What is a Direct Support Professional

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 $14.41 an hour? That's $29,981 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.

Learn more about what a Direct Support Professional does

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 28.8% of Direct Support Professionals have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.2% 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?

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

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. The Mosaic Company Jobs (283)
  2. Bios Jobs (212)
  3. SRVS Jobs (267)
  4. Resources for Human Development Jobs (267)
  5. RHA Health Services Jobs (226)
Average Salary
$29,981
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
36%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
115,251
Job Openings
resume document icon

Don't Have A Professional Resume?

0 selections

Direct Support Professional Career Paths

Top Careers Before Direct Support Professional

Top Careers After Direct Support Professional

Direct Support Professional Jobs You Might Like

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 $29,981 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $49,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $18,000 per year.
Average Salary
$29,981
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Direct Support Professional? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
See More Salary Information

Calculate your salary

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

12 Direct Support Professional Resume Examples

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 to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Direct Support Professional Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. The Mosaic Company Jobs (283)
  2. Bios Jobs (212)
  3. SRVS Jobs (267)
  4. Resources for Human Development Jobs (267)
  5. RHA Health Services Jobs (226)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Direct Support Professional Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Direct Support Professional templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Direct Support Professional resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume
Direct Support Professional Resume

Direct Support Professional Demographics

Direct Support Professional Gender Statistics

female

75.6 %

male

24.4 %

Direct Support Professional Ethnicity Statistics

White

68.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

12.5 %

Black or African American

9.4 %

Direct Support Professional Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

67.1 %

French

12.3 %

German

2.6 %
Job Openings

Find the best Direct Support Professional job for you

0 selections
0 selections

Direct Support Professional Jobs You Might Like

Direct Support Professional Education

Direct Support Professional Majors

10.4 %
9.8 %

Direct Support Professional Degrees

High School Diploma

29.7 %

Bachelors

28.8 %

Associate

20.2 %
Job Openings

Find the best Direct Support Professional job for you

0 selections
0 selections

Direct Support Professional Jobs You Might Like

Online Courses For Direct Support Professional That You May Like

Able-Minded - Mental Health and People with Intellectual Disability
edX (Global)

This health course will focus on the mental health issues of people with intellectual disability. You will learn about the complexities of diagnosing mental health issues in people with intellectual disabilities and the types of disorders, assessments, screenings, and treatments used. There will also be a special focus on the legal and ethical complexities in health practice with patients who often require substituted consent. This course is open to anyone, but will be of particular relevance...

Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability: Circles of Care and Education
coursera

This course is about caring for and educating children (and youth) with severe to profound intellectual disability. We use the idea of 'circles' to position the child at the center of the many levels of support needed. Around the child are circles of care and education - such as the parents, family, friends, caregivers, educators, health care workers and others such as neighbors, business owners and community members. Each one has an important role to play in the life of a person with an intelle...

Through My Eyes - Intellectual Disability Healthcare around the World
edX (Global)

This health course focuses on the stories of people with intellectual disabilities around the world, as well as their families and supporters. You will learn about the challenges and aid received in healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities, including their experience of specific syndromes and communication difficulties, and how they stay healthy. Learners will also hear from family members as they discuss complex care, rare syndromes, early death, and planning for independence. The...

Show More Direct Support Professional Courses
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 California, Texas, Arizona, and Massachusetts. Direct Support Professionals make the most in California with an average salary of $46,867. Whereas in Texas and Arizona, they would average $39,317 and $39,133, respectively. While Direct Support Professionals would only make an average of $37,199 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. California

Total Direct Support Professional Jobs:
6,174
Highest 10% Earn:
$92,000
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

2. Massachusetts

Total Direct Support Professional Jobs:
2,290
Highest 10% Earn:
$61,000
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

3. Nevada

Total Direct Support Professional Jobs:
482
Highest 10% Earn:
$70,000
Location Quotient:
1.48
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
Full List Of Best States For Direct Support Professionals

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

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

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 ResCare was the best, especially with an average salary of $26,087. National Mentor Holdings follows up with an average salary of $27,399, and then comes Bethesda Lutheran Homes and Services with an average of $28,868. 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 System One, Dungarvin, and Keystone Human Services

Most Common Employers For Direct Support Professional

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Direct Support Professional SalaryAverage Salary
1$29,891
2$29,833
3$29,277
4$28,868
5$27,654
6$27,627

Direct Support Professional Videos

Becoming a Direct Support Professional FAQs

Do you need a degree to be a direct support professional?

No, you do not need a degree to be a direct support professional. Direct support professionals may want to at least receive CPR training and understand basic, life-saving techniques. They should also know and understand how to administer the principles behind several home-based medical care techniques.

Training is often all that is strictly required for direct support professionals. Many companies have specific training curriculums for this position but may also want their direct support division to get certifications in other medical practices. Direct support professionals should also understand basic communicative techniques and be fluent in the documentation for proper care.

Learn more about this question

How do I get DSP certified?

You get DSP certified by finding an accredited program in your state specifically designed to ensure you've gained proper baseline training. DSP certifications can vary from state to state, so be sure that you understand the requirements for your current location.

You'll also want to verify that the program you're entering is accepted by the company you're looking to join.

DSP certifications can cost anywhere from $90 to $125 on average and require approximately 70 to 100 hours based on the type of certification or state requirements. This is often expected to be completed within 18 to 24 months, with the first half being completed within 9 to 12 months and the second half of the requirement to be completed in the following year.

Some states, such as California, may offer DSP training for free.

Learn more about this question

How long is DSP training?

DSP training can take anywhere from 70 hours at minimum to a maximum of 100 hours, though the final training time does rely heavily on the state. There are different tiers involved in training, such as regulatory legal training, behavioral analysis and support, and developmental disabilities, along with a slew of others.

The test is required to apply for employment and must be taken in the first year and second year to ensure comprehensive retention of information and practical use.

Attendance to training courses is mandatory, and some programs may penalize a participant for missing as few as six hours per course run. If an applicant fails the course, they must retake it before being considered for the next one or employment.

Learn more about this question

Is direct support professional a good job?

Yes, direct support professional is a good job. In fact, most direct support professionals report a more fulfilling experience. While many have also reported that income and stress do not balance each other out, the individuals they assist mostly provide a reason to continue doing the work as they watch them progress.

Most direct support professionals have a decent work-life balance, benefits, and time off for recuperation and relaxation. Most direct support professionals, however, report wanting to continue their career to services coordinators or social service job placement specialists, which they are qualified for after certain employment experience has been reached.

Learn more about this question

What is a direct support professional certification?

A direct support professional certification is a license that allows an individual to work with others who have developmental hurdles. Direct support professionals must undergo a state-mandated course and test to receive their certification. This certification is necessary to ensure the individual has the appropriate knowledge and practices to care for their clients.

Most state certifications are only 70 hours long, though there are a few that are more intensive and can require more than 100 hours of dedicated certification time. This certification requires DSPs to have documented and verified continuing education credits, or CEUs, of at least eight hours every two years to maintain their license.

Learn more about this question

Search For Direct Support Professional Jobs

0 selections
0 selections