DSP Careers: Choosing a Direct Support Professional Job
What you need to know to become a DSP. If you want a meaningful job with good pay, benefits, shifts that fit your lifestyle, & professional growth, read on.
Choosing a Direct Support Professional Career
Are you considering a career as a Direct Support Professional (DSP)? If so, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for a meaningful job that offers good pay and benefits, shifts that fit with your lifestyle, and professional growth, then you might want to consider working as a DSP. In this blog, you’ll discover everything you need to know about whether a DSP career is right for you.
What is a Direct Support Professional?
Direct Support Professionals are committed to enriching the lives of individuals with disabilities through dedicated support and care. They work with people with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities, helping them participate as fully as possible in their communities. DSPs teach independent living skills, plan community-based activities, and implement individual program plans.
Direct support professionals perform a variety of tasks, from household chores and meal preparation to helping people bathe and dress themselves and take their medications. They offer emotional support and companionship, accompanying people throughout the day, and transporting them to appointments, activities, and errands. They also offer employment-related support.
Direct Support Professional Job Description
While Direct Support Professional job descriptions vary, patience, creative problem-solving, and flexibility are essential as you help individuals explore the world and realize their hopes and dreams.
Duties and Responsibilities
Some of the duties and responsibilities of DSPs include:
- Helping individuals develop friendships and other relationships.
- Increasing community engagement and building natural support networks.
- Obtaining social services related to employment, education, and recreation. These might include job coaching, employment support, and transportation to and from activities.
- Supporting each person based on their personal plan, which includes help with daily living activities such as:
- Medical oversight
- Mobility assistance
- Wound care
- Running errands
- Food planning and preparation
- Hygiene and bathroom assistance
- Housekeeping tasks (light cleaning, maintaining a clean environment, laundering clothes)
- Documenting and reporting goals, challenges, successes, and deviations from an individual’s baseline.
- Advocating for rights and services, such as employment-related accommodations and modifications.
Salary depends on your region, but the average pay for a DSP nationally is $15.42/hour as of April 2023. However, many organizations are increasing their base pay for their DSPs to attract and retain great talent. For example, Bello Machre recently increased DSP starting salary to $20.50 to honor our dedicated and passionate team with the economic security and mobility they deserve.
How can you become a Direct Support Professional?
With care jobs in high demand and a shortage of support providers, now is a great time to begin your journey to become a DSP. If you choose to do so, you’ll know that you’re making a difference every day.
Direct Support Professionals bring a positive attitude and the ability to resolve problems and conflict effectively. Patience and a passion for providing direct support are critical. DSP positions do require a high school diploma or GED, a current driver’s license, and a genuine interest in working with people with disabilities. You likely are looking for a meaningful and stable job that offers a variety of shift and availability options.
Training and certification
All DSPs must complete CPR/First Aid/AED certification, MANDT Certification, and on-the-job training. Some organizations offer and pay for caregiver training programs to develop and grow the skills of their hired Direct Support Professionals. In these, you will learn the basics of home-based and residential care to gain and expand your skills and qualifications.
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) also offers a number of training programs, many of which are offered by care organizations. And, you can check out your local hospital or Red Cross, many of which offer caregiver training programs that could give you a head start as you pursue this career.
DSP apprenticeship programs are also available across the country. Participants receive paid on-the-job training and classroom instruction within a variety of community-based settings, while earning professional certification through the NADSP.
DSP Career Path
You might be considering a career as a Direct Support Professional because of your desire to help others and support your community while making money. As a DSP there are many different ways to care for people – from living in group residences with program participants to going directly to an individual’s home to provide loving care and assistance. This career also serves as a great foundation for pursuing a future in nursing, physical and occupational therapy, social work, management, and teaching.
The critical role a Direct Support Professional plays in care
If you choose the Direct Support Professional career path, your commitment and dedication will make a meaningful and positive difference to an individual, their loved ones, and the community as a whole.
Learn more about a DSP career with Bello Machre.