Note:  Please follow the requirements under "Approval Process for DHS-approved Online DSP Classroom Training" below before enrolling DSPs.  When enrolled, trainees will have access to the materials, activities and assessments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 


DSPs must also complete an 80-hour, DHS-approved On-the-Job (OJT) training program in their employing agency as part of an approved DSP training program.

The following online training programs have been approved as meeting all DSP classroom training requirements:


Changing from DSP Classroom Training to Online Classroom Training

To change, Providers must inform DHS in writing that they plan to use one of the three approved online DSP classroom training program listed above. The notice must also include the effective date of the change.  Providers can make a change to online classroom training at any time.  It does not have to be coordinated with the two-year review of its DSP training program. 

The required online DSP training documentation remains the same (tests at the end of each module/section or completion certificates). Documentation must be maintained by the Provider. Online training requires periodic interactions between trainees and DSP instructors.  During these interactions, other information can be required of the trainees in order for DSP instructors to adequately monitor progress. 

Using the SIUC Online Curriculum

Provider DSP instructors or Course Coordinators should use the PowerPoint instructor tutorial Integrating SIUC Online Learning into your DSP Training Program of how to integrate online classroom training and OJT activities.

NOTE: The SIUC online classroom curriculum is structured exactly like the DHS-approved curriculum.  For that reason, providers may also elect to mix online and instructor-led classroom curricula for DSPs to meet the 40 hour DSP classroom training requirement.

Using Other Online Approved Curricula

Provider DSP instructors or Course Coordinators should use the PowerPoint instructor tutorial Integrating Online Learning into your DSP Training Program of how to integrate online classroom training and OJT activities.

NOTE: The College of Direct Support and Relias Learning online classroom curricula teach all required DSP competencies, but are NOT structured like the DHS-approved curriculum.  For that reason, providers may NOT mix online and instructor-led classroom curricula for DSPs to meet the 40-hour DSP classroom training requirement.  The College of Direct Support and Relias Learning online curricula must be used in their entirety.

Exception: For providers seeking to have a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) complete the abbreviated DSP training program to become a DSP, the Provider may use Relias Learning's "Illinois Abuse, Neglect Recognition, Prevention and Intervention" lesson in lieu of Module 3, Prevention/Intervention of Abuse/Neglect/Exploitation, of the DHS-approved DSP training program to meet this classroom training requirement.


Approval Process for Online DSP Classroom Training

DSPs must complete at least 40 hours of DHS-approved classroom training and 80 hours of approved OJT activities within 120 days of hire or being assigned DSP responsibilities.  This time frame can be extended if the approved classroom training is provided by an educational institution.  In these cases, the end of classroom training can coincide with the end of a semester, quarter or trimester.

  1. Using the entire DHS-approved online DSP classroom training 

    This training meets all Illinois requirements for a 40-hour DSP classroom training program.  The application for approval must:

    • Identify which vendor developed the online training program to be used.
    • Describe how the trained informational competencies will be used with completion of interventional competencies OJT activities.
    • Describe the process for the DSP instructor ensuring trainees understand how to use the online program effectively and address questions timely.
    • Include all forms and documents required for DSP training program approval process.  See DSP Training Program Approval Process for a list of required forms and documents that must accompany applications.

      Note: Completion of a Request for Online Direct Support Person (DSP) Training Program -Competency Matrix is NOT NEEDED when using a DHS-approved online DSP training program in its entirety or one of the already approved online DSP training programs identified above. 

  2. Using a Blended DHS-approved DSP classroom and DHS-approved Online Training 

    The training must be evaluated by the DHS to ensure all Illinois requirements are met for a 40-hour DSP classroom training program.

    The training must supplement DHS-approved instructor-led or approved online DSP classroom training by using selected online modules to train topics or competencies.

    The application for approval must:

    • Identify which DHS-approved online DSP training program is used.
    • Specify the modules that will be part of the Provider's DSP classroom training.
    • Include a completed Request for Online Direct Support Person (DSP) Training Program -Competency Matrix.  This Competency Matrix helps the Provider and DHS ensure that all required DSP competency areas are trained. 
    • Describe how the informational competencies trained in the online program will be integrated with completion of the corresponding interventional competencies trained in on-the-job training (OJT) activities.
    • Describe the process for DSP instructor interaction with trainees and how the interaction will ensure trainees understand how to use the online program effectively and address questions timely.
    • Include forms and supporting documents required for DSP training program approval process.  See DSP Training Program Approval Process for a list of required forms and documents that must accompany applications.
  3. Using an Online DSP training proposed by the Provider

  • All proposed online DSP training programs must be evaluated by the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities to ensure all Illinois requirements are met for a 40-hour DSP classroom training program.  The application must:
    • Describe the content, how to access the online training and identify the ownership of the online training program.
    • Specify whether the online curriculum will be used in its entirety or if only selected lessons or modules will be used to train specific topics or competencies.
    • If not used in its entirety, specify which modules of the online training program will be part of the Provider's DSP classroom training program and identify the informational competencies that will be covered by the online lessons or modules.
    • Include a completed Request for Online DSP Training Program Competency Matrix  This Competency Matrix helps Providers and DHS ensure that all DSP competency areas are trained.
    • Describe how the informational competencies will be integrated with completion of the interventional competencies OJT activities.
    • Describe the DSP instructor interaction with trainees and how the interaction will ensure trainees understand how to use the online program effectively and address questions timely.
    • Identify how the Provider will ensure trainees comprehend the online informational competencies at the 80% level of accuracy testing or other objective evaluation.  Include copies of proposed testing instruments.
    • Include temporary electronic access to the online training program, i.e., web site or CD, or include screen prints of all online training lessons or modules that will be a part of the Provider's DSP classroom training program.
    • Ensure the online program works as intended and DHS can fully understand it.
    • Include forms and documents required for DSP training program approval process.  See DSP Training Program Approval Process for a list of required forms and documents that must accompany applications.

Submit Online Training Program Approval Requests to:

  • Illinois Department of Human Services
    Division of Developmental Disabilities
    319 E. Madison, Suite 4J
    Springfield, IL 62701
    Attention: DSP or QIDP Training Program Review

If you have any questions about this process, please email: DHS.BQM@illinois.gov or call (217) 782-9438.

Reimbursement for Online Training:

  • Online training must be approved by DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities.
  • Must not be expired.  DSP training programs must be renewed by the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities every 2 years.
  • Reimbursement rates and processes are the same as those for instructor-led DSP training.