Posted on December 28, 2021
You may have heard the term “Direct Support Professional” before and wondered exactly what it meant. Direct Support Professionals are healthcare and human services workers who play an essential role in helping others. In this article, we’ll explain what a Direct Support Professional is, what they do, their responsibilities, and also the skills, characteristics, and qualifications needed to become a Direct Support Professional. First, let’s focus on what a Direct Support Professional is.
What is a Direct Support Professional?
Direct Support Professionals—also known as DSPs—are individuals who work to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). DSPs help those with disabilities to perform tasks, but focus on teaching those individuals how to perform those tasks on their own as well. In this way, DSPs differ from caregivers who do everything themselves. DSPs are more focused on helping people learn how to do things independently.
What Does a Direct Support Professional Do?
DSPs support people with IDD in a variety of ways, but each of them is in an effort to assist the person to be able to do things independently and become integrated into their community. The responsibilities of DSPs are wide-ranging and depend on the needs of the specific individual they are supporting. However, here are some of the main job duties of a Direct Support Professional:
Now that we’ve covered what a DSP is and what they do, let’s look at some of the skills, characteristics, and qualifications needed to become a DSP.
What Are the Skills, Characteristics, and Qualifications Needed to Be a DSP?
While most everyone thinks that helping others is important, that doesn’t mean they are looking to do that as a full-time job. Being a DSP can be a demanding—yet incredibly fulfilling—career and requires a person with specific abilities in order to be successful. Here are some of the main skills and characteristics that make for a great DSP:
There are also certain qualifications and requirements to become a DSP. These include:
On-the-job training is very common for DSPs, so even if you don’t have specific certifications or training yet, you can still be hired. Requirements also vary depending on the state you live in and the specific employer you are applying to work for.
If you’re interested in becoming a DSP and starting a career in the human services field, consider applying with us at Penn-Mar today! Our mission is to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to live courageous lives full of self-determination, independence, and equity. Our approach is innovative, person-centered, and successful. Through meaningful employment, community inclusion, and residential choice, the people Penn-Mar supports are empowered to live their best lives.
If you’re interested in a human services career and want to make a difference in the lives of others, consider filling out an application to join our team! You can also get involved by learning more about our services, making a donation, or signing up to volunteer with us today!