Working as a Direct Support Associate

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a direct support associate. For example, did you know that they make an average of $12.28 an hour? That's $25,541 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 36% and produce 1,185,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Direct Support Associate Do

There are certain skills that many direct support associates 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 interpersonal skills, physical stamina and detail oriented.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a direct support associate, we found that a lot of resumes listed 22.0% of direct support associates included intellectual disabilities, while 15.8% of resumes included independent living, and 13.1% of resumes included emotional support. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the direct support associate job title. But what industry to start with? Most direct support associates actually find jobs in the agriculture and non profits industries.

How To Become a Direct Support Associate

If you're interested in becoming a direct support associate, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 26.8% of direct support associates have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.9% of direct support associates have master's degrees. Even though some direct support associates have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a direct support associate. When we researched the most common majors for a direct support associate, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on direct support associate resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a direct support associate. In fact, many direct support associate jobs require experience in a role such as cashier. Meanwhile, many direct support associates also have previous career experience in roles such as customer service representative or certified nursing assistant.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

Average Salary$25,541
Job Growth Rate36%

Direct Support Associate Jobs

Direct Support Associate Career Paths

Top Careers Before Direct Support Associate
Cashier20.0 %
Show More
Top Careers After Direct Support Associate
Cashier10.5 %
Show More

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Direct Support Associate

Direct Support Associates in America make an average salary of $25,541 per year or $12 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $57,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $11,000 per year.
Average Salary
$25,541

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Direct Support Personnel (DSP)
Direct Support Personnel (DSP)
Hirelevel
Hirelevel
07/31/2020
07/31/2020
$20,87007/31/2020
$20,870
Residential Direct Support Associate
Residential Direct Support Associate
Easter Seals New Hampshire
Easter Seals New Hampshire
07/29/2020
07/29/2020
$27,13107/29/2020
$27,131
Residential Direct Support Associate-Per Diem
Residential Direct Support Associate-Per Diem
Easter Seals New Hampshire
Easter Seals New Hampshire
07/29/2020
07/29/2020
$27,13107/29/2020
$27,131
Residential Direct Support Associate-Per Diem
Residential Direct Support Associate-Per Diem
Easter Seals New Hampshire
Easter Seals New Hampshire
07/29/2020
07/29/2020
$27,13107/29/2020
$27,131
Direct Support Profess II Pnmp
Direct Support Profess II Pnmp
Texas Health & Human Services Commission
Texas Health & Human Services Commission
07/26/2020
07/26/2020
$25,96907/26/2020
$25,969
See More Recent Salaries

Calculate your salary

Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

Direct Support Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

67.0 %

Male

23.8 %

Unknown

9.2 %
Ethnicity

White

67.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

11.3 %

Black or African American

11.1 %
Show More
Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0 %

French

14.5 %

German

5.3 %
Show More

Direct Support Associate Education

Schools

Western Illinois University

10.7 %

Colorado State University

8.9 %

Kaplan University

8.3 %

Ashford University

7.7 %
Show More
Majors

Nursing

14.9 %

Business

11.9 %

Medical Assisting Services

11.5 %

Psychology

8.4 %
Show More
Degrees

High School Diploma

30.6 %

Bachelors

26.8 %

Associate

18.9 %

Diploma

9.2 %
Show More

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Direct Support Associate

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Direct Support Associate

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, 22.0% of direct support associates listed intellectual disabilities on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and physical stamina are important as well.

Best States For a Direct Support Associate

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a direct support associate. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Alaska, California, and Massachusetts. Direct support associates make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $59,716. Whereas in Alaska and California, they would average $43,162 and $35,819, respectively. While direct support associates would only make an average of $35,068 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Hawaii

Total Direct Support Associate Jobs:
27
Highest 10% Earn:
$113,000
Location Quotient:
1.41
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Direct Support Associate Jobs:
35
Highest 10% Earn:
$57,000
Location Quotient:
2.7
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New York

Total Direct Support Associate Jobs:
938
Highest 10% Earn:
$80,000
Location Quotient:
2.52
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
View Full List

Direct Support Associate Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a direct support associate. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless 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 Write a Direct Support Associate Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless 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.

View Detailed Information

How Do Direct Support Associate Rate Their Jobs?

Working as a Direct Support Associate? Share your experience anonymously.
Rate
Do you work as a Direct Support Associate?
Rate how you like work as Direct Support Associate. It's anonymous and will only take a minute.
Rate

Top Direct Support Associate Employers

1. The Mosaic Company
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$44,025
Direct Support Associates Hired: 
650+
2. RHA Health Services
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$31,445
Direct Support Associates Hired: 
218+
3. Evergreen
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$37,499
Direct Support Associates Hired: 
36+
4. Resources for Human Development
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$33,677
Direct Support Associates Hired: 
17+
5. Walmart
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$33,061
Direct Support Associates Hired: 
16+
6. Easter Seal New Hampshire
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$32,847
Direct Support Associates Hired: 
16+

Direct Support Associate Videos

Recently Added Direct Support Associate Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020