NEW! Direct Support Professionals Career Development Program (DSP)

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide necessary support and services to people with disabilities of all ages including support related to employment. They work with individuals with physical, mental or developmental disabilities who need support with daily tasks and community engagement. DSPs offer support in the following ways:

  • Assist clients with daily tasks including cooking, shopping, attending appointments, housekeeping, and medication management.
  • Instruct and motivate individuals to perform specific tasks independently.
  • Provide guidance on essential life skills including interpersonal interactions, seeking assistance, financial management, and more.
  • Maintain records of a clients’ personal information, which includes encompassing casework notes, daily activities, medication logs, financial documents, and behavioral assessments.

DSP Qualifications

  • Candidates must be able to work within the community or in a home-based setting.
  • DSPs should exhibit patience and empathy under stressful circumstances.
  • Interpersonal and excellent communication skills with all levels of personnel are a must.
  • Good moral character, dependability and maintaining confidentiality are required.
  • Proficiency with educational technology and observation skills for reporting are essential.
  • Candidates must have the strength and agility to handle physical aspects of the job including lifting, carrying, pushing, and bending.

Program Eligibility

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and legally eligible to work in the United States.
  • Individuals with high school diplomas or equivalent who pass the background check, are eligible.
  • Current high school seniors are eligible but need to be 18 years old at the internship commencement.
  • A valid New Jersey driver’s license with fewer than 5 points in moving violations is required.
  • No previous experience is necessary.

Program Highlights

  • Receive comprehensive training on DSP competencies at no cost to students.
  • Earn up to six (6) college credits applicable to an Associate of Arts Degree in Sociology at Bergen Community College*.
  • Access employer connections for internships and employment as a DSP.
  • Eligible DSP candidates receive a up to $5,000 stipend.
  • Establish a career pathway for professional growth in the human and social service industry.
*Students will earn six (6) credits applicable to an Associate of Arts Degree in Sociology at Bergen Community College if desired upon enrollment in the matriculated program.

Program Components

  • Complete DSP competency modules, including the DSP certificate course, CDS training, Mental Health, PersonAbility, and Basic Life Support.
  • Successfully finish two college-level courses.
  • Participate in required orientations and events.
  • Complete a minimum 80-hour internship with a minimum of eight (8) hours per week for 10 weeks.
  • Work as a DSP for at least one year committing to a minimum of 20 hours per week after completing the program.

Program Application

  • We are currently accepting applications for the Summer 2024 cohort starting from June 2024.
  • Fill out the application including your resume.
  • After the application is submitted, selected candidates will receive an invitation for an in-person interview.


The Direct Support Professionals Career Development Program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.