Video | Direct Support Professional

Direct Support

A Direct Support Professional (DSP) is someone who works directly with people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. DSPs aim to assist people in realizing their full potential. They help people become integrated and engaged in their community.

About Direct Support Professionals

DSPs support people with disabilities to participate in their communities, including through employment. They also provide other services, such as help with activities of daily living.

Historically, DSPs primarily served as caregivers for the people they supported. In the past few decades, however, the needs of those served began to change, and the roles of DSPs began to change as well. Today, the role of a DSP goes beyond caregiving and focuses more broadly on supporting people with disabilities to participate fully in their communities, live in integrated settings, and seek Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE).

Key Tasks

  • Provide support in various settings
  • Job coaching
  • Provide emotional support
  • Administer medication
  • Mobility assistance
  • Access resources and opportunities in the community

Key Skills

  • Observant and Intuitive
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Work well with teams
  • Ability to remain calm in difficult situations
  • Dependability

Education & Certifications

  • Registered Behavior Technician
  • High school degree or GED

Local College/ University Programs

  • N/A

Industry Sector Employers

  • The Friendship House
  • St. Joseph’s Center
  • The Human Resources Center, Inc
  • Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
  • The Arc of Northeastern PA
  • Keystone Independent Living
  • Allied Services