The Developmental Services Worker Program prepares graduates to administer and implement a variety of social assistance in programs and community services as well as assist clients to deal with personal and social problems. They are trained to provide person-directed supports and services for people with developmental disabilities in a manner that is respectful and fosters self-determination and empowerment. Upon successful completion of the DSW program, graduates are prepared to act in a professional, ethical, competent and accountable manner. 

The DSW practicum provide students with the opportunity to incorporate their classroom and learning lab theory into a real work situation. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate and refine their skills to the achievement of the required tasks and sub-tasks. Mapped directly to the Subject Specific Standards for the DSW worker’s vocational outcomes and in alignment with the DSW Standards of Practice, and the DSW Hay Competencies, the practicum provides a mentorship for the student to observe and interact with other developmental services worker professionals while working on the job to fulfill their practicum course hours.

The 6 DSW Standards of Practice include: Provision of Services to Service Recipients; Competence; Integrity; Confidentiality; Consent and Fees. The seven DSW Hay Competencies include: Advocating for Others; Collaboration; Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making; Fostering Independence in Others; Interpersonal Relations and Respect; Resilience; and Self-Development.




Developmental Disabilities

Ethics, Regulations, Competencies & Standards of Practice

Developmental Psychology

Abnormal Psychology (Including Dual Diagnosis)

Health & Wellness (personal, workplace and environmental health & well-being)

Education Strategies

Communication (Forms of communication; appropriate communication skills; accident reporting systems)

Developmental Services

Behavioural Support

Social Services

Field Placement 1 - Preparation and Observation



Person Directed Supports & Services

Communications (various forms of communication; appropriate communication,)


Field Placement 2 - School /Education Setting


Building Community

Assessment Techniques

Health & Wellness (Intellectual disability; preventing abuse, neglect & assault; vicarious trauma and self-care; DSW as part of a health care team)

Field Placement 3 - Community based, Supervised Placement Setting

Developmental Services Workers provide services to individuals in nonprofit organizations, schools, commercial organizations, family homes, their own homes, and the community. Services can be characterized as activities which improve or maintain the self-defined quality of life of that individual including, but not limited to: facilitating community participation such as education, employment or recreation; teaching; optimizing physical and mental health; supporting expression of the spiritual and creative self; and advocating on behalf of the individual or the broader group of service recipients. 

They are employed by social service and government agencies, mental health agencies, group homes, shelters, substance abuse centers, school boards, correctional facilities and other establishments.


role & Responsibilities

Social and Community Service Workers (Developmental Services Worker) perform some or all of the following duties:

Review client background information, interview clients to obtain case history and prepare intake reports

Assess clients' relevant skill strengths and needs

Assist clients to sort out options and develop plans of action while providing necessary support and assistance

Assess and investigate eligibility for social benefits

Refer clients to other social services or assist clients in locating and utilizing community resources including legal, medical and financial assistance, housing, employment, transportation, day care and other services

Counsel clients living in group homes and half-way houses, supervise their activities and assist in pre-release and release planning

Participate in the selection and admission of clients to appropriate programs

Implement life skills workshops, substance abuse treatment programs, behaviour management programs, youth services programs and other community and social service programs under the supervision of social services or health care professionals

Meet with clients to assess their progress, give support and discuss any difficulties or problems

Assist in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment programs by tracking clients' behavioural changes and responses to interventions

Advise and aid recipients of social assistance and pensions

Provide crisis intervention and emergency shelter services

Implement and organize the delivery of specific services within the community

Maintain contact with other social service agencies and health care providers involved with clients to provide information and obtain feedback on clients' overall progress

Co-ordinate the volunteer activities of human service agencies, health care facilities and arts and sports organizations

May maintain program statistics for purposes of evaluation and research


common job titles

Aboriginal Outreach Worker

Addictions Worker

Child and Youth Worker

Community Development Worker

Community Service Worker

Crisis Intervention Worker

Developmental Service Worker

Drop-in Centre Worker

Family Service Worker

Group Home Worker

Income Maintenance Officer – Social Services

Life Skills Instructor

Mental Health Worker

Rehabilitation Worker – Social Services

Social Services Worker

Veteran Services Officer

Welfare and Compensation Officer

Women's Shelter Supervisor

Youth Worker



Post-Secondary Students

Have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent Transcript of Record

Mature Students

Be at least 19 years of age or older and out of school for 1 year or more

Successfully score an 16 or more on the Wonderlic SLE (Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities approved test)

Must pass the Technical Literacy Exam

A Canadian or U.S. post-secondary diploma or degree

A General Education Development (GED) certificate issued by a Canadian province or territory or from the United States


*All foreign credentials must be translated into English and compared for Grade 12 equivalency by a recognized organization (ie. WES)

Medical Certificate (Immunization Form) is required, indicating that the applicant is fit to complete all components of the program and has up-to-date immunization status. Immunization for Hepatitis B for non-immune applicants is recommended

A signed “Disclaimer for Students in Programs Leading to Work with Vulnerable Sectors”. Students must provide a Canada wide Police Clearance of Criminal Record, including Vulnerable Sector check, within 30 business days of starting school. Individuals who have a criminal record may be unable to participate in the clinical placement and therefore will be unable to graduate

CPR/First Aid Course Level C (Must be completed prior to Clinical Placement)

Photo ID picture

Student Authorization/Permit for applicants under Live-In Caregiver Program (Work & Open Permit) status

A certificate of Apprenticeship or Certificate of Qualification from any Canadian jurisdiction


Full-Time – 54 weeks

Monday to Friday (9:00am – 2:00pm)




Total: 1345 hours

25 hours/week

Placement shifts: 7am - 3pm, 3pm - 11pm 


PLACEMENT 1 (Field Placement Prep & Observation): 30 hours of prep, 20 hours of observation

PLACEMENT 2 (School/Educational Setting):  105 hours

PLACEMENT 3 (Community-based Supervised Placement Setting): 260 hours

For a list of our upcoming classes, contact us!

Program Fees


              Canadian Residents

International Students




*Registration/Processing Fee

CPR/First Aid Course 














*Registration/Processing Fee

CPR/First Aid Course 



*Fee is non-refundable and due upon application.

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