Registered Nurse Nurse Manager
Department Director
6 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Development Coordinator Assistant Director Of Development
Director Of Alumni Relations
5 Yearsyrs
Program Director Operations Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Assistant Case Manager Outreach Coordinator
Director Of Outreach
6 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Specialist Account Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Assistant Staffing Coordinator Staffing Manager
Division Director
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Development Director Grant Writer
Grant Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Licensed Practical Nurse Nursing Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Specialist Recruiter
Recruitment Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Manager General Manager
Regional Director
9 Yearsyrs
Program Director General Manager Service Advisor
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Product Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Program Manager General Manager
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Program Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Program Technician 3.0 years
Program Officer 2.9 years
Program Instructor 2.2 years
Program Lead 2.1 years
Program Assistant 2.0 years
Program Counselor 1.9 years
Top Careers Before Program Assistant
Internship 14.3%
Cashier 6.6%
Volunteer 5.9%
Secretary 3.6%
Assistant 3.5%
Teacher 3.4%
Teller 2.2%
Top Careers After Program Assistant
Internship 11.1%
Volunteer 4.9%
Teacher 4.7%
Cashier 4.2%
Assistant 2.8%
Consultant 2.8%

Do you work as a Program Assistant?

Program Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

73.9%

Male

23.1%

Unknown

3.0%
Ethnicity

White

59.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

8.7%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.0%

French

13.7%

Chinese

4.8%

Mandarin

4.7%

Arabic

3.8%

German

3.6%

Russian

2.8%

Portuguese

2.7%

Japanese

2.7%

Italian

2.6%

Korean

1.8%

Hindi

1.6%

Cantonese

1.4%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Urdu

0.8%

Hebrew

0.7%

Tagalog

0.6%

Greek

0.6%

Hmong

0.5%

Czech

0.4%
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Program Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.6%

Liberty University

6.8%

George Washington University

6.3%

George Mason University

5.9%

American University

5.8%

Ashford University

5.6%

New York University

4.9%

University of Washington

4.8%

University of Maryland - University College

4.5%

Howard University

4.3%

Strayer University

4.2%

Walden University

4.0%

University of Central Florida

3.9%

Florida State University

3.8%

West Virginia University

3.8%

Capella University

3.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.6%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.5%

Georgetown University

3.4%
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Majors

Business

19.4%

Psychology

10.9%

Social Work

6.1%

Communication

5.9%

Criminal Justice

5.7%

Sociology

4.5%

Political Science

4.3%

English

4.2%

Human Services

4.1%

Health Care Administration

4.0%

Education

3.9%

Elementary Education

3.4%

Management

3.4%

Nursing

3.3%

Accounting

3.2%

Liberal Arts

3.1%

Kinesiology

2.8%

Human Resources Management

2.7%

Public Health

2.5%

Marketing

2.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.0%

Masters

24.3%

Other

17.9%

Associate

8.0%

Certificate

4.4%

Doctorate

2.0%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.2%
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Internship
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Real Program Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Program Manager-Online Assistance AIG Travel Assist, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 24, 2011 $85,000
Program Assistant Alaska Inc. Medley, FL Apr 17, 2015 $58,707
Education Program Assistant Mississippi College Clinton, MS Dec 20, 2010 $53,678
Environmental Health and Safety Program Assistant Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA May 14, 2012 $51,000
MBA Program Assistant Montclair State University Montclair, NJ Dec 17, 2012 $49,483
Program Assistant Global Sport Solutions, LLC Newnan, GA Apr 04, 2016 $46,728
Program Assistant New York University School of Medicine New York, NY Sep 08, 2015 $45,000
Program Assistant Long Island University New York, NY Sep 15, 2009 $45,000
Program Assistant Georgetown University Washington, DC Jul 18, 2011 $44,616
Program Assistant, Department of Psychology Kean University Union, NJ Feb 16, 2013 $43,292
Program Assistant American Geophysical Union Washington, DC Sep 01, 2010 $43,200
Program Assistant United States Institute of Peace Washington, DC Nov 15, 2009 $42,584
Program Assistant The Ohio State University Columbus, OH Jun 18, 2010 $41,974
Program Assistant for Big Ideas Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX Apr 01, 2015 $41,740
Program Assistant U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. Stamford, CT Apr 18, 2016 $39,841
Program Assistant for International Affairs American Planning Association Washington, DC Jun 18, 2015 $39,229
Program Assistant Smartpower, Inc. Tempe, AZ Nov 01, 2011 $39,208
Program Assistant, Office of The President Inter-American Dialogue Washington, DC Jan 05, 2016 $38,500
Program Assistant, Department of Psychology Kean University Union, NJ Feb 16, 2010 $38,487
Program Assistant Fund for The City of New York, Inc. New York, NY Oct 06, 2014 $37,566
Program Assistant Fund for The City of New York, Inc. New York, NY Oct 13, 2014 $37,566
Program Assistant New York State Health Foundation New York, NY Oct 01, 2010 $37,000
Program Assistant The Ohio State University Columbus, OH Feb 06, 2010 $33,717
Legal Program Assistant City of Atlanta-Office of The City Solicitor Atlanta, GA Oct 01, 2011 $33,397
Program Assistant The World Justice Project Washington, DC Sep 29, 2010 $33,280
Program Assistant Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association, Inc. Fredericksburg, VA Apr 01, 2016 $33,058
Program Assistant U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. Ellicott City, MD Apr 01, 2016 $33,058
Program Assistant Wynona's House Child Advocacy Center Newark, NJ Oct 01, 2010 $32,500
Program Assistant U.K. Elite Soccer, Inc. Seattle, WA Apr 01, 2016 $32,495

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Program Assistant

Average Yearly Salary
$39,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$28,000
Min 10%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Amazon
Highest Paying City
Anchorage, AK
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.0 years
How much does a Program Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Program Assistant in the United States is $40,031 per year or $19 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $28,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $56,000.

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Top Skills for A Program Assistant

  1. Data Entry
  2. Administrative Assistance
  3. Safe Environment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed data entry and maintained a database for tracking hospital-acquired infections.
  • Provided executive and administrative assistance to national headquarters Haiti Assistance Program staff as well as the Haiti field delegation.
  • Support individuals with developmental disabilities Maintain a clean and safe environment Assist in recreation and leisure activities
  • Assisted in calculating documents in order for child care providers to receive monetary reimbursement.
  • Reviewed financial information; converting data to general ledger system; obtaining supplementary information for preparing financial statements.

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Top 10 Best States for Program Assistants

  1. Alaska
  2. North Dakota
  3. Connecticut
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Washington
  7. Oregon
  8. Minnesota
  9. Nevada
  10. New York
  • (72 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (213 jobs)
  • (237 jobs)
  • (336 jobs)
  • (379 jobs)
  • (184 jobs)
  • (490 jobs)
  • (89 jobs)
  • (914 jobs)

Top Program Assistant Employers

Jobs From Top Program Assistant Employers

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