Frontline Initiative Credentialing

NADSP-Approved Training and Education Programs

In order to receive a direct support professional (DSP) certified or specialist credential, DSPs must complete an approved training program. The training program approval process includes an application, site review, and NADSP review of curriculum. To date, the NADSP has approved two existing curricula that meet the education/ training requirements of the NADSP national credential.

The first approved curriculum is the U.S. Department of Labor certified apprenticeship program for the occupational title of Direct Support Specialist. Any certified apprenticeship program for Direct Support Specialist is an approved curriculum.

The second approved curriculum is the College of Direct Support (CDS). The CDS is a multimedia, interactive, Web-based curriculum. It is designed to be used in conjunction with employer-based training. CDS courses include:

  • Supporting Healthy Living
  • Safety at Home and in the Community
  • Cultural Competence
  • Positive Behavior Support
  • Introduction to Disabilities
  • Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults and Children
  • Supporting Friendships and Relationships
  • Direct Support Professionalism
  • Introduction to Medication Support
  • Person-Centered Planning and Support
  • Teaching Skills
  • Documentation
  • Community Inclusion
  • Individual Rights and Choice
  • Personal and Self Care

Employers and postsecondary programs that do not have an existing DOL-approved apprenticeship program and do not use the CDS can apply to the NADSP to have their programs reviewed and accredited so that their graduates can apply for the national credential.