Professional Development May Help Increase Pay


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for home health aides, or direct support professionals (DSPs), meaning those workers who provide support to people with physical and mental disabilities and older adults, is just $21,800 a year. To put this into perspective, if a DSP were the sole breadwinner for a family of four, this salary would put them $2,000 under the poverty line.

President Obama is seeking changes in the current Fair Labor Exchanges Act, whose loopholes make it legal for DSPs to be exempted from being paid overtime and minimum wage. “They work hard and play by the rules and they should see that work and responsibility rewarded,” Obama said in a December, 2011 press conference, surrounded by representatives from the home care industry.

The work of direct support professionals is complex, requiring varied skills and a commitment to the person they support. Each DSP requires many different skills in many different areas, from supporting daily living, to personal care, from job attainment and retention to home management, medication administration, and more. These are just some examples of the many tasks DSPs are being asked to do with little, or in some cases, no training. And very little pay.

The mission of the DirectCourse/College of Direct Support (CDS) is to build a high-quality workforce through an evidence- and competency-based curriculum whose training meets and exceeds traditional compliance. It is our hope that creating a high-quality workforce will result in better working conditions and better pay for the scores of direct support professionals who work hard for the people they support.

For more information on the College of Direct Support, please visit:

Disability Scoop article on the debate in Washington, D.C. over pay for disability caregivers:

Bureau of Labor Statistics statistical page on wages for home health care workers:

U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet on home health care industry:

President Obama press conference on fair pay for home health care workers:

U.S. Census page on poverty line levels:

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