Direct care counselors are experts that deal with young people and individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities. They may help these people conduct everyday duties, provide transportations for errands like doctor appointments, and monitor medication intake. These professionals usually work in the government, group homes, or day program sites. It is a gratifying job of supporting others who are less fortunate.

The primary responsibility of a direct care counselor is to promote well-being by way of therapy, behavioral interventions, and skill-building. They also help clients know and understand their rights. Work locations for direct care counselors vary depending on their specialization. You will typically find them in treatment centers, recovery clinics, or youth organizations.

Generally, direct care counselors have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Having completed courses in algebra, home economics, and health can be very useful for this role. Some employers searched for applicants with bachelor's degrees or with 1-3 years of experience working with disabled populations. Shifts for this role can extend more than the regular working hours.

What Does a Direct Care Counselor Do

There are certain skills that many direct care counselors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed detail oriented, integrity and interpersonal skills.

How To Become a Direct Care Counselor

If you're interested in becoming a direct care counselor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 50.3% of direct care counselors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 8.4% of direct care counselors have master's degrees. Even though most direct care counselors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Direct Care Counselor

Direct Care Counselor Career Paths

Top Careers Before Direct Care Counselor

Average Salary for a Direct Care Counselor

Direct Care Counselors in America make an average salary of $33,422 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $49,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Direct Care Counselor Salary
$33,422 Yearly
$16.07 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?

How To Become a Direct Care Counselor
How To Become a Direct Care Counselor Career Overview

States With The Most Direct Care Counselor Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active direct care counselor jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where direct care counselors earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Direct Care Counselor Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
2New York3,397$33,603
7North Carolina1,765$28,042
15New Jersey1,169$32,520
22South Carolina767$25,097
37New Mexico323$32,882
39West Virginia307$32,711
40New Hampshire284$28,601
43North Dakota233$27,574
44Rhode Island219$31,247
46South Dakota170$33,422

Direct Care Counselor Education

Direct Care Counselor Majors

Direct Care Counselor Degrees


50.3 %


18.3 %

High School Diploma

14.0 %

Top Skills For a Direct Care Counselor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.1% of direct care counselors listed crisis intervention on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and integrity are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Direct Care Counselor Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Direct Care Counselor templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Direct Care Counselor resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Direct Care Counselor Demographics

Direct Care Counselor Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among direct care counselors, 68.5% of them are women, while 31.5% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among direct care counselors is White, which makes up 64.0% of all direct care counselors.

  • The most common foreign language among direct care counselors is Spanish at 57.6%.

Online Courses For Direct Care Counselor That You May Like

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Essentials of Palliative Care

This course starts you on your journey of integrating primary palliative care into your daily lives. You will learn what palliative care is, how to communicate with patients, show empathy, and practice difficult conversations. You will learn how to screen for distress and provide psychosocial support. You will learn about goals of care and advance care planning and how to improve your success with having these conversations with patients. Finally, you will explore important cultural consideratio...

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care provides invaluable help for patients living with serious or life-limiting illness and their family caregivers. Palliative care should be part of healthcare services to improve quality of life, the ability to tolerate and benefit from treatment and improve survival. In this course, you will learn about the nature of suffering and how this concept can help you understand the experience of people living with serious illness. Next, you will learn skills to more effectively communica...

Symptom Management in Palliative Care

This course should be taken after the Essentials of Palliative Care course and continues building your primary palliative care skills - communication, psychosocial support and goals of care. You will learn how to screen, assess, and manage both physical and psychological symptoms. You will explore common symptoms such as pain, nausea, fatigue, and distress and learn specific treatments. You will continue to follow Sarah and Tim's experience and learn cultural competencies critical for optimal sy...

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Top Direct Care Counselor Employers

Most Common Employers For Direct Care Counselor

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Mary's Center$34,432$16.5526
2The Guild for Exceptional Children$33,541$16.1333
4D.A. Blodgett - St. John's$31,548$15.1769
5The Center for Family Support$31,186$14.9988
6Pride Health$31,070$14.9425
7Wheeler Clinic$31,037$14.9284
8Brian's House$31,022$14.9136

Direct Care Counselor Videos