Skip to main contentSkip to footer content

Direct Support Professional

Learn more about this free program today.


Ready to apply now?


Turn Your Calling into a Career

You have a passion for helping others. We do, too! Mentorship, high quality education and real-world experience are at the core of what we do at DCC.

What's more, our three-tiered Direct Support Professional (DSP) microcredential program is free of charge thanks to a partnership with the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), so you can focus on what’s important – building your skill set and capacity to serve! Note, funding priority will be given to people currently working in the direct support professional field.



tiers to build your knowledge and skills 


incentive upon successful completion of each tier of the microcredential*


credits toward a certificate or degree

* One-time bonus awarded upon successful completion of each DSP tier in the microcredential (2.0 GPA or better for all three classes) and corresponding NADSP DSP tier

Anyone with an interest in working closely with people with disabilities – whether you’re just entering the Human Services field or looking to grow your expertise. 

Because microcredentials can both stand on their own and “stack” (apply) to our Human Services certificate and degree programs, you decide how much education you want to complete. Future social workers, counselors and psychologists can start as DSPs, or it can be a fulfilling career in its own right. 

In a word, flexible! Courses can be taken online or in-person, full-semester or accelerated, synchronously or asynchronously – we’ll work with you to create a schedule to fit your life (not the other way around!)   

Tuition, books and fees are fully covered by a grant from New York State. Additional assistance (up to $2,300) may be available to offset the cost of childcare, transportation etc. You’ll also receive a $750  bonus for successfully completing each tier of the microcredential (you must finish all three courses within the microcredential, earning a minimum 2.0 GPA in each course) and the corresponding NADSP DSP tier. Please note: funding priority will be given to people currently working in the direct support professional field.

Recognizing the need to attract and retain dedicated direct support professionals to provide quality care for people with disabilities, the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)  entered into a partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY), which aims to expand access to educational pathways and career advancement within the profession. Supported through $5 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, the microcredential programs will enable direct support professionals to secure national certification and academic credit toward a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree.

What You’ll Study in Our Direct Support Professional Programs

Our DSP microcredentials provide the framework you need to grow your career. Coursework is structured into three microcredentials with nine credits in each and aligns with the requirements for certification from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).

Over the course of your studies, you have the potential to earn 27 credits (or almost half of an associate degree), in addition to more than 50 different industry-recognized badges to demonstrate new proficiencies as you acquire them. If you’re brand new to the field, you’ll also be placed in an internship where you’ll be able to practice your skills. 

Should you decide to continue at DCC, you can apply your coursework to an associate degree or certificate in Human Services.

What Direct Support Professionals Do

As a DSP, you’ll make a difference in the lives of others – with a focus on assisting people with developmental disabilities. Given the solid academic foundation and experience you’ll gain in our microcredential programs, you’ll be equipped to serve individuals of all ages – working in a variety of settings from daycare to eldercare, in outpatient and residential treatment facilities, jails and alternative correction programs, crisis centers and more. Our curriculum aligns with the certification offered to DSPs through the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), which means the work you do at DCC is recognized across the country. 

Contact Us

Lacie Reilly, Instructor & Program Chair, Human Services

Taconic Hall 309

Phone: 845-431-8349

53 Pendell Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601