Being a Direct Support Professional is all about helping people achieve their goals.  

You might be a great DSP if: 

  • You identify as a helper 
  • You’d rather be out and about in the community than working in the same space every day  
  • Your friends and family often look to you to help calm things down and find solutions to challenging situations 
  • You thrive on a variable schedule instead of having to be at the same place at the same time every day 
  • You think everybody should be able to be their best selves, even if they need some outside help getting there 
  • You’re a generally chill person who tends to get along with others 
No direct DSP experience is necessary. We offer paid training and mentorship. Our local support team will be available any time you need to ask questions or get some help. 

How It Works 

You’ll be matched with people who have requested support to reach some of their goals. Matches will be based on your preferred schedules aligning, being in the same part of town, how well your interests and skills support their journey toward their goals, etc. Our Direct Support Professionals go out in small groups with clients to have experiences in the community. 

What You’ll Do 

When you’re with the people you support, you’re there to help them gain the practical skills and personal self confidence that will eventually allow them to accomplish their goals independently. Your compassionate heart and observant eyes will notice ableist societal structures that create barriers and emotional triggers. You’ll be the person who helps navigate these obstacles toward eventual victory – all at the pace set by the people you’re supporting. This kind of work can be very challenging in the moment, because it requires a cool head while you think on your feet to quickly problem solve. But it is also deeply and profoundly rewarding. You’ll quickly learn that without you, all the small and big victories the people you support achieve would not be possible. In this role you are a horizon expander. 

Some examples of goals you might help with: 

  • Teaching social skills – provide tools to assist with communication, making friends, getting along with others and being safe in the community.  
  • Joining a community event – find local events of interest together, and provide support that includes: showing up, settling in, and participating in activities. You may need to provide encouragement to help calm social anxieties 
  • Attending a class or workshop – assist with registration if necessary, explain classroom and activity expectations, and support effective communication and participation in activities 
  • Assist with building independent living skills such as grocery shopping, meal planning and other household duties. 
  • Learning to ride the bus – you’ll be there every step of the way to take the questions and anxiety out of the process, and you’ll be there for the joy of accomplishment, too 

  • Work with our scheduling team to match with people to support 
  • Travel to your scheduled shift and pick up the people you’re supporting 
  • Go out into the community on errands and adventures 
  • Drop the people you support back off at home or their desired destination 
  • Log your hours in the scheduling app and write a quick summary of what you and the people you support did during your outing 

  • Valid driver’s license, insurance, and reliable transportation 
  • Access to a computer / mobile device with reliable internet access 
  • Ability to pass a background check  
  • High school diploma / GED 
  • Must be at least 18 years old 
Preferred Qualifications 

  • Personal or professional experience with people who experience neurodivergence and/or disabilities 
  • Some college coursework in healthcare / disability studies / social services / advocacy 
  • Good communication skills, both verbally and in writing 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team 
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment in a variety of situations 
  • Positive, supportive attitude 
  • Basic knowledge of community resources and services preferred 

About Us 

The Arc Portland Metro provides community and opportunity for people who experience intellectual / developmental disabilities. We believe in an equitable, integrated community where people of all levels of ability can thrive. We offer many programs. The Direct Support Professional program is one of the most important to the community we serve. We listen to what our clients are telling us they need, and find resources and tools to support them. 


Job Details 

Flexible schedule – minimum of 10 hours per week 

Mileage reimbursement 

PTO including sick and vacation time 

Paid training and continuing education

$19 – $23 per hour depending on qualifications, with opportunity for rapid advancement

If you don't see an opportunity that's a good fit for you, but you still think you're a good fit for our team, let us know!

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