Frontline Initiative Credentialing

The Real Scoop

Welcome to The Real Scoop. Clifford is a self-advocate who has been politically active for years. He’s ready to give you his spin on how to deal with issues you face as you forge ahead in your role as a Direct Support Professional (DSP). Seth has been a DSP for many years, and he loves to give advice. He may ruffle your feathers, but hey, it’s for your own good! Clifford and Seth tackle this one with a few suggestions.

Get Involved, Not Scared

Dear Clifford and Seth,

I have been a DSP for 16 years. My agency is considering participating in a new credentialing plan for DSPs. This is causing a lot of stress for my coworkers and me. Does this mean that other workers with more formal education or who were trained more recently will have an advantage over me? Am I going to have to take tests just to keep my job? — Nervous in New York


Dear Nervous in New York,

You’ve worked successfully at your job for 16 years. By having this new credentialing system, it doesn’t mean you have done anything wrong, only that you will have new recognition for those abilities, and better opportunities to develop new ones. Don’t be stressed out. You have proof that you are doing good work, and your new credentials will support the things you are doing now and will do in the future. — Cliff


Dear Nervous,

Believe it or not, the credentialing process is specifically for your benefit. You have 16 years of experience working as a DSP. Your experience and in-service training more than make up for your lack of formal education. You should be the person new workers are coming to for help and guidance. You should be the person consumers and their families call for advocacy and information. You are the one who is able to lead the work your agency does to provide services. As far as tests go, you are always being tested to keep your job. So take a lead in this effort! Help shape your agency’s move to credentialing by getting involved. The credentialing process is meant to give DSPs more control and options in their own lives, not to have an advantage over others. Credentialing could change both your personal and professional life for the better. — Seth