Frontline Initiative Credentialing

Frontline Notes

Dear Readers,

Are you ready for some change in your profession? Would you like more recognition for the important work you do? Wouldn’t it be nice if, when you said, “I am a Direct Support Professional,” people actually knew what you were talking about? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you may be ready to discover what credentialing for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) is all about. With this issue of Frontline Initiative, the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) begins rolling out the new National Direct Support Professional Voluntary Credentialing Program.

This news is so big we decided to devote a whole issue to helping you understand what credentialing is and what it means to DSPs. Beginning with Marianne Taylor’s cover article – “If You Build It, They Will Come” – you can explore why credentialing is important and what it means for DSPs. Next, Amy Hewitt shares information about the NADSP National Credentialing Framework. This piece will help you understand what you will need to accomplish in order to earn DSP credentials.

DSP credentialing has already begun in some states, and beginning on page 8 you can read about credentialing programs in Kansas, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Maryland.

Becoming a credentialed DSP involves acquiring specific experiences, pursuing higher education and training, and meeting competency requirements. It is also about sharing what you have learned through a professional portfolio. If you are not familiar with professional portfolios, don’t worry – we have included some of the basics in this issue.

Many DSP who provide quality support and are dedicated professionals have succeed as professionals without formal credentials. Jeanne Desjardins shares the value of this approach to direct support in her article, “Many Provide Quality Support without Credentials,” which begins on page 21.

As always, Frontline Initiative offers ideas and suggestions for resources you may find helpful. Cliff and Seth offer advice on why DSPs should consider participating in the NADSP Voluntary Credentialing Program. We hope you enjoy this issue and consider moving forward with DSP credentialing as part of your career development.