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Direct Support Certificate Program

The DDS Direct Support Certificate Program is designed for community support workers who work in programs funded by the The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) .  The program is a cooperative initiative of DDS and the Massachusetts Community Colleges. 

The curriculum includes 21-22 college level credits, with courses including English Composition, Introduction to Human Services, Introduction to Psychology, The Helping Relationship, Introduction to Developmental Disabilities, a Field Placement and a Seminar: Special Topics in DD/MR.

Each course in the program interweaves academic course content with learning activities that build the skills and competencies identified in the National Community Support Skill Standards.

Features of the Program

  • The DDS Direct Support Certificate Program offers competency-based learning.  Students are introduced to key skills and competencies, practice these skills and competencies in their courses and field placement and achieve mastery of selected skills and competencies.
  • Student learning is integrated through the use of a portfolio and through the Special Topics and Field Placement courses.  Students may attend classes with other DDS Direct Support Certificate Program students or with a mixed group of students.  In either case, faculty are directly involved with helping the students to choose research, writing, and project topics relevant to their work, and to document the competencies they have achieved through their portfolios.
  • Other learning options include portfolio credit for staff who can demonstrate learning that meets the objectives of selected required courses.  This is available through QCC’s  Experienced-Based Education Program.  Blended courses utilizing both the online and face-to-face classroom will provide students flexibility with work, educational and personal schedules.
  • The Certificate program is part of a continuum of learning available at the certificate, associates degree and bachelors degree level.  Students can apply the credits earned at the Certificate level toward a higher degree.  The three levels of learning continue the pattern of introducing, practicing and mastering the community support skills standards.

Additional Benefits

The program offers students many intangible benefits as well.  For example, the program offers students an opportunity to increase their self-awareness.  Students explore their personal biases, values, and belief systems as well as cultural differences, all leading to decreased burnout and increased sense of self.  The program also helps students build confidence in their academic skills, providing a springboard to further college study.

For more information contact:

DSC Program Coordinator
Susan Moriarty
smoriarty [at]