Welcome to the California Department of Developmental Services
DDS Logo California Department of Developmental Services
1600 Ninth Street
P. O. Box 944202
Sacramento, CA 94244-2020
Info: 1-800-622-8904
TTY: (916) 654-2054

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Description of Direct Support Professional Training

The Department is committed to continuously improving service quality to ensure that individual health and safety is protected and needs are met. Recognizing that direct support staff are key to the provision of quality services, the Department has established a competency-based training program that is mandatory for all direct support staff (and administrators who provide direct support) working in licensed community care facilities. The Direct Support Professional (DSP) Training is based upon core competencies or skills necessary for satisfactory job performance.

  • The DSP Training is divided into two equal segments of 35 hours each to be completed in successive years for a total of 70 hours. Direct Support Professionals who are mandated to meet the training requirement, may opt to meet it by passing a challenge test for each 35-hour training program. Those who pass the challenge test for either segment will not be required to take that specific training segment. As of September 1, 2007, those taking either the Year 1 or Year 2 challenge test will also be required to demonstrate knowledge of how to properly assist individuals with the self-administration of medication in order to become certified.
  • Direct support staff in service levels 2, 3, and 4 CCFs employed before January 1, 2001 should have satisfactorily completed the entire 70 hours of training by January 1, 2003.
  • Four Service Hubs, run by County Offices of Education, offer the DSP Training throughout the state at no cost to enrollees. The 4 Service Hubs are divided by regional center catchment areas. For a complete list of Service Hub regional center catchment areas. Trainers for the DSP Training are selected based on their education and/or experience in developmental services. There are approximately 65 trainers currently conducting training throughout California.
  • Each participating Service Hub hosts a DSPT Advisory Meeting with representatives from regional centers, community care facility administrators, direct support staff, and project personnel from the Department of Developmental Services and Department of Education are in attendance. These local Advisory Meetings provide input on local implementation issues, including scheduling and availability of training and outreach to direct support staff.
  • Since 1999, approximately 117,000 individuals have completed Year 1 or Year 2 DSP certification, either through the 35-hour Training Classes or through Challenge Tests.
Last Updated: 9/1/2015