Prince William Sound Community College

No Out of State Tuition at PWSCC
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Direct Service Specialist Occupational Endorsement


This Direct Service Specialist provides students with experience and knowledge in crisis intervention, community based-supports, information and recovery from mental illness, traumatic injuries, and other disabilities. Direct Service Specialists typically provide direct care to individual clients in their homes, depending on their individual needs.

The Occupational Endorsement Certificate for Direct Service Specialist is a 17-credit occupational endorsement for paraprofessionals currently working or planning to work with children, youth and/or adults who typically experience developmental or other significant disabilities in residential, day habilitation or employment training settings. Students meet this requirement by successful completion of 6 core courses and 2 electives. With completion of the endorsement certificate requirements, students gain skills essential to become effective members of training and intervention teams who serve youth and adults in community-based agency settings.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • Use training, intervention and/or therapeutic techniques, child development, and cultural responsiveness as part of individual treatment plans in residential and habilitation settings for children and youth, or employment settings for adults.
  • Apply an array of strategies to support and shape behavior of children, youth and adults with challenging behaviors.
  • Abide by professional and ethical practices, accepted in the field of client’s development, disability and/or medical status.
  • Employ concepts and skills to develop effective team-based interventions in support of person-centered services for the child, youth or adult.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please view the GE PWSCC OEC Direct Services Specialist (261.9 KiB) or Website.

MINIMUM CREDIT HOURS17

  1. Endorsement Requirements 17 credits
    1. Complete the following 12 credits

      An overview of Community-Based Services and aspects of providing quality Long-Term Care for individuals experiencing disabilities across the lifespan.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course provides a skill base for support in activities in Daily Living (ADLs) and Social Skill development for individuals experiencing disabilities across the life-span.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course introduces risk factors and intervention and prevention strategies of vulnerable adults and individuals caring and serving them. Ethical issues, statutory definitions, and mandatory reporting requirements are covered.

      Credits: 1.0
      Contact Hours: 1 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course provides an overview of behavioral techniques for managing problematic behaviors for direct care providers who work with populations requiring specialized interventions.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course focuses on the processes and effectiveness of Positive Behavior Supports as an intervention for people with challenging behaviors.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): HUMS 231 or Instructor permission.

      This course is an introduction of legal and ethical practices for students who work or intend to work with persons experiencing disabilities.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

    2. Select from the following5 credits

      This course provides a broad overview of dementia for students who currently work or plan to work with persons with dementia. Topics include types and stages of dementia, healthcare team roles, medications, and therapeutic care.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      A broad overview of geriatrics, including the aging process and the needs and interventions of aging individuals. This course is appropriate for students who are currently or intend to work with elderly individuals in various long-term care settings.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course is designed for individuals experiencing mental illness who are in recovery. Introduces the use of Peer Mentoring and their required competencies in working with people experiencing mental illness.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course will apply elements of Person-Centered Care philosophy in interactions with elders. Appropriate communication techniques, personal qualities, and successful activity implementation are covered.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      Presents an array of instructional techniques appropriate for inclusive community and school settings. Based on a team approach, this course encourages paraprofessionals and other support staff to take advantage of opportunities for teaching new skills and skill maintenance. Includes an introduction to a variety of individualized plans (service, educational, behavioral and rehabilitation) and the instructional strategies which are used to implement them.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): [HUMS 109 or HUMS 182] or HUMS 205.

      Description

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course provides an overview of mental illness by addressing topics such as the stigma in today’s society, history of deinstitutionalization, and the etiologies, types, and symptoms of mental illness. Students will be introduced to basic treatment approaches and discuss the role of family, friends, and community in recovery and wellness.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is introduced through discussions of disability, behaviors, and role of family. Functional assessments and behavior plans used to design behavior supports within the family unit.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course examines basic core concepts and competencies required to work with people with mental illnesses. Strengths and empowerment framework used to discuss the topics: history and treatment of persons with mental illness, advocacy, communication, skill development, and cultural competence.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      Introduction to the field of Disability Studies. Study of contemporary philosophy and process of providing quality support services for people who experience substantial disabilities.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course will incorporate advanced communication, organizational and interpersonal skills into a mentoring model that reflects person-centered care and staff interactions. Covers the needs, attitudes, and developmental process of mentoring.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      Students will explore the process of recovery as it applies to people who experience psychiatric disabilities. They will discuss how practitioners can help facilitate recovery through common practices of psychiatric rehabilitation, and mental illness and the process of recovery from the personal perspectives of those with the illness.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course is designed to provide a broad overview of Traumatic Brian Injury for students who are currently or plan to work with people with cognitive disabilities in a variety of settings. This course may be used as part of the Direct Support Specialist Occupational Endorsement (DSSOE).

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course examines the support systems and strategies to create employment opportunities for adults with developmental, psychiatric and other disabilities. Emphasis is placed on skills and methods that have practical application in providing employment-related services.

      Credits: 2.0
      Contact Hours: 2 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course provides foundational understanding of disability as a social phenomenon and strengthens a student’s ability to support and serve people who experience disabilities with human-centered empathy.

      Credits: 1.0
      Contact Hours: 1 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.

      This course provides a detailed overview of philosophies and applied practices needed to change resident/client care practices from the medical model to the person-centered care model for students who currently or plan to work in a variety of long-term care settings.

      Credits: 3.0
      Contact Hours: 3 + 0
      Course Attributes: N/A.
      Prerequisite(s): None.