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Direct Support Professional Careers

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a direct support professional. For example, did you know that they make an average of $14.17 an hour? That's $29,469 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 Professional Do

There are certain skills that many direct support professionals 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a direct support professional, we found that a lot of resumes listed 16.9% of direct support professionals included direct support, while 15.2% of resumes included intellectual disabilities, and 12.1% of resumes included personal care. 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 professional job title. But what industry to start with? Most direct support professionals actually find jobs in the non profits and health care industries.

How To Become a Direct Support Professional

If you're interested in becoming a direct support professional, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 24.7% of direct support professionals have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.8% of direct support professionals have master's degrees. Even though some direct support professionals 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 professional. When we researched the most common majors for a direct support professional, 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 professional resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.

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

What is the right job for my career path?

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Average Salary
$29,469
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
36%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
35,259
Job Openings

Direct Support Professional Career Paths

Top Careers Before Direct Support Professional

Cashier
22.7 %

Top Careers After Direct Support Professional

Cashier
10.8 %

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 Professional

Direct Support Professionals in America make an average salary of $29,469 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $74,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $11,000 per year.
Average Salary
$29,469

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Mountain View, CA
Salary Range30k - 76k$48k$48,349
Eugene, OR
Salary Range26k - 63k$41k$41,136
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range25k - 63k$41k$40,505
Natick, MA
Salary Range28k - 55k$39k$39,258
Enfield, CT
Salary Range22k - 43k$31k$31,379
Austin, TX
Salary Range19k - 48k$31k$30,966
$17k
$76k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Direct Support Professional, Peer Recovery Specialist
Direct Support Professional, Peer Recovery Specialist
Danville Pittsylvania Community Services
Danville Pittsylvania Community Services
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$25,16203/31/2021
$25,162
Direct Support Professional
Direct Support Professional
Bridges of Montana LLC
Bridges of Montana LLC
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$27,13103/31/2021
$27,131
Direct Support Professionals
Direct Support Professionals
Diversified Family Services
Diversified Family Services
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$27,13103/31/2021
$27,131
Day Habilitation Direct Support Professionals (DSP)
Day Habilitation Direct Support Professionals (DSP)
P.I.L.O.T. Services
P.I.L.O.T. Services
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$30,26203/31/2021
$30,262
Direct Support Professional-Residential
Direct Support Professional-Residential
Danville Piitsylvania Community Services
Danville Piitsylvania Community Services
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$25,16203/31/2021
$25,162
See More Recent Salaries

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Direct Support Professional 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 Professional. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Direct Support Professional Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Direct Support Professional 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

Direct Support Professional Demographics

Gender

female

70.6 %

male

24.8 %

unknown

4.6 %

Ethnicity

White

66.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

11.7 %

Black or African American

11.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

67.1 %

French

12.3 %

German

2.6 %
See More Demographics

Direct Support Professional Education

Majors

Nursing
13.4 %

Degrees

Certificate

26.7 %

High School Diploma

23.1 %

Bachelors

22.9 %
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Direct Support Professional

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, 16.9% of direct support professionals listed direct support on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and integrity are important as well.

Best States For a Direct Support Professional

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a direct support professional. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, California, Arizona, and Massachusetts. Direct support professionals make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $47,068. Whereas in California and Arizona, they would average $44,628 and $40,701, respectively. While direct support professionals would only make an average of $39,389 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. Massachusetts

Total Direct Support Professional Jobs:
2,290
Highest 10% Earn:
$73,000
Location Quotient:
1.6
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. California

Total Direct Support Professional Jobs:
6,174
Highest 10% Earn:
$101,000
Location Quotient:
1.35
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. Washington

Total Direct Support Professional Jobs:
1,541
Highest 10% Earn:
$73,000
Location Quotient:
1.35
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
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How Do Direct Support Professional Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

DSPNovember 2019

4.0

Zippia Official LogoDSPNovember 2019

What do you NOT like?

The scheduling can change at anytime. There are always shortage of workers to cover shifts especially overnight shifts. You can get stuck on a shift any given day. The people you work with has more issues than the people you are hired for to take care of. They can be lazy!!!

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

4.0

What do you like the most about working as Direct Support Professional?

The individual's are entertaining and loving. They do have their moments like any other person but when the individuals are having a good day it shows. They always look for validation from the staff when they are doing a good job. There is always something different to expect everyday. You really have to love what you do because it can be stressful but also rewarding. Show More

What do you NOT like?

The staffing is the least of my favorite. The staff can be lazy and do not can not accept change Show More

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Top Direct Support Professional Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ direct support professionals and discovered their number of direct support professional opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that National Mentor Holdings was the best, especially with an average salary of $26,407. Bethesda Thrift Shop follows up with an average salary of $28,787, and then comes Support Solutions with an average of $28,614. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a direct support professional. The employers include Young Adult Institute, Devereux Foundation, and KenCrest

1. National Mentor Holdings
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$26,407
Direct Support Professionals Hired: 
1,201+
2. Bethesda Thrift Shop
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$28,787
Direct Support Professionals Hired: 
720+
3. Support Solutions
3.2
Avg. Salary: 
$28,614
Direct Support Professionals Hired: 
700+
4. Dungarvin
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$26,218
Direct Support Professionals Hired: 
558+
5. D&S Community Services
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$25,741
Direct Support Professionals Hired: 
504+
6. Devereux Foundation
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$26,241
Direct Support Professionals Hired: 
417+

Direct Support Professional Videos

Updated October 2, 2020