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Become A Direct Support Worker

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Working As A Direct Support Worker

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • $23,429

    Average Salary

What Does A Direct Support Worker 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 Worker

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
Group Home Worker 2.5 years
Direct Care Aide 2.2 years
Support Worker 2.2 years
Direct Care Worker 2.1 years
Residential Worker 2.1 years
Top Careers Before Direct Support Worker
Cashier 17.9%
Internship 5.3%
Manager 3.4%
Assistant 3.2%
Volunteer 2.6%
Server 2.6%
Top Careers After Direct Support Worker
Cashier 6.5%
Teller 4.2%
Internship 4.2%
Technician 2.7%

Do you work as a Direct Support Worker?

Direct Support Worker Demographics

Gender

Female

77.0%

Male

19.4%

Unknown

3.6%
Ethnicity

White

60.8%

Black or African American

16.0%

Hispanic or Latino

12.0%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

Carrier

16.7%

French

16.7%

Direct Support Worker Education

Schools

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

7.4%

Grambling State University

7.4%

South Louisiana Community College

6.6%

Wichita State University

6.6%

Delgado Community College

6.6%

Remington College

6.6%

University of Phoenix

5.7%

University of Kansas

5.7%

Nicholls State University

5.7%

Southeastern Louisiana University

5.7%

Liberty University

4.1%

Southern University and A & M College

4.1%

Unitech Training Academy - Lafayette

4.1%

Washburn University of Topeka

4.1%

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

3.3%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.3%

Bossier Parish Community College

3.3%

Pittsburg State University

3.3%

University of Maine at Presque Isle

3.3%

Trident Technical College

3.3%
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Majors

Nursing

13.7%

Psychology

12.3%

Business

8.9%

Medical Assisting Services

8.6%

Criminal Justice

7.5%

Nursing Assistants

7.2%

Social Work

6.8%

Health Care Administration

6.2%

Human Services

4.8%

Liberal Arts

4.1%

General Studies

3.8%

Education

3.1%

Sociology

2.1%

Accounting

2.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.7%

Communication

1.7%

Mental Health Counseling

1.4%

Biology

1.4%

Occupational Therapy

1.4%

Family And Consumer Sciences

1.4%
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Degrees

Other

34.6%

Bachelors

26.0%

Associate

14.2%

Masters

10.4%

Certificate

7.6%

Diploma

5.6%

License

1.3%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Direct Support Worker

  1. Medical Appointments
  2. Personal Care
  3. Independent Living
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Scheduled and accompanied clients to medical appointments.
  • Cared for patients by changing bed linens, washing and ironing laundry, cleaning, or assisting with their personal care.
  • Assisted Direct Care Supervisor in assessments of individual(s) abilities, interests and need areas toward independent living.
  • Aided multiple individuals with physical/mental disabilities-Provided care and understanding in stressful situations-Planned outings and activities assisting with each individual's personal goals/needs
  • Supported persons with daily living such as recreation, Laundry, finances, meal preparation, on-the-job support, and transportation.

How Would You Rate Working As a Direct Support Worker?

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Top Direct Support Worker Employers

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