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What does a Direct Support Professional do?

Learn all about Direct Support Professional duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Direct Support Professional.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A Direct Support Professional is a worker who provides assistance and support to people with developmental disabilities. They help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They also provide transportation, accompany clients to appointments, and provide support in the community.

Direct Support Professional job duties include:

  • Providing personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and using the toilet
  • Preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards
  • Helping with homework or other schoolwork
  • Providing transportation to appointments or activities
  • Supervising recreational activities
  • Providing medication reminders
  • Performing light housekeeping tasks
  • Assist with money management and budgeting
  • Helping to develop and implement treatment plans
  • Attending doctor’s appointments with the individual

Direct Support Professional Job Requirements

A direct support professional (DSP) is a worker who provides assistance to people with developmental disabilities. DSPs help people with activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, and bathing. They also provide transportation, accompany clients to appointments, and provide support in the community.

Most DSPs have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education or certification. Many DSPs have experience working with people with developmental disabilities, although this is not always required.

Direct Support Professional Skills

  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Flexibility
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Physical strength
  • Endurance
  • First aid
  • CPR

Related: Top Direct Support Professional Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Direct Support Professional

A Direct Support Professional (DSP) is a person who provides direct care and support to people with developmental disabilities. DSPs are also known as caregivers, personal care attendants, or home health aides.

Becoming a DSP requires completing a training program approved by the state in which you live. Many states require DSPs to be certified in CPR and first aid, and to have a criminal background check. Some states also require DSPs to have a driver's license.

Once you have completed your training and met all state requirements, you can begin working as a DSP. Most DSPs work in group homes or day programs for people with developmental disabilities. Some DSPs also work in private homes, providing in-home support to people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Working as a DSP can be both challenging and rewarding. It is important to remember that each person you support is an individual with unique needs and preferences. Getting to know the people you support and understanding their needs is essential to providing quality care.

Related: Direct Support Professional Resume Example

Related: Direct Support Professional Interview Questions (With Example Answers)