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Working as a Direct Support Specialist

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 $14.76 an hour? That's $30,699 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 Specialist Do

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 physical stamina, compassion and integrity.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a direct support specialist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 14.1% of direct support specialists included mental health, while 13.1% of resumes included direct support, and 10.2% of resumes included intellectual disabilities. 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 specialist job title. But what industry to start with? Most direct support specialists actually find jobs in the construction and hospitality industries.

How To Become a Direct Support Specialist

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 35.3% of direct support specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 10.0% 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 high school diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on direct support specialist resumes include associate degree degrees or master's degree 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 sales associate.

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Average Salary$30,699
Job Growth Rate36%

Direct Support Specialist Jobs

Direct Support Specialist 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 Specialist. 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 Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Direct Support Specialist 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 Specialist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Direct Support Specialist

Cashier
15.3%

Top Careers After Direct Support Specialist

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 Specialist

Direct Support Specialists in America make an average salary of $30,699 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $55,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $17,000 per year.
Average Salary
$30,699

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range32k - 89k$54k$54,094
Salary Range24k - 66k$41k$40,513
Salary Range22k - 61k$37k$37,382
Salary Range22k - 49k$33k$33,050
Salary Range25k - 39k$32k$31,729
Salary Range20k - 46k$31k$31,116
$18k
$89k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Direct Support Specialist-Human Services Technician
Direct Support Specialist-Human Services Technician
State of Minnesota
State of Minnesota
10/24/2020
10/24/2020
$31,82710/24/2020
$31,827
Direct Support Specialist (Experience Required) (Virtual Interview)
Direct Support Specialist (Experience Required) (Virtual Interview)
West Bay Residential Services, Inc.
West Bay Residential Services, Inc.
09/27/2020
09/27/2020
$32,87009/27/2020
$32,870
Crisis Outreach Assessment Team (Coat) Direct Support Crisis Specialist-Portland/Newberg Area
Crisis Outreach Assessment Team (Coat) Direct Support Crisis Specialist-Portland/Newberg Area
Oregon Research Institute
Oregon Research Institute
09/22/2020
09/22/2020
$35,86809/22/2020
$35,868
Direct Support Specialist (Stable Employment & Great Benefits)
Direct Support Specialist (Stable Employment & Great Benefits)
State of Minnesota
State of Minnesota
09/01/2020
09/01/2020
$31,30509/01/2020
$31,305
Direct Support Specialist (Experience Required) (Virtual Interview)
Direct Support Specialist (Experience Required) (Virtual Interview)
West Bay Residential Services, Inc.
West Bay Residential Services, Inc.
08/30/2020
08/30/2020
$32,87008/30/2020
$32,870
See More Recent Salaries

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Direct Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

female

68.2%

male

26.8%

unknown

4.9%

Ethnicity

White

71.1%

Hispanic or Latino

13.8%

Black or African American

7.2%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.5%

French

21.8%

Polish

5.5%
See More Demographics

Direct Support Specialist Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

35.3%

High School Diploma

20.8%

Associate

19.8%

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Direct Support Specialist

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Direct Support Specialist

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, 14.1% of direct support specialists listed mental health on their resume, but soft skills such as physical stamina and compassion are important as well.

Best States For a Direct Support Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a direct support specialist. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, California, Louisiana, and Arizona. Direct support specialists make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $78,177. Whereas in California and Louisiana, they would average $62,231 and $62,005, respectively. While direct support specialists would only make an average of $58,264 in Arizona, 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. Hawaii

Total Direct Support Specialist Jobs:
53
Highest 10% Earn:
$122,000
Location Quotient:
1.23
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. Arizona

Total Direct Support Specialist Jobs:
296
Highest 10% Earn:
$127,000
Location Quotient:
0.98
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. Alaska

Total Direct Support Specialist Jobs:
76
Highest 10% Earn:
$62,000
Location Quotient:
2.61
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
View Full List

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

At Zippia, we went through countless direct support specialist 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 Write a Direct Support Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless direct support specialist 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

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Top Direct Support Specialist Employers

1. Community Services Group
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$32,767
Direct Support Specialists Hired: 
82+
2. Child & Family Center
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$39,457
Direct Support Specialists Hired: 
34+
3. Frontier Health
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$39,850
Direct Support Specialists Hired: 
33+
4. The Mosaic Company
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$44,025
Direct Support Specialists Hired: 
31+
5. Clinton County
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$39,583
Direct Support Specialists Hired: 
28+
6. Volunteers of America Oklahoma
3.3
Avg. Salary: 
$34,885
Direct Support Specialists Hired: 
19+

Direct Support Specialist Videos

Recently Added Direct Support Specialist Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020