Human Services

Direct Support Worker Certificate Program

This Certificate is an exploration of career and technical education in the essential skills to provide effective support to individuals with developmental disabilities. It is an introduction to the necessary skills in math, computer, and writing; contextualized with specialized coursework in direct support work. A
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate is also included. The certificate involves a service learning field work experience supported by an exploration of the knowledge, history, and issues relative to service fields within the realm of “direct service work,” with persons with developmental disabilities. A focus is upon specific knowledge and skills that will assist in better serving the unique needs of adults with developmental disabilities (e.g. promotion of health, safety, self-advocacy, life skills, community and family inclusion); emphasis on supports that allow people with developmental disabilities to maximize choice and opportunity.

Career Opportunities

This is an exciting time to pursue a career working with individuals with developmental disabilities. The past three decades have produced major advances in legislation, education and services for individuals with disabilities. With the support of innovative services: families are raising their children at home rather than in institutions; children previously considered uneducable are attending public schools, and; adults with developmental disabilities are becoming productive members of their communities both at work and home. With approximately 4000 direct support workers currently employed in the County of Alameda and 40% growth expected over the next decade, there will be plenty of opportunities for employment in this sector.

Certificate holders should qualify for employment in Supported Living Services, Group homes, sheltered workshops, adult day programs; and other programs provide support for individuals with developmental disabilities. With further training and experience they will have opportunities to move up a career ladder that includes employment as independent living instructors, job coaches in supported employment, supervisors, case managers and specialists.