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Become A Direct Support Associate

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Working As A Direct Support Associate

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • $20,980

    Average Salary

What Does A Direct Support Associate 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 Support Associate

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 Support Associate jobs

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Direct Support Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

72.8%

Male

24.8%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

82.3%

Hispanic or Latino

8.0%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

2.0%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.4%

French

14.5%

German

5.8%

Japanese

4.3%

Russian

4.3%

Swahili

2.9%

Somali

2.9%

Mandarin

2.9%

Swedish

1.4%

Dutch

1.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Ukrainian

1.4%

Dakota

1.4%

Carrier

1.4%

Hindi

1.4%

Tagalog

1.4%

Arabic

1.4%

Italian

1.4%

Tamil

1.4%
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Direct Support Associate Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.2%

Winona State University

10.8%

Ashford University

8.7%

Western Illinois University

6.6%

Kaplan University

5.8%

Des Moines Area Community College

5.4%

Indiana State University

5.4%

University of Nebraska at Kearney

5.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.0%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

4.6%

Liberty University

3.7%

Walden University

3.3%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

3.3%

Bryant and Stratton College

3.3%

Capella University

3.3%

Garden City Community College

3.3%

Colorado State University

3.3%

Iowa State University

2.9%

Winston-Salem State University

2.5%

Strayer University

2.5%
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Majors

Business

13.3%

Psychology

12.1%

Nursing

10.6%

Medical Assisting Services

8.8%

Criminal Justice

8.0%

Social Work

6.4%

Health Care Administration

6.0%

Human Services

5.6%

General Studies

4.6%

Nursing Assistants

3.7%

Accounting

2.6%

Communication

2.3%

Sociology

2.2%

Management

2.1%

Pharmacy

2.1%

Cosmetology

2.0%

Education

2.0%

Human Development

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.8%

Human Resources Management

1.8%
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Degrees

Other

34.4%

Bachelors

28.9%

Associate

16.2%

Masters

9.5%

Certificate

6.6%

Diploma

3.3%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Top Skills for A Direct Support Associate

DevelopmentalDisabilitiesDirectSupportPersonalHygieneItemsPersonalCareDailyLivingActivitiesCPRIntellectualDisabilitiesVitalSignsBedLinensSupportBandagesCleanDressingsPatientCareDailyLivingSkillsEmotionalSupportDirectCareIntercomSystemsSignalLightsAdministerMedicationBloodPressureMealPreparation

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Top Direct Support Associate Skills

  1. Developmental Disabilities
  2. Direct Support
  3. Personal Hygiene Items
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide people with developmental disabilities or mental health issues training in the everyday skills they need to live on their own.
  • Direct support officer in charge of fifteen to twenty man teams independently deployed to numerous Middle Eastern and pacific countries.
  • Restock patient rooms with personal hygiene items, such as towels, washcloths, soap, or toilet paper.
  • Care for patients by changing bed linens, washing and ironing laundry, cleaning, or assisting with their personal care.
  • Explained basic life skills to residents with disabilities using PowerPoint presentations and assisted residents with daily living activities.

Top Direct Support Associate Employers

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Direct Support Associate Videos

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