Courses & Programs

Developmental Disabilities Direct Support Certificate

Allison Hrovat

Faculty, Human Services

Social Sciences

Donahue 261

413.552.2381 (Tel)


what will you learn?

The Developmental Disabilities Direct Support Certificate was created in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to provide education for staff working for or individuals interested in working for agencies that provide residential programs, employment programs, and recreational, personal, and family supports for individuals with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. Tuition assistance may be available to individuals currently employed for an agency which receives DDS funding.

what will you do?

Continue your education or enter the workforce! Career options include:

  • Behavior Technician
  • Support Aide
  • Residential Care Coordinator
  • Job Coach
  • Companion

Explore your options at HCC's Advising, Career & Transfer Center and at What Can I Do With This Major?

28 total credits

28 program requirements

Depending on course selection, approximately 80% of this program can be completed online.


This course is the first half of the college composition sequence and focuses on close reading, critical thinking, beginning research skills, and the writing process. Students will read, analyze, and cite a range of nonfiction texts. Students will produce several formal essays totaling approximately 3000 words. Prerequisite: Appropriate scores on English placement tests or C- or higher in ENG 095.
Introduction to the study and principles of behavior. Topics include general principles of scientific investigation; physiological bases of behavior including sensation, perception, learning, emotion, and motivation; development; individual differences; attitudes; and group dynamics. Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101.
Introduction to developmental disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, syndromes (e.g., Down syndrome, Fetal Alcohol syndrome), neurological, sensory, physical and health impairments, learning disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disorders. Incorporates a socio-political perspective (laws, legislation, court cases, and attitudes on the treatment of people with developmental disabilities.) Effective teaching and intervention strategies will be explored. Special attention will be devoted to addressing barriers to integration and the impact on the individual and his/her family. Students will explore their own beliefs and biases regarding people with disabilities and their possible role as change agents in society. Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101
This course will address issues specific to working with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental retardation. The overarching theme is finding balance between the individual's right to self-determination and the health and safety of the people with whom we work. Students enrolled in this course will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of issues that may have been presented in previous human service classes. In addition, they will further develop their skills in working with people with developmental disabilities as well as developing the skills needed to work with agencies, communities, and families. Topics covered in this class may include person centered thinking, teaching and learning, diversity, health and wellness, sexuality, human rights, grief and loss, and working with families. Prerequisites: HSV 113, DVD 110 and PSY 110
An orientation to human services. Particular emphasis on motivation for working in human services, personal attitudes and values, consumer empowerment, inclusion, and multicultural issues. Also includes a history of human services, an overview of the American human services systems, and an introduction to local human service agencies. There is a required Community Service Learning component. Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101
This course helps the student develop the knowledge, skills and personal characteristics that are critical for an effective helping relationship. Students will explore helper attitudes and values, increase awareness of themselves and others, and develop active listening, empowerment, case management, and crisis intervention skills. Course material is built upon research about human behavior, life stage theory, intervention strategies and strength-based practice. Prerequisite: HSV 113 and PSY 110
This course prepares students for Human Service Practicum I/II. Students will identify the developmental stages involved in the practicum experience as they explore their own values, goals and expectations. Students will have the opportunity to observe a variety of service delivery systems through a combination of supervised field trips, informational interviews, and service learning. In addition, the course will address the Community Support Skills Standards in more detail, and assist students in the development of their Human Service Portfolios. Learning objectives and specific activities will be individualized, based on the needs of the student. There is a REQUIRED 30 hour service learning component. Prerequisite: HSV 113; HSV 124 previously or concurrently; permission of department chair.
Students contract to complete a minimum of 125 hours in each of practicum courses (total of 250 hours). The student does work that familiarizes him or her with concrete and practical examples of principles studied in class through readings or research. Student interns keep logs of their activities, meet regularly with their faculty sponsors, and write papers. Students continue the development of their Human Services portfolios during this semester through the Internship Course. Prerequisites: HSV 113, HSV 125, and PSY 110 with a grade of C or better; HSV 124 previously or concurrently, with a grade of C or better; PSY 216
A study of human development with emphasis on the broad physical, maturational, and behavioral changes occurring throughout the life span and the factors and conditions that influence these changes. Prerequisite: PSY 110


CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) and SORI (Sexual Offender Registry Information) background checks may be required prior to field work and will be conducted by specific agencies in accordance with state regulations. CORI and SORI results are confidential.