Developmental Service Worker

  • Program Accreditation: Diploma
  • 53 weeks – Total hours: 1,500
  • Theory: 940 hours – Internship: 560 hours

Program Overview

According to Statistics Canada, more than 60,000 Ontarians have a developmental disability. As a skilled and caring Development Service Worker (DSW), you can help this population to thrive, work and participate in their communities. This program will provide students with a deep understanding of developmental disabilities along with the supporting skills required to help others and build a rewarding career in this social services field.

Career Opportunities

Supporting individuals with developmental disabilities is the focus of the DSW Diploma Program. Graduates will work with individuals in their career who require assistance to function in community-living situations and in society. Typically, DSWs are employed by faith- and culture-based agencies, and school boards.

Admission Requirements

  • An Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent; or be at least 18 years of age or older and pass an entry test.
  • English proficiency requirement for international students.

Internship Requirements

  • Medical Certificate
  • Police Reference Check (Clearance) of Criminal Record
  • Standard First Aid & CPR Level C Certification

Graduation Requirements

To successfully meet the program outcomes the student must:

  • Achieve a minimum mark of 65% in all of the module assignments and exams
  • Achieve a satisfactory rating in the internship evaluation

What You Will Learn

The course consists of 21 modules. These modules are covered in the classroom and the internship.

  • Essential Skills
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Inclusive Communication Skills
  • Employment Achievement Strategies
  • Basic Business Communications
  • Harm Reduction and Crisis Intervention
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Mental Health & Addictions
  • Populations at Risk
  • Support Resources and Community Capacity Building
  • Law for Support Workers
  • Self-Care and Team Building
  • Basic Counselling Techniques
  • Solution-Focused Intervention Techniques
  • Family Development, Functions and Social Issues
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Professional Documentation & Case Management
  • Basic Nursing & Pharmacology
  • Behaviour Modification
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Internship: The Developmental Service Worker students complete their education with 560 hours of internship experience.


The Developmental Service Worker Program is approved as a vocational program under the Ontario Career Colleges Act, 2005.

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