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A Direct Support Certificate student sitting side-by-side with another individual in a friendly manner.

If you already have patience, sensitivity, and a strong desire to help others, NECC’s Direct Support Certificate can prepare you to work directly with individuals who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Why Choose NECC?

The program, which was designed to develop competencies in accordance with the National Community Support Skills Standards, will provide you with an understanding of developmental disabilities, and provide practical strategies for building rapport, adapting communication styles, and building problem-solving skills. This certificate program is funded by the Department of Developmental Services of Massachusetts. Students that are already employed in either public or private Developmental Services programs are eligible to take each of the required courses at $50 per class. At the completion of the requirements the Department of Developmental Services can also help with employment opportunities. With this program you will:

  • Learn the best ways to help clients achieve maximum self-sufficiency
  • Benefit from supervised practicum experiences providing direct services to individuals with disabilities
  • Practice observation, communication, interviewing and documentation skills
  • Be able to apply earned credits towards NECC’s Associate Degree in Human Services

Because of NECC

In just one year you will be qualified to work in a variety of human services settings, or to continue your education and strengthen your credentials for higher level positions. Upon completion of the program you can:

  • Work in a variety of settings, including community residences, independent living facilities, vocational programs, or in home support services
  • Apply program credits towards NECC’s Associate Degree in Human Services

Career Paths & Job Market

Employment Outlook

Employment Outlook

Prospects for employment within the human services are projected to be excellent according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employment Projections 2006-2016, the New Hampshire Employment Projections 2004-2014 and the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2006-2016.

Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities

Graduates who choose to directly enter the workforce, are recruited by a variety of community agencies who work with children, adolescents, adults and seniors in a range of settings such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Vocational programs
  • Residential programs
  • Day habilitation programs
  • and Day treatment programs

Graduates may be given titles such as:

  • Case manager
  • Outreach worker
  • Advocate
  • Mental health worker
  • Crisis counselor
  • Residential counselor
  • Addiction counselor
Career Paths

Career Paths

The broad based skills of the program provide a foundation for a wide range of professional pursuits. Graduates who pursue advanced degrees will have opportunities to choose among many fields including:

  • Social work
  • Guidance counseling
  • Labor negotiations
  • Human resources
  • Academic advising
  • Organizational psychology
  • Mental health
  • Vocational rehabilitation
Licensing and Credentialing for Graduates

Licensing and Credentialing for Graduates

There are a variety of licenses and certifications possible to graduates of the Human Services Program.

External Online Resources

Program Pathway

A pathway is the most efficient sequence of courses semester-to-semester recommended for students to complete their degree. View the suggested pathway for the Direct Support Certificate.

Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes - Direct Support Certificate

Student Learning Outcomes – Direct Support Certificate

  • Demonstrate well-developed clinical skills, techniques, and approaches consistent with national skills standards as outlined by the Council for Stand in Human Services Education (CSHSE), Community Support Skills Standards (CSSS), Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS), and the International Credentialing and Reciprocity Consortium (ICRC).
  • Describe historical overview of confluence of factors that shaped institutional and direct professional service delivery models with clients & communities, including but no limited to bio-psycho-social, economic, political, and legal issues
  • Provide accurate written and oral, clinical assessments of general health and welfare of clients, their families, and communities guided by ethical standards set forth by the Council for Standards in Human Services Education, and the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • Analyze the effect of the injustices caused by prejudicial and/or discriminatory treatment as they pertain to individuals, families, groups, and institutions. (e.g. race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ageism, social class, immigrants, et al.)
  • Demonstrate the skills involved in screening, orienting, assessing, crisis intervention, case management, treatment planning, documentation, consultation with other professionals, and appropriate referral of clients and families.
  • Demonstrate a professional level of comfort and expertise with the mechanisms involved in the administrative aspects necessary to deliver services provided by human services agencies and their interacting institutions (e.g. Health Maintenance Organizations, Department of Children and Families, courts, schools et al.) And apply knowledge/skills using data and other management systems to develop/improve administrative services involved in the delivery of care

Courses and Requirements


Required Documents


Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator

Lisa Fabbri Lopez, MA / Phone: 978-556-3303 / Email:

Faculty Contact Information

Faculty Contact Information

Kathleen Bartolini, MA, NCC

Phone: 978-556-3293 Email:

Jack Davidson

Phone: 978-556-3540 Email:

Lisa Fabbri-Lopez, MA


Joseph Hannon, LICSW, LADC I


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