What is a Direct Support Professional (DSP)?
A DSP is someone who assists people with disabilities by helping them integrate into the community and become as independent as possible. To put it simply: They help people live their best lives. Below are five reasons why you should consider becoming a DSP!
Reason #1: A career with a purpose
According to a recent study, less than 50% of workers feel satisfied with their job. Workers in jobs that lack purpose, don’t have upward career trajectory, and feel unappreciated by management rank their roles lowest in terms of quality.
The study also revealed something else: regardless of income level, employees prioritized having a sense of purpose and they don’t want “just a job.”
Being a DSP means having career with a purpose. DSPs provide daily assistance and companionship to folks with disabilities as they work towards achieving their goals and increasing their independence.
Madge, an individual with disabilities supported by Open Door, said her DSP Teather is “awesome because she’ll help me with anything she can, and I really appreciate that.” She added that two other DSPs she’s worked with, Jamie and Jessica, were “instrumental in helping me reach my goals.” (Learn more about Madge’s story)
Reason #2: You’ll see the results of your work
People with disabilities are just like everyone else: they have highs, lows, plans for the day, and lifelong dreams. The purpose of a DSP is not to do everything for an individual with disabilities, but to be beside them as they continue on their unique life journey.
Each person is different, but we all want to achieve our goals. For DSPs, the pride comes in seeing the results of being a small part of a bigger picture.
Many folks we support have the goal of getting a community job—something our DSPs are proud to help with. Recently, DSPs have helped several individuals gain skills needed for employment, help them apply for community jobs, and transport them to and from their place of employment. It’s one of the many ways DSPs see the results of their work.
Reason #3: Others will inspire you
It’s easy to appreciate good, caring, hardworking people—and there are a lot of those people working as a DSP with Open Door.
Rita Hager, the youngest 80-year-old you’ll ever meet, has now been a DSP with Open Door for 12 years. She’s successful because she cares—always willing to take time to get to know everyone in her group and connect with them on a personal level. Rita is always excited when she comes back from an adventure and wants to share her experience with others. A co-worker described Rita this way: “I don’t think there is a negative bone in her body. She is kind, generous, warm, comical, and is one of the truest people I have ever met.”
Mamadou Bah works as a DSP at a home in our Supported Community Living program that supports five guys: Dan, Anthony, Roy, Matt, and George. Back in 2020, with the pandemic just beginning and a lockdown looming, Mamadou chose to stay in the house due to his compassion for the individuals he supported and his desire to keep everyone around him safe. Through a lot of teamwork and perseverance, Mamadou and the folks at Harlem have continued to thrive. “They bring me joy!” said Mamadou of the individuals he supports.
Reason #4: Have fun at work!
This is the most underappreciated part of being a DSP: all the experiences! In addition to regular community events, we have a tradition of delivering holiday gifts to the individuals we support, where folks can choose from a menu of experiences, including tickets to a variety of events around central Ohio.
It’s heartwarming to watch the individuals enjoy community experiences. They’ve chosen to attend Ballet Met, OSU men’s and women’s basketball tickets, the Columbus Zoo, Ohio Historical Society, COSI, Franklin Park Conservatory, and occasionally take trips to locations all over the country!
DSPs get to experience those things too—all while providing valuable service and companionship during these special events!
Reason #5: Unique benefits and opportunities for growth
At Open Door, we value personal and professional growth. DSPs can take advantage of opportunities like our Educational Assistance Program to help you work towards a degree or certificate; use our structured career ladders to advance within our organization or apply to take a class or workshop that will assist with your professional development. We’re here to inspire your life journey, too!
We also regularly give back to our employees with a variety of special events, incentives, and rewards. Our annual DSP day is a family-friendly event that features food, fun, games, rewards, recognition, and the chance to win some great raffle prizes!
Check out our DSP Day slideshow below!
Join our team of DSPs and get rewarded with:
- Sign-on and retention bonuses
- Comprehensive insurance options
- Paid vacation and sick leave
- Paid holidays
- A 401k retirement plan!
At Open Door, our DSPs are great people that come from all walks of life. We’re looking for great people—just like you—to help us inspire life journeys. Open positions are available now—so apply today!
Become a DSP
Are you looking for a career with a purpose? Open Door’s team of Direct Support Professionals help people every day.