Department of Human Services
Division of Developmental Disabilities
Documenting Education Requirements for Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professionals and Direct Support Persons
August 29, 2012
This Information Bulletin is to clarify how providers document education requirements for Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professionals (QIDPs) and Direct Support Persons (DSPs). The Division's quality review and QIDP credential review processes continue to identify the following three problem areas in documenting education:
- College degrees (mainly online) from educational institutions not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) or an accrediting body DoE recognizes.
- High school diplomas or General Education Diploma (GED) certificates issued by schools or program not recognized by the state government agency charged with ensuring students meet high school graduation requirements in the state where the school or program is located.
- High school or college degrees from foreign educational institutions not evaluated for U.S. grade or degree equivalency by a qualified vendor and/or not having transcripts that have been translated into English by a qualified vendor.
Process and Procedure
QIDPs and DSPs must each meet specific education requirements in order to perform the duties of their respective positions. Documentation of education must be filed in the employee's personnel or training file or other location available for review by Department of Human Services' staff. Providers are responsible for ensuring that all educational requirements of their staff are met and documented properly.
DSP Education Requirements
All DSPs must have documented completion of 8th grade. If DSPs are to be trained to administer medications, they must, among other requirements, document that they have a high school diploma or its equivalence, a General Education Diploma (GED).
Documenting 8th Grade Education
Completion of 8th grade is documented by a diploma from an elementary school accredited by the state where the diploma is earned or an accrediting body recognized by the state where it is earned or by an 8th grade reading level determined by the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE), Adult Basic Literacy Examination (ABLE) or Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS). The achievement of an 8th grade reading level must be documented on an original score sheet for the test used.
Documenting High School Education
High school diplomas and GED certificates must be granted by a school or program that is recognized by the state government agency charged with ensuring students meet high school graduation requirements set by the state where the school or program is located or that is recognized by an accrediting body recognized by the state where the school is located.
At this time, no online high school diplomas are recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
The only high school diploma from a correspondence school recognized by the ISBE, at this time, is one from the American School of Correspondence in Lansing, Illinois.
Other states may recognize online high school diplomas. Diplomas from such approved online high schools meet the Department's DSP education requirements for a high school diploma.
QIDP Education Requirements
QIDPs require a bachelor-level college degree, license, or certification beyond high school and at least one year of experience working directly with people with intellectual disabilities or other developmental disabilities. Please see a list of degrees, licenses or certifications available on our DHS web site: Required Experience, Job & Educational Requirements. Consideration is also given to bachelor level degrees with sufficient course work (at least 30 semester hours) in human services areas.
Documenting College Education
Completion of college degree is documented by a diploma and transcripts from an accredited university or college.
How to Tell Whether an Educational Institution is Accredited
The U.S. Department of Education (DoE) has a search feature on its web site for finding accredited educational institutions: List of Accredited Colleges and Universities. The list is updated every three months. Lists of accrediting bodies approved by the DoE can be found at National and Regional Accrediting Bodies and Accrediting Bodies for Specialized Programs: Arts and Humanities, Education Training, Legal, Community and Social Services, Personal Care and Services, Healthcare.
Documenting Foreign Education
Degrees, diplomas and/or transcripts issued by a foreign educational institution must be evaluated for U.S. grade or degree equivalency by a vendor qualified to make such evaluations. Transcripts can be evaluated by vendors that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or other association deemed by the Department of Human Services as qualified to make these determinations. Links and contact information to approved NACES vendors are available on the DHS web site at: Required Documentation for All Levels of Education and Foreign Education.
Documenting Untranslated Foreign Education Credentials
Transcripts in a foreign language must be translated into English and evaluated for U.S. grade or degree equivalency by qualified vendors. Links and contact information for qualified translation services are available on the DHS web site at: Required Documentation for All Levels of Education and Foreign Education
- Securing Foreign Education Documentation
Providers should advise candidates with foreign education of the requirements for documenting their education and provide them with information about available grade equivalency and translation services so they can obtain this documentation.