Description of Direct Support Professional Training

DDS is committed to continuously improving service quality to ensure that individual health and safety is protected and needs are met. Recognizing that direct support professionals (DSPs) are key to the provision of quality services, DDS has established a competency-based training program that is mandatory for all DSPs (and administrators who provide direct support) working in licensed community care facilities vendored by regional centers. The DSPT is based upon core competencies or skills necessary for satisfactory job performance.

The DSPT is divided into two equal segments of 35 hours each to be completed in successive years for a total of 70 hours. DSPs who are mandated to meet the training requirement, may opt to meet it by passing the 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. Beginning September 1, 2007, those who take 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.

Four Service Hubs, run by County Offices of Education, offer the DSPT 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 see the Service Hub Directory. Trainers for the DSPT are selected based on their education and/or experience in developmental services. There are approximately 45 trainers currently conducting training throughout California.

Each participating Service Hub hosts a DSPT Advisory Meeting with representatives from regional centers, community care facility administrators, DSPs, and project personnel from the Department of Developmental Services and Department of Education. These local Advisory Meetings provide input on local implementation issues, including scheduling and availability of training and outreach to DSPs.

Since 1999, approximately 122,000 individuals have completed Year 1 or Year 2 DSPT certification, either through the 35-hour Training Classes or through Challenge Tests.


Last modified: November 21, 2019