Direct Patient & Therapeutic Care

Direct Support Professional

Career Progression

Entry Level

Direct Support Professional

Mid Level

Care Coordinator, Social Worker, LPN

Senior Level


Pathway Category

Entry Level: These positions are the best entry points for someone with little experience or education, as they typically require only a high school diploma or equivalent (GED) or a technical certification/ training and little to no prior related work experience. Many workers enter this industry through the Direct Patient and Therapeutic Care families. Although these careers start with lower wages, they are often a great starting point with huge potential for promotion and advancement with hard work, dedication, and planning.

What does a person in this career do?

You enjoy working with people! Your critical thinking and problem solving skills help to diagnose, troubleshoot, and treat a wide range of injuries, disorders, and diseases for your patients. You don’t mind being on the front line of the fight to help keep members of your community healthy, happy, and productive.

Occupations in the Direct Patient & Therapeutic Care family focus primarily on changing the physical health status of patients through direct care, treatment, and health education. They spend most of their time working directly with patients to diagnose, troubleshoot, and treat a wide range of physical illnesses, injuries, disorders, and diseases.  Someone who enjoys working with people, doesn’t mind being around illness, and wants to make a difference in their community will like these roles. Travel is not often required, but there are a growing number of institutions offering in-home and traveling or mobile medical services.

Description of duties

Assist the sick, elderly, disabled, and other types of patients or residents with daily living activities. Duties performed are often non-medical and may include making beds, doing laundry, washing dishes, and preparing meals. May also assist customers with proper hygiene, nutrition, and taking medications, reporting any concerns or health status changes to health care professionals when appropriate.

Quick Facts

Wage/Salary Range

Education & Training

Typical Work Environments

Personality Traits

Discover your strengths by taking the assessment.

Knowledge and Skills Required

  • Basic Medical Terminology and Care
  • Active Listening and Communication
  • Observing and Documenting Information
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Attention to Detail
  • Medical and Office Software

Other Job Titles

  • Universal Worker
  • Personal Care Aide
  • Direct Support Professional
  • Patient Care Assistant (PCA)
  • Personal Care Attendant (PCA)
  • Resident Care Assistant (RCA)