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Direct Support Certificate Program

The Direct Support Certificate Program is an educational program for people currently working at agencies funded by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS), in support roles with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and who want to increase their skillsets and career opportunities in this field.

Through this program, based on the National Community Support Skills Standards, students will:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the human services field;
  • Learn empathic listening skills and how to observe and interact with individuals, groups, families, and communities under care.
  • Utilize knowledge of formal and informal networks for individuals, groups, and families within the development disabilities community of care.
  • Understand and apply a specific set of skills designed for effective interaction and treatment for individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • Identify, explain and apply the 12 National Community Support Skill Standards for human service delivery.

Through this program, students will take coursework in Introduction to Social Welfare, Sociology of Developmental Disabilities, Introduction to Psychology, Disabilities: Diagnosis and Interventions, as well as a Practicum or Seminar that allows for deeper study into the field. More information about the curriculum can be found in the Human Services: Direct Support Curriculum Sheet.

The Direct Support Certificate program is part of a continuum of learning available at the certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree levels. Each degree program builds upon the National Community Support Skills Standards, and credits earned at the Certificate level can be applied toward a higher degree. 

Tuition and Fees

Cost: $50 Course Fee & Books

The cost for this program is made possible through funding from DDS and provides significant subsidy for employees of Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and its agencies to enroll. Additional fees may apply.

How to Apply

Interested? Apply through our Office of Admissions, using our online application. For questions, please contact the Office of Admissions at or (781) 239-2500.