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Direct Support Professional Training and Testing

About DSP

The DSP Training and Testing Center provides:
  • Quality training for professionals caring for people with developmental disabilities
  • Credentialed instructors with residential, educational, and vocational training experience
  • Researched based methods of teaching and learning
  • Classroom involvement through student teaching, role playing, and quizzes

The California Legislature established the Direct Support Professional (DSP) Training and Testing Program to increase the quality of care for people with developmental disabilities living in licensed Community Care Facilities (CCFs). The purpose of the program is to ensure core competency skills for all DSPs (individuals providing care).


The Direct Support Professional Making Choices
The California Developmental Disabilities Service System Person Centered Planning
Risk Management and Incident Reporting Medication Management
Medication Management: Part 1 Preventive Health Care and Advocacy
Medication Management: Part 2 Nutrition and Exercise
Wellness: Maintaining the Best Possible Health Strategies for Successful Teaching, Part 1
Dental and Oral Health Strategies for Successful Teaching, Part 2
Signs and Symptoms of Illness and Injury Risk Management in Daily Living
Risk Management: Environmental Safety Positive Behavior Support, Part 1
Communication Positive Behavior Support, Part 2
Positive Behavior Support Life Quality
Resources Resources
Afer Training Test After Trainging Test

An Introduction to the Direct Support Professional Program
Team Work

The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act establishes the state's obligation to people with developmental disabilities to provide quality services that are effective in meeting their needs. The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is committed to continuously improving the quality of care to ensure that the needs of individuals receiving services and supports are met and that their health and safety are protected.

DDS has entered into interagency agreements with the Regional Occupational Centers and Programs (ROCPs) to develop and implement the training program. The ROCPs provide vocational training opportunities for high school students and adults through a statewide network of ROCPs. The ROCPs are using instructors who have practical work experience in the provision of services to people with developmental disabilities. The training program is provided by local ROCPs in their respective communities at no cost to enrollees.

A 70 hour DSP training program has been available since April 1, 1999. This program is divided into two equal parts of 35 hours each to be completed in successive years. Those required to take the training have the opportunity to take a challenge test for each of the 35-hour segments. Those who pass the challenge test for either of the 35-hour training segments will not be required to take that segment. Testing and training are based upon core competencies or skills necessary for satisfactory direct support professionals' job performance.

Recognizing that direct support professionals are key to the provision of quality care, it is essential that they be trained and competent to meet the needs of individuals served. Towards this end, DDS has implemented a two-year, 70-hour standardized statewide competency-based training program which is mandatory for all CCF direct support professionals and CCF administrators who provide direct care.

Answers to questions will be posted on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page so that others can benefit from information provided. Please review the DDS FAQ before sending questions to see if the information you need has already been provided.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Completion of the 35 hour training class may be used for CEUs under Title 17. Passing the Challenge test only does not qualify for CEU credit. Certified Nursing Assistants can also use 24 hours towards CEU credit.