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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
  • $26,000

    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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Average Length of Employment
Developmental Aide 4.5 years
Direct Care Aide 2.3 years
Direct Care Worker 2.3 years
Support Staff 2.1 years
Top Careers Before Direct Support Professional
Cashier 21.8%
Internship 3.8%
Server 3.5%
Volunteer 2.5%
Waitress 2.2%
Assistant 1.9%
Manager 1.9%
Top Careers After Direct Support Professional
Cashier 11.4%
Server 3.7%
Internship 3.2%
Driver 2.1%
Assistant 2.0%

Do you work as a Direct Support Professional?

Average Yearly Salary
$26,000
Show Salaries
$11,000
Min 10%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Mountain View, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
2.1 years
How much does a Direct Support Professional make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Direct Support Professional in the United States is $26,985 per year or $13 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $11,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $64,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Direct Support Professional Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
DSP Design Manager Wavesat USA Inc. Oct 01, 2010 $121,680 -
$165,000
Coordinator/Direct Support Professional Friendship Home, Inc. Aug 01, 2015 $33,809
Direct Support Professional Northeast Arc, Inc. Nov 01, 2012 $33,795
Senior Direct Support Professional Heartshare-Human Services of New York Jun 15, 2015 $30,639
Direct Support Professional Northeast Arc, Inc. Nov 01, 2015 $25,584

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Top Skills for A Direct Support Professional

  1. Independent Living
  2. Personal Care
  3. Direct Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided assistance to developmentally disabled adults in a community residential environment to acquire and maintain independent living skills.
  • Administer bedside personal care such as ambulation and personal hygiene assistant to individuals with physical aggression and court ordered placement.
  • Direct Support Professional: Responsible for the care and supervision of children and adolescent residential clients with intellectual disabilities.
  • Support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Provide Direct Care to residents with developmental disabilities and assist with medication bathing meal preparation and transportation in a group home setting

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Direct Support Professionals

  1. Hawaii
  2. Alaska
  3. Nevada
  4. California
  5. Arizona
  6. Louisiana
  7. Mississippi
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Utah
  10. New Mexico
  • (16 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (563 jobs)
  • (79 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (703 jobs)
  • (62 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)

Direct Support Professional 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 80,150 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.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Direct Support Professional Resume

View Resume Examples

Direct Support Professional Demographics

Gender

Female

70.6%

Male

24.8%

Unknown

4.6%
Ethnicity

White

68.3%

Hispanic or Latino

11.6%

Black or African American

10.5%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

67.1%

French

12.3%

German

2.6%

Somali

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Russian

1.5%

Portuguese

1.4%

Chinese

1.3%

Mandarin

1.3%

Italian

1.3%

Swahili

0.9%

Hmong

0.9%

Tagalog

0.9%

Japanese

0.9%

Carrier

0.8%

Hindi

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Yoruba

0.6%

Dakota

0.6%

Polish

0.6%
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Direct Support Professional Education

Schools

Kaplan University

10.6%

Ashford University

7.8%

Minnesota State University - Mankato

6.1%

Nassau Community College

5.6%

Liberty University

5.5%

Community College of Philadelphia

5.2%

Remington College

5.1%

Cuyahoga Community College

5.0%

Suffolk County Community College

5.0%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

4.7%

Bryant and Stratton College

4.4%

Rasmussen College

4.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

Community College of Rhode Island

3.8%

Kirkwood Community College

3.8%

University of Southern Maine

3.8%

Southwest Tennessee Community College

3.8%

Grand Canyon University

3.8%

Middle Tennessee State University

3.8%
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Majors

Nursing

15.3%

Psychology

11.4%

Medical Assisting Services

11.4%

Business

9.3%

Criminal Justice

7.8%

Health Care Administration

6.4%

Human Services

6.1%

General Studies

4.7%

Social Work

4.6%

Nursing Assistants

4.0%

Liberal Arts

3.2%

Sociology

2.2%

Cosmetology

2.0%

Pharmacy

1.8%

Accounting

1.7%

Medical Technician

1.7%

Education

1.7%

Biology

1.7%

Early Childhood Education

1.5%

Human Development

1.4%
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Degrees

High School Diploma

33.4%

Bachelors

24.7%

Associate

17.9%

Diploma

9.0%

Certificate

8.8%

Masters

4.8%

License

1.3%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

What Is It Like To Work As A Direct Support Professional

4.0

DSP

November 13, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Direct Support Professional

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!!!

4.0

Direct Support Professional

November 12, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Direct Support Professional.. Show More

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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Updated May 18, 2020