2023-2024 Student Catalog 
    Dec 09, 2023  
2023-2024 Student Catalog

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Direct Support Professional, Certificate (Formerly Disability Studies, Certificate)

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Contact Information

Program Requirements

Typical Program

Degree/Certificate:    Certificate
HEGIS Code:            5501
SUNY Code:             0052
Major Code:             DSRS

The Career

Direct support training in areas of disability leads to work in an expanding job market. Entry-level positions such as recreation specialist, social skills trainer, supportive employment specialist, service coordinator and residential manager create opportunities to experience a feeling of giving in the professional world. Advanced training leads to positions such as rehabilitation counselor, exceptional education teacher and social worker.

The NCCC Approach

Through classroom study and field experiences, students will learn about the nature and treatment of disabilities. Coursework includes introductory skills in counseling, case management and administering programs in the helping profession. Internships will be experienced in group homes, sheltered workshops, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, shelters, clinics and rehabilitation centers. Students will develop personal skills needed in the helping role. Field trips, videos, role plays and lectures complement the internship experience in the classroom.


Students admitted fall, spring and summer.

The Direct Support Professional program is offered as a full-time day program or part-time evening program or as a distance learning program. Because of the sequencing of courses, it may take longer than four semesters to complete the part-time evening program or two semesters to complete the full-time day program if a student begins in a spring semester.

See Human Services  for associate degree option.

Program Goals and Objectives

  • To prepare students with the necessary qualifications for entry-level positions in the field of disabilities

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate familiarity with disability services systems
  • Discuss professional ethics as they relate to disability services
  • Acquire first-hand experience helpful toward career development
  • Integrate classroom learning with field experience
  • Demonstrate an understanding of disabilities

Program Requirements (DSRS)

  1. A total of at least 32-credit hours with a minimum curriculum grade-point average of 2.0. Academic Foundations courses do not count toward the certificate.
  2. Rehabilitation: A minimum of 15-credit hours to include:
    COE 198 -  Experiential Cooperative Education I 
    COE 199 - Experiential Co-op II  
    HUS 140 -  Direct Support Professional Level I Certification Prep  
  3. Health/Physical Education: A minimum of 2-credit hours to include:
    ___  ___  Health/Physical Education elective
  4. Social Sciences: A minimum of 9-credit hours to include:
    ___  ___ - Social Science Elective  OR
    SLA 101 -  American Sign Language I 

    Disability Awareness Track:
    A minimum of 6-credit hours to include:
    EDU/HUS 120 - Disabilities: Birth to Adolescence
    HUS 122 - Disabilities and Aging


    Child & Adolescence Track:
    A minimum of 6-credit hours to include:
    EDU/HUS 120 - Disabilities: Birth to Adolescence
    EDU/HUS208 - Early Childhood Education


    Aging & the Elderly Track

    A minimum of 6-credit hours to include:
    HUS 122 - Disabilities & Aging
    HUS 213 - Loss, Grief & Coping

Typical Program

Disability Awareness Track

Total Credit Hours: 15

Second Semester

Total Credit Hours: 17

Child & Adolescence Track

Second Semester

  • HUS 103 - Human Services Internship II 3 Cr. OR
  • COE 199 - Experiential Co-op II 3 Cr.
  • 3 Cr.
  • SLA 101 -  American Sign Language I  3 Cr. OR
  • ___  ___ - Social Science elective  3 Cr.  AND
  • ___  ___ - Social Science elective  3 Cr.  AND
  • ___  ___ - Social Science elective  3 Cr. 
  • HED/HPE Health/Physical Education elective  2 Cr.

Total Credit Hours: 17

Aging & Elderly Track

Second Semester

Total Credit Hours: 17


All required Disabilities Studies courses are also offered online at least once per academic year.

Scholarship Opportunities

There are several scholarships available to NCCC students. Scholarship deadline dates vary each semester.  For more information, please visit the scholarship webpage at www.niagaracc.suny.edu/scholarships. The NCCC Foundation/Scholarship Office is located within the Foundation Office, A-265 or by phone (716) 614-5910.

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