Direct support specialists provide proper care and assistance to people with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. They work in various types of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities, but may also provide home health care.
The responsibilities of a direct support specialist revolve around helping patients meet their basic needs, including bathing, eating, dressing, and moving around. However, providing care often involves so much more than that. Hence, direct support specialists are also responsible for doing light housekeeping, planning meals, accompanying patients to appointments, and encouraging self-help activities. Furthermore, they are also responsible for coordinating with patients' other providers to ensure proper care and service.
When hiring for this role, employers require a high school diploma and a valid driver's license. Some may also require related work experience, but this is not always the case. Moreover, employers look for candidates that are compassionate, patient, highly communicable, and have a basic understanding of patient care. A good level of physical fitness is also a common prerequisite for this job, as it requires a lot of pushing, lifting, bending, and doing housework.
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Direct Support Specialist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $15.12 an hour? That's $31,455 a year!
Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 36% and produce 1,185,800 job opportunities across the U.S.
There are certain skills that many Direct Support Specialists 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 Physical stamina.
If you're interested in becoming a Direct Support Specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 43.8% of Direct Support Specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.8% of Direct Support Specialists have master's degrees. Even though some Direct Support Specialists 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 Specialist. When we researched the most common majors for a Direct Support Specialist, we found that they most commonly earn Bachelor's Degree degrees or Associate Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Direct Support Specialist resumes include High School Diploma degrees or Diploma degrees.
You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Direct Support Specialist. In fact, many Direct Support Specialist jobs require experience in a role such as Cashier. Meanwhile, many Direct Support Specialists also have previous career experience in roles such as Customer Service Representative or Certified Nursing Assistant.