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Direct Support Professionals (DSP)

Helping people with intellectual or developmental disabilities become independent and integrated into their community.

Quick Facts

This occupation is expected to grow rapidly and is projected to have large numbers of job openings.

High School Diploma

Typical Required Education

On-the-job Training

Employers usually provide training

$14.86 hourly
$30,920 annual

Average salary rates in NYS.

This career is right for you, if..

You want a fulfilling and rewarding career
You enjoy teaching and coaching people to be the best they can be
You love building relationships with people
You thrive in challenging situations that require problem solving
You want to gain real world experience working in the healthcare field


A Direct Support Professional, or Direct Support Care Professional, cares for individuals experiencing developmental or intellectual disabilities or illnesses.

Their main duties include helping patients complete basic housekeeping tasks, transporting patients to appointments or other social outings and keeping patients safe from potential health hazards in their surrounding environment. 

Direct Support Professionals work with individuals with mental or developmental disabilities by creating behavior plans, teaching self-care skills, cooking meals and doing laundry. 

Key Responsibilities

Career Information



Meet DSPs

The following videos provide insight into DSP career across NYS.

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Education & Training

While not all employers require it, a Direct Support Professional usually needs a high school diploma or equivalent. 

A Direct Support Professional may be trained in housekeeping tasks or learn basic safety techniques, including how to respond to emergencies. If state certification is required, specific training may be needed.

Training on basic nutrition, infection control, reading and recording vital signs and personal hygiene can be completed on-the-job or via specialized programs. In addition, clients may have individualized preferences that require Direct Support Professionals to take time to become comfortable before working with them.

DSP Training Opportunities

Most employers offer on the job training, however training direct care and professional development certifications can help you be more prepared to join the workforce as a DSP. 

Career Pathways

The following careers are great advancement options for people with DSP experience. 

Careers you can do with only DSP experience

House Manager

$55,000 per year, $26.44 per hour

Home Health Aide (HHA)

$33,150 per year, $15.94 per hour
High Need

Care Coordinator

$41,080 per year, $19.75 per hour
High Need

Careers that require a two-year degree

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

$47,050 per year, $22.62 per hour (BLS)*

Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)

$57,750 per year, $27.77 per hour (BLS)*

Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)

$60,410 per year, $29.04 per hour (BLS)*

Careers that require more than two-years of education

Local DSP Employers

Find DSP employers near your and connect with them to learn about their DSP openings. 

If you’re an employer of DSPs, make sure you organization is listed by creating an account  View more >

Helpful Resources

The following resources are for DSPs and people interested in becoming a DSP.

Stay Informed & Get Employed

Stay informed with DSP career information and let employers send you employment opportunities. 

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