Become a Direct Support Professional
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Overview

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide assistance to people with all of their personal needs and help them participate in programs that strengthen their life skills and ensure a safe and comfortable environment. There are several titles at OPWDD that make up our team of Direct Support Professionals. They are described as follows:

Direct Support Assistant (DSA)

As a DSA for OPWDD you will help people by assisting them to learn and develop daily living skills and habits; you will help them take care of their own personal needs; you will advocate for, encourage, guide and teach people to express personal choice. DSAs ensure community integration, health and safety and a comfortable home environment. The supports and services you will provide depend on the specific abilities of the person being served, and the nature of the setting where the activities are taking place.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • You must have a high school diploma or an equivalency, such as a GED, and you must successfully complete a DSA traineeship.
  • You must have a valid license to operate a motor vehicle in New York State. You will be required to maintain a valid driver's license throughout your employment as a DSA.
  • You must meet physical and agility standards.
  • You will be required to have a medical examination before you are appointed and you are responsible for the payment of the clinical laboratory fee. Please note: The medical exam includes psychological and drug screening.
  • You must be cleared through the New York State Child Abuse Registry, the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs and the Medicaid Fraud Prevention and Detection database.
  • A criminal background check and fingerprinting will be conducted. You will be responsible for the processing fee.
  • Contact Your Local OPWDD Human Resource Office.

Developmental Disabilities Secure Care Treatment Aide (DDSCTA)

An OPWDD DDSCTA treats and cares for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in intensive treatment units in Valley Ridge in Central New York and at the Sunmount Developmental Disabilities State Operations Office (DDSOO) in Tupper Lake.

As a DDSCTA, you provide a safe, secure and stable environment where people can receive the therapeutic care needed for stabilization and treatment.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • You must have a high school diploma or an equivalency, such as a GED, and you must successfully complete a DDSCTA traineeship.
  • You must have a valid license to operate a motor vehicle in New York State. You will be required to maintain a valid driver's license throughout your employment as a DDSCTA.
  • You must meet physical and agility standards.
  • You will be required to have a medical examination before you are appointed and you are responsible for the payment of the clinical laboratory fee. Please note: The medical exam includes psychological and drug screening.
  • You must be cleared through the New York State Child Abuse Registry, the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs and the Medicaid Fraud Prevention and Detection data base.
  • A criminal background check and fingerprinting will be conducted. You will be responsible for the processing fee.
  • Contact Your Local OPWDD Human Resource Office.

Hear from Direct Support Professionals

When you begin a career with OPWDD, you may come for the job, but you will stay for the people. Don't take our word for it; listen to what other Direct Support Professionals have to say about a career that makes a positive daily impact in the life of someone else.

Alicia

"You can develop a career at OPWDD...you can take exams to be promoted...as a DSP at OPWDD, there is a plethora of opportunities." -- Alicia Southern, Habilitation Specialist I

Wes

"As far as only needing a high school education [to be a DSP], it's incredible -- not to mention the effect you have on the people who you work with. Most of the time when I was working in the home, it wasn't like I was going to work. It was like I was going to my second home." -- Wesley King, Team Treatment Leader

Lana

"You have to be a caring person, someone who genuinely cares about anybody....This is not just a job anymore; it's a lifestyle." -- Lana Shea, Developmental Assistant I