DSP Certification Prerequisites & Application Information


NADD Membership

Applicants must be Individual Members, or receive benefits as an employee of a Member Organization.

Become a NADD Member here.

Work Experience

Applicant must meet the following two prerequisites for work experience:

  • 1 year of experience working as a DSP in the developmental disability or mental health field, and
  • 1,000 hours of direct support work

In addition, all applicants must: 

  • Be an Employee in good standing.

    NADD reserves the right to request employment validation by current employer verifying the applicant is (was) employed and not under disciplinary review or probation, and that the applicant is (was) in compliance with all agency and state/provincial requirements.

  • Review and sign off on the Code of Ethics.

    This is part of the online application, and no application can be submitted without an applicant’s acceptance of this Code of Ethics.

Application Information

NADD accepts applications to our DSP Certification Program online, where all requirements can be submitted by accessing our Certification Application and our Recertification Application.

Please ensure you submit all required information – incomplete application information may cause a delay in processing.

When listing work experience, applicants will provide the hours of work, job title, brief description of setting/agency, as well as providing supervisory contact for each employer so that information can be verified.  Applicants will list their formal education, providing dates and completed certificates or degrees.  Applicants can list any continuing education classes, coursework, development activities, or in-service trainings related to skills, knowledge, and values of credential competencies. 

Application Requirements:

  • NADD Membership
  • Completed Application Form
  • Certification Fee
    • $30 for employees of a NADD-Accredited Organization, Payable here
    • $60 for employees of an organization that is not NADD-Accredited, Payable here
  • References


Applicants are required to provide two references:

  • One from a person receiving services or his or her representative, and 
  • One from a supervisor at the current or most recent employment. 

The NADD online reference form is designed to elicit accounts of work done with individuals with dual diagnoses that illustrate: (1) values, (2) knowledge, and (3) skills in the identified competency areas, especially as they relate to problem-solving and leadership. 

References may be submitted HERE.

Exam Procedure

Once the application has been reviewed, the applicant will be contacted with credentials for taking the online certification exam or with instructions on completing any missing information.  

The The DSP Certification Exam is in the form of a multiple choice test.  Applicants will be provided with scenarios involving working with individuals with a dual diagnosis and will be asked questions designed to allow them to exhibit their qualification as a DSP. 

Applicants must demonstrate mastery of the required competency areas.  An overall score of 80% is required for passing, as well as a minimum score of 60% in each of the five competency areas.