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Become A Direct Care Specialist

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Working As A Direct Care Specialist

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • $85,437

    Average Salary

What Does A Direct Care Specialist Do

Personal care aides help clients with self-care and everyday tasks. They also provide social supports and assistance that enable clients to participate in their communities.

Duties

Personal care aides typically do the following:

  • Care for and assist clients with cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s or mental illness
  • Engage clients by talking to or playing games with them, or by taking them for walks
  • Help clients with hygiene-related tasks, such as bathing, brushing teeth, and going to the bathroom
  • Transfer clients to and from a bed or a wheelchair
  • Complete housekeeping tasks, such as changing bed linens, washing dishes, and cleaning living areas
  • Help prepare and plan meals
  • Assist with organizing a client’s schedule and schedule appointments
  • Arrange transportation to and from doctors’ offices or the store
  • Help clients pay bills or manage money
  • Shop for personal items and groceries
  • Assist clients in going to work and participating in their communities

Personal care aides—also called caregivers and personal attendants—help clients with self-care and daily activities. Personal care aides perform tasks that are similar to those of home health aides. However, personal care aides cannot provide any medical services, whereas home health aides may provide basic medical services.

Direct support professionals work with people who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. They may help create a behavior plan and teach self-care skills, such as doing laundry or cooking meals. They may also provide other personal assistance services.

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How To Become A Direct Care Specialist

Most personal care aides are trained on the job. There are no formal education requirements for personal care aides, but most aides have a high school diploma.

Education

Although there are no formal education requirements for personal care aides, employers may prefer candidates with a high school diploma.

Training

Aides may be trained on the job by registered nurses, other personal care aides, or their direct employer. They are trained in specific tasks, such as how to work with a client who has a cognitive impairment and how to assist a client in preparing meals.

Most employers require aides to have training or certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Personal care aides must follow specific rules and protocols to help take care of clients. They must pay close attention to a client’s medical condition, quickly noting any changes that may require assistance from medical personnel.

Integrity. Personal care aides should make clients feel comfortable when the aides tend to personal activities, such as helping a client bathe. In addition, personal care aides must be dependable and trustworthy so that clients and their families can rely on them.

Interpersonal skills. Sometimes clients are in extreme pain or distress, and aides must be sensitive to their emotions. Aides must be compassionate, and they must enjoy helping people.

Physical stamina. Personal care aides should be comfortable performing physical tasks. They often need to lift or turn clients who have a disability.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Personal care aides may be required to complete a formal training program depending on the state where they work, and state laws vary widely in terms of the requirements that must be met. Some states and organizations may conduct background checks on prospective aides. A competency evaluation also may be required to ensure that the aide can perform certain tasks.

There are no federal training requirements for personal care aides. For specific state requirements, contact the state’s health board.

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Direct Care Specialist Jobs

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Direct Care Specialist Career Paths

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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Direct Care Aide 2.2 years
Direct Care Worker 2.1 years
Residential Worker 2.1 years
Residential Aide 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 12.7%
Internship 7.2%
Volunteer 4.8%
Teller 3.7%
Manager 3.1%
Server 2.8%
Top Employers After
Internship 7.4%
Cashier 5.4%
Specialist 3.4%
Teacher 3.4%
Teller 3.1%

Do you work as a Direct Care Specialist?

Direct Care Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

67.8%

Male

30.4%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

65.7%

Hispanic or Latino

11.7%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.3%

French

17.2%

Mandarin

6.9%

Russian

6.9%

Chinese

3.4%

German

3.4%

Yoruba

3.4%

Cantonese

3.4%

Dakota

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%
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Direct Care Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.9%

University of Oklahoma

9.7%

Hibbing Community College

7.3%

University of Louisville

6.5%

South University

5.6%

Columbus State Community College

4.8%

Western Michigan University

4.8%

University of Cincinnati

4.0%

Ashford University

4.0%

Oklahoma City Community College

4.0%

Rasmussen College

4.0%

Northeastern State University

4.0%

Mesabi Range College

4.0%

Ball State University

4.0%

Community College of Allegheny County

4.0%

University of Akron

3.2%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.2%

Texas State University

3.2%

Stark State College

3.2%

Niagara County Community College

3.2%
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Majors

Psychology

11.4%

Business

10.8%

Nursing

9.2%

Criminal Justice

9.0%

Social Work

8.3%

Medical Assisting Services

7.2%

Nursing Assistants

4.7%

Health Care Administration

4.7%

Human Services

4.7%

School Counseling

3.6%

Education

3.6%

Sociology

3.1%

General Studies

2.9%

Liberal Arts

2.9%

Counseling Psychology

2.5%

Human Development

2.5%

Early Childhood Education

2.2%

Elementary Education

2.2%

Communication

2.2%

Medical Technician

2.2%
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Degrees

Other

33.6%

Bachelors

29.8%

Masters

14.1%

Associate

14.0%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

2.2%

License

0.9%

Doctorate

0.9%
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Top Skills for A Direct Care Specialist

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  1. Independent Living
  2. Direct Care Services
  3. Personal Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed the day to day supervision of 15 clients, ensuring clients are properly cared for and mastering independent living goals.
  • Assign household chores to residents, ensure that chores are complete, and ensure that the residents complete daily personal care.
  • Ensured cleanliness of facilities through inspections, reports and adherence to safety standards.
  • Assisted adults with developmental disabilities in achieving personal and service goals (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly goals).
  • Responded to incidents and delivered appropriate crisis intervention in emergency situations.

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Top Direct Care Specialist Employers

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Jobs From Top Direct Care Specialist Employers

Direct Care Specialist Videos

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