DSP Certifications

Developed in association with
The National Association of State
Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS)

NADD developed the NADD Competency-Based IDD/MI Dual Diagnosis Direct Support Professional Certification Program to certify the competency of DSPs who support people with dual diagnosis.

DSP certification validates and provides assurance to individuals served, colleagues, and employers that a direct support professional has met the standards established by NADD for providing services to individuals with IDD/MI.

DSPs who receive NADD certification will be entitled to use “NADD-DSP” as a credential.

In general, DSPs spend more time with the person with IDD/MI than any other professional. The competence of the DSP can make a big difference in the quality of life for people. DSPs are often the ones charged with supporting skill building. They help the person engage in recommended therapies on a day-to-day basis.  This work requires an advanced level of skill and knowledge to do well.


  • DSP Certification Application Fee                       $75
  • If Employed by a NADD Accredited Agency   $50

The NADD-DSP is a competency-based certification and is intended to validate an individual’s understanding of a set of standards (or competencies) for providing services to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and mental health needs

In-depth information regarding required competencies is available at the following link:  https://thenadd.org/dsp-certification-competency-areas/      

NADD has developed a comprehensive series of trainings that focus on the Core Competency areas identified in each of our Certification Programs and is pleased to tailor live in-person or virtual trainings to the needs of a particular group or organization.  

Previous recorded webinars and sessions concerning Clinical, Specialist, and Direct Support Professional Certification competencies are also offered as digital downloads. These trainings are useful to anyone interested in learning more about a particular topic, and to individuals who are preparing to apply for a NADD Certification.  For more information, CLICK HERE

Sign Up Now

  1. Establish NADD Membership
    If you’re already a NADD member, skip to Step 2.

    If not, NADD Membership is a requirement for certification, and all employees of organizations with a NADD Organizational Membership receive member benefits through their employer.

    Click Here to Join!
  2. Complete your Certification Application

Click here to login to your member portal.
Select “Certifications”
Select the DSP Certification option.

  1. Recertification
    Renewing your NADD Certification is done within the member portal


Questions:  dspcerts@thenadd.org
Program Overview
Executive Summary
Program Manual
Competency areas
Learn More about DSP Certification:

Sample Questions

Organizations with multiple staff to certify:  info@thenadd.org