Updated: Apr 12
If you’re just starting your career, are considering a career change, or simply aren’t sure which professional path is right for you, becoming a direct support professional (DSP) is a great way to explore your interests—and build important job skills. DSPs work with individuals who have intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDDs) to help them lead richer and more independent lives. It’s a rewarding role that also comes with transferable job skills.
DSPs gain professional development that is particularly valuable in industries like medicine, K-12 education, psychology, social work, hospitality, customer service, and many more. Here are some of the skill sets you’ll gain as a DSP:
Good communication and collaboration. Offering high-quality support for people who have IDDs is a team effort. In order to care and advocate for your client, you’ll develop effective communication skills not only with them, but with their family members, coworkers, supervisors, and medical staff. As a result, you’ll find you can speak to and collaborate with professionals in a variety of capacities.
Patience and poise under pressure. Staying calm when things get hectic and being patient with clients when they are having a difficult time is one of the most important direct support professional job skills. These are qualities that come with experience, and you may be surprised at how well working as a DSP prepares you for showing “grace under fire” later in your professional (and personal!) life.
Attention to detail. Part of being a successful DSP means anticipating what your client will need at all times and being ready to provide it. It also means being observant and knowing your client well enough to be able to notice when something is wrong, even when the signs are subtle.
Problem-solving. No two days are the same when you work as a DSP, and challenges can pop up at any time. For example, you might be taking your client to the park, and they might experience a sensory overload that renders them unable to listen or function. You’ll sometimes need to come up with creative yet appropriate strategies for coping with difficult situations, and this is an ability that will serve you well in any profession.
Get Hot Job Skills With Progressive Lifestyles
Progressive Lifestyles, Inc. is dedicated to providing innovative support services for people with disabilities. Our mission is to provide supportive and caring residential opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Oakland County, Michigan. Our direct care roles will help you develop hot job skills that will jumpstart your career!
A primary focus of our organization is to interact with the individuals we support through the “Culture of Gentleness” model. We seek to create a positive environment to help them feel safe and valued while maximizing praise, limiting demands, maintaining consistent structure, and reducing stress during transitions.
We are hiring! No experience? No worries! You bring a warm heart and we'll teach you how to be a fantastic caregiver plus give you skills that you can use to further your career. Apply now!