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Become A Direct Support Professional

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Working As A Direct Support Professional

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • $103,178

    Average Salary

What Does A Direct Support Professional 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 Professional

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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Do you work as a Direct Support Professional?

Direct Support Professional Jobs

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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Direct Care Aide 2.2 years
Direct Care Worker 2.1 years
Support Staff 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 19.9%
Internship 4.0%
Server 3.1%
Teller 3.0%
Volunteer 2.7%
Waitress 2.5%
Manager 2.2%
Top Employers After
Cashier 10.3%
Internship 3.7%
Server 3.3%

Do you work as a Direct Support Professional?

Direct Support Professional Demographics

Gender

Female

75.0%

Male

22.9%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

68.1%

Hispanic or Latino

12.0%

Black or African American

9.8%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.3%

French

13.1%

German

3.2%

Chinese

2.2%

Arabic

2.1%

Mandarin

1.9%

Russian

1.9%

Somali

1.6%

Carrier

1.6%

Portuguese

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Hmong

1.1%

Dakota

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Italian

1.0%

Swahili

0.8%

Korean

0.8%

Hindi

0.5%

Ukrainian

0.5%

Yoruba

0.5%
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Direct Support Professional Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.0%

Kaplan University

8.9%

Ashford University

6.9%

Liberty University

6.5%

Minnesota State University - Mankato

5.9%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.1%

Kirkwood Community College

4.4%

Grand Canyon University

4.0%

University of Southern Maine

4.0%

University of Northern Iowa

3.7%

Community College of Rhode Island

3.7%

Winona State University

3.6%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

3.6%

Suffolk County Community College

3.5%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.4%

Walden University

3.4%

Rasmussen College

3.3%

Minnesota State University - Moorhead

3.1%

University of North Dakota

3.1%

Southwest Tennessee Community College

3.0%
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Majors

Nursing

11.8%

Psychology

11.6%

Business

10.0%

Medical Assisting Services

9.3%

Criminal Justice

8.4%

Human Services

6.5%

Nursing Assistants

6.1%

Health Care Administration

5.9%

Social Work

5.8%

General Studies

4.7%

Liberal Arts

2.9%

Sociology

2.3%

Cosmetology

2.1%

Education

2.1%

Electrical Engineering

2.0%

Human Development

1.9%

Accounting

1.8%

Pharmacy

1.7%

Medical Technician

1.7%

Biology

1.6%
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Degrees

Other

36.4%

Bachelors

27.6%

Associate

16.0%

Masters

8.2%

Certificate

6.9%

Diploma

3.1%

License

1.2%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Direct Support Professional Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Director, Production Commercialization DSP Platforms DTS, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Jan 05, 2016 $190,000 -
$210,000
DSP Design Manager Cavium Networks Sunnyvale, CA Mar 14, 2011 $169,000
DSP Design Manager Wavesat USA Inc. San Mateo, CA Oct 01, 2010 $165,000
Director, Product Commercialization, DSP Platforms DTS, Inc. Los Gatos, CA May 01, 2013 $147,368 -
$194,500
DSP Design Manager Cavium Networks Sunnyvale, CA Mar 14, 2011 $140,650 -
$170,000
DSP Design Manager Wavesat USA Inc. San Mateo, CA Oct 01, 2010 $121,680 -
$165,000
Coordinator/Direct Support Professional Friendship Home, Inc. Norwell, MA Aug 01, 2015 $33,809

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Top Skills for A Direct Support Professional

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  1. Independent Living
  2. Personal Care
  3. Direct Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Promote independent living skills and daily actively engaging individuals in community settings based off of person center plans.
  • Served as direct support professional providing housekeeping and personal care for disabled clients.
  • Direct Support Professional Cared for individuals with severe to profound mental retardation Assisted individuals with daily activities i.e.
  • Provided assistance to developmentally disabled adults in a community residential environment to acquire and maintain independent living skills.
  • Helped adolescents with developmental disabilities develop independent-living skills relating to social skills, communication, and academics in a residential setting.

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Top 10 Best States for Direct Support Professionals

  1. Alaska
  2. Vermont
  3. Rhode Island
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Maine
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Connecticut
  8. Iowa
  9. Nebraska
  10. Oregon
  • (33 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (54 jobs)
  • (93 jobs)
  • (703 jobs)
  • (144 jobs)
  • (202 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (87 jobs)

Top Direct Support Professional Employers

Jobs From Top Direct Support Professional Employers

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AHRC New York City Direct Support Professionals Recruitment Video

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