Supporting people in developing more fulfilling lives with the power of knowledge.

The College of Direct Support (CDS) is an online curriculum designed for those who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The courses are presented by DirectCourse, and the CDS is administered in Pennsylvania by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.

The CDS connects the direct support workforce with a recognized, standardized set of skills to help improve job satisfaction, increase performance and reduce turnover.

The evidence-based curriculum was created more than 10 years ago by the University of Minnesota's Research and Training Center on Community Living.

The online education model has proven effective for user, in part because of the 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week accessibility. Along with the accessibility and the curriculum, the testing and tracking tools delivered by Elsevier Performance Manager make the College of Direct Support today's leading platform for direct support education.


Who is the College of Direct Support for?

  • Direct support professionals
  • Frontline supervisors
  • Family members and anyone who supports people with disabilities
  • Self-advocates
  • Supports Coordinators
  • Administrative Entities


What courses are offered?

The courses are built on the 15 core competencies from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), providing more than 250 training hours toward NADSP accreditation.

Key courses in the curriculum include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Civil Rights and Advocacy
  • Community Inclusion
  • Direct Support Professionalism
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Home and Community Living
  • Maltreatment: Prevention and Response
  • Positive Behavior Support
  • Safety
  • Teaching People with Developmental Disabilities
  • Universal Precautions

The course content is continuously updated and revised by experts from the University of Minnesota's Research and Training Center on Community Living, guided by a National Board of Editors. The board includes key industry leaders with proven commitment to best practices and they regularly review course content to ensure it reflects the latest standards.

Every lesson incorporates proven instructional design - including videos, tests and assessments, to ensure a clear, consistent learning experience.

The College of Direct Support curriculum is accredited by the NADSP, whose mission is to promote the development of a highly competent human series workforce that support individuals in achieving their goals.


CDS Licensing Training Crosswalk

Full list of topic areas and associated CDS courses (the "crosswalk") for Direct Support Professional (DSP) and Supports Coordinator (SC) training requirements.


For more information:

voice: 866-865-6170

CDS User Group Meeting and Informational Webinar (Archive)

Date: 05/06/2016
Host: Mary Kay Cunningham
Presenters: Alexis Bell, Alphonso Cosby
Duration: 01:12:17 *Note: audio delay of 15 minutes due to technical difficulties