Personal Support Worker (PSW)

What to expect from a career as a PSW, Aide or Attendant

Personal support workers play a vital role in the health care industry, working in private homes or health care facilities to help provide patients with care and comfort. Personal support worker programs at Ontario colleges train students to work with other health care professionals to provide a number of services for the elderly, disabled and ill, to help them rehabilitate or simply live their lives in the most comfortable manner possible.

If you’d like to make a career out of helping people through work as a PSW, here’s what you need to know.

Personal Support Worker Courses

Personal support worker courses combine practical skills training with the communication, patient care and support techniques that professionals require in an industry that involves caring for the sick.

From a practical standpoint, students study physiology, anatomy and alterations to human mental and physical health, and complement this knowledge with patient care techniques, such as infection control, administering medication and much more. Students conduct lab work and have a clinical placement to practice their skills.

Techniques relating to specific patient types, such as those with cognitive disorders (e.g. dementia or Alzheimer’s) or those requiring palliative care, are studied. Conflict management and family communication skills are also part of the curriculum.

General Personal Support Worker Program Requirements

Ontario college personal support worker programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, and generally require a grade 12 English credit. Additional recommended or required credits may include senior biology, communications or health.

Personal Support Worker Jobs and Salaries

PSW jobs exist in many facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and more. Personal support workers may also work through community agencies that provide patients with in-home visits.

Personal support worker salaries will vary depending on the employer and the facility, but average starting salaries are around $28,000 per year.

Ontario Colleges Offering Personal Support Worker Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of personal support worker programs at Ontario colleges.

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