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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
  • $27,000

    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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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Developmental Aide 4.5 years
Direct Care Worker 2.3 years
Direct Care Aide 2.3 years
Support Worker 2.3 years
Support Staff 2.1 years
Top Careers Before Direct Support Associate
Cashier 20.0%
Internship 4.0%
Volunteer 3.5%
Assistant 2.4%
Server 2.3%
Waitress 2.1%
Top Careers After Direct Support Associate
Cashier 10.5%
Internship 3.8%
Server 2.9%
Supervisor 2.3%
Assistant 2.2%
Manager 2.0%

Do you work as a Direct Support Associate?

Average Yearly Salary
$27,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$18,000
Min 10%
$27,000
Median 50%
$27,000
Median 50%
$27,000
Median 50%
$27,000
Median 50%
$27,000
Median 50%
$27,000
Median 50%
$27,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Access: Supports for Living
Highest Paying City
Concord, NH
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.1 years
How much does a Direct Support Associate make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Direct Support Associate in the United States is $27,076 per year or $13 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $18,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $38,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Direct Support Associate?

Have you worked as a Direct Support Associate? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Direct Support Associate.

Top Skills for A Direct Support Associate

  1. Independent Living
  2. Personal Care
  3. Developmental Disabilities
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised and trained individuals diagnosed with mental illness and intellectual disabilities on independent living skills by use of behavior objectives.
  • Provide personal care and companionship to Intellectual disabled individuals
  • Delivered the quality of life for individual who are challenged with issues related to intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Direct Support Personnel Direct Support Personnel for adults with disabilities.
  • Aided in guidance of daily living activities, personal hygiene, skill building, rehabilitation, vocational activities and interpersonal relationships.

Direct Support Associate Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 3,511 Direct Support Associate resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Direct Support Associate Resume

View Resume Examples

Direct Support Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

61.9%

Male

21.7%

Unknown

16.4%
Ethnicity

White

67.1%

Hispanic or Latino

11.3%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

14.5%

German

5.3%

Japanese

3.9%

Russian

2.6%

Somali

2.6%

Hindi

2.6%

Mandarin

2.6%

Italian

2.6%

Swahili

1.3%

Dutch

1.3%

Chinese

1.3%

Gujarati

1.3%

Dakota

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Tagalog

1.3%

Urdu

1.3%

Arabic

1.3%

Thai

1.3%
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Direct Support Associate Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.7%

Ashford University

7.8%

Western Illinois University

7.8%

Kaplan University

7.5%

Indiana State University

6.6%

Colorado State University

5.6%

University of Nebraska at Kearney

5.0%

Des Moines Area Community College

4.7%

Metropolitan Community College

4.7%

John Tyler Community College

3.8%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.4%

Walden University

3.4%

Bellevue University

3.4%

Capella University

3.4%

Community College of Philadelphia

3.1%

University of Pennsylvania

3.1%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

3.1%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.8%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

2.8%

The Academy

2.8%
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Majors

Nursing

15.3%

Business

12.6%

Medical Assisting Services

10.3%

Psychology

9.6%

Criminal Justice

6.5%

Human Services

6.0%

Health Care Administration

5.7%

General Studies

5.1%

Social Work

5.0%

Nursing Assistants

3.6%

Cosmetology

2.6%

Education

2.2%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

Pharmacy

2.1%

Medical Technician

2.1%

Management

2.0%

Sociology

2.0%

Communication

1.8%

Accounting

1.8%

Biology

1.6%
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Degrees

Other

34.7%

Bachelors

27.9%

Associate

17.3%

Masters

7.5%

Certificate

7.5%

Diploma

3.5%

License

1.2%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Part Time
Internship
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Top Direct Support Associate Employers

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