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Home » Academics » Course & Program Information » Programs of Study » Human Services » Direct Support Certificate

Direct Support Certificate

Program Overview


Direct Support Practitioners work directly with individuals with intellectual disabilities/ developmental disabilities. Having a strong desire to help people as well as sensitivity, patience and flexibility are keys to success. Students learn to build a rapport with clients, adapt to different communications styles, and strengthen writing and problem-solving skills.

The Certificate in Direct Support at NECC will teach you the theory and help you develop the skills needed to provide direct client services in residential or vocational programs, with the goal of improving the quality of life of the clients and helping them achieve maximum possible self-sufficiency. You will develop competencies in accordance with the National Community Support Skills standards.

Career Opportunities

Social and Human Service Assistants are listed among the fastest growing occupations. The completion of this certificate will allow you to pursue many career paths. You can work in community residences, independent living programs, vocational programs, or in home support services. You may also choose to transfer the credits earned in this certificate toward NECC’s Associate Degree in Human Services.

Additional Opportunities

As a student in this program, you will participate in practicums (supervised clinical experiences) where you will provide direct support services to individuals using interpersonal communication, interviewing, observation, problem solving, case management, and documentation skills in accordance with the human service philosophy. Practicum experiences allow you to experience the human services profession firsthand, and give you the opportunity to grow as a person and a professional.

Getting Started

Ready to get started? It’s easy! Northern Essex has an open admissions policy, which means that if you have a high school diploma or GED you are eligible to enroll at NECC. Just fill out an application, attend an orientation/assessment session, and then register for classes.

Print the Human Service Direct Support Program Sheet (PDF)

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