Direct Support Professional Career Growth

A committed and engaged workforce is essential to the quality of care and overall success of your organization. Direct support professionals (DSPs) play a vital role in helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities become integrated and engaged in their communities. However, high rates of DSP turnover end up having a devastating impact on building relationships, trust, and care with persons served.

An effective way to solve DSP turnover is by providing DSPs with career advancement opportunities. According to the 2021 Relias DSP Survey report, 41% of DSPs are more likely to stay at their organization if they are provided strong career advancement opportunities.

To help you provide meaningful career growth opportunities and engage your DSP workforce, Relias has curated resources on DSP career growth tracks, peer mentoring, and how to evolve DSPs into leaders.

Bookmark this page to stay up to date on DSP career growth strategies.

2021 DSP Survey Report

Hear from 679 DSPs across 43 states on what they want in a career growth program.

Identify DSP Career Development Tracks

After recognizing your organization’s need to foster career growth for your DSPs, you may wonder what career opportunities are even available. Relias has partnered with ANCOR to develop the Certificates of Achievement, featuring a series of 10 professional development plans created just for DSPs. Each certificate focuses on a strategic area identified by Relias and ANCOR to be most impactful for career development and organizational success. The certificate tracks are:

  • Emerging Leader
  • Peer Mentor
  • Community Employment Specialist
  • Safety Specialist
  • Aging Population Specialist
  • Employee Wellness Specialist
  • Customized Self-Employment Specialist
  • Human Resources Professional
  • Behavior Specialist
  • Community Inclusion Specialist

Learn More About the Certificates of Achievement

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New Certificates of Achievement

Hear IDD industry experts Arlene Bridges (Relias) and Gabrielle Sedor (ANCOR) share the importance of peer mentoring and a step-by-step plan for implementation at your organization

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Certificates of Achievement Fact Sheet

Learn more about the 10 different certificate tracks and our partnership with ANCOR.

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Staff Development in IDD: How ANCOR’s Certificates of Achievement can Improve DSP Retention

DSP turnover consumes a tremendous about of time and resources. Relias and ANCOR have joined forces to empower DSPs with the skills training they need, using the ANCOR Certificates of Achievement.

Implement a Peer Mentoring Program

In addition to a lack of career advancement opportunities, limited support from supervisors and colleagues contributes to DSP turnover. Your organization can address both pain points by implementing a peer mentoring program where new DSPs receive guidance and support from high-performing DSPs in your organization. This strategy not only adds an extra rung to the career ladder, but also improves your staff’s skillset and ability to help clients.

Implementing a peer mentoring program takes planning and commitment. Read more about this process below:

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11 Steps to Implementing a Peer Mentoring Program

Hear IDD industry experts Arlene Bridges (Relias) and Gabrielle Sedor (ANCOR) share the importance of peer mentoring and a step-by-step plan for implementation at your organization.

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Increasing DSP Retention Through Peer Mentoring Programs

In this on-demand webinar, Arlene Bridges, an IDD business expert, gives you concrete steps that will help you develop better, more committed DSPs.

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11 Steps to Implementing a Peer Mentoring Program

A peer mentorship program for your DSPs is a great way to increase employee engagement and retention. Get started on a DSP peer mentoring program with these steps.

Train Your DSPs to Become Leaders

DSPs crave career growth. Give them the learning and development tools they need to grow professionally at your organization. The following resources can help you evolve your DSPs into leaders:

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Transitioning from DSP to Supervisor

This course helps new supervisors understand challenges they will face in their new roles while providing strategies for managing them.

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New Jersey’s Alternatives, Inc. Saves Resources and Develops Staff

Learn how Alternatives, Inc. Uses Relias training to develop and retain DSPs.

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Developing Managers as Leaders

Hear Jan Wilson, the Director of Learning and Design Outcomes at Relias, discuss practical solutions and valuable advice on how to build your leadership pipeline by developing the talent you already have.

Additional Resources

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What Makes a Successful DSP, and How Do You Find More?

DSP retention starts at the hiring process. Learn what makes a successful DSP candidate.

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Best Practices in Promoting DSP Career Growth

This resource outlines actionable career growth strategies IDD organizations can use to develop and retain their workforce.

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Best Practices for Training DSPs

Learn how to improve the quality of care and success of your organization through effectively training your DSPs.

Offer Your DSPs Career Growth Opportunities

Give your DSPs the professional development and career growth opportunities they crave. By partnering with Relias, you can create career ladders and succession planning for every role in your organization. The LMS includes professional development courses for DSPs, IDD supervisors, and senior management, covering topics like: 

  • Peer Mentoring 
  • Going from DSP to Supervisor 
  • Leadership and Communication 
  • Teambuilding  
  • Change Management 

Want to see other features of the LMS? Schedule a 1:1 consultation with our training experts to see how the LMS can improve career and professional development at your organization. 

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