How to Choose the Right PSW Course for You | Cestar College
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20 Nov 2020

How to Choose the Right PSW Course for You

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    Personal support workers (PSWs) are providers of care service that work closely with clients that are elderly, recovering, or disabled. This rewarding career in healthcare is also highly in-demand in the job market, offering great stability and varied job opportunities to choose from. Currently, working as a personal support worker does not need a license. Therefore, what employers are really looking for is someone who has the right mindset for the job, is equipped with the needed skills and knowledge, possesses a PSW certificate from a reputable institution, and has relevant real-world experience. With the right PSW course, you will be equipped with the skills you need to succeed in this field. 

    If you’re interested in enrolling in a PSW training course but unsure how to choose the right one for you, we’ve compiled a checklist of attributes that you should consider.

    Let’s get started!   

    Close up of the hands of a personal support worker guiding the hands of an elderly client

    1. A PSW Course That is Comprehensive and Adheres to the Ontario PSW Training Standard

    It’s very important that the PSW training program you choose will equip you with all the knowledge and skills needed to safely do the roles of a PSW. Therefore, make sure to do thorough research on the program and its curriculum. The program you choose should include essential PSW subject matters such as PSW foundations, safety and mobility training, assisting with personal hygiene, body systems, household management, nutrition and hydration, and so on. 

    Additionally, the program must also adhere to the Ontario Personal Support Worker Training Standard as set by the National Association of Career Colleges. Typically such programs are affixed with “NACC” in their program title or would mention this in the program details.  

    2. A PSW Course That Gives You Quality Certification

    Another detail to look for in the curriculum is the level of credentials that the PSW course would give you; it should state “certificate.” This is the credential that graduates of PSW training need to be able to secure promising jobs. Typically, reputable academic institutions would issue numbered certificates to their graduates, thereby strengthening the affiliation of the graduate to the institution. 

    Understandably, the issuer of the certificate does not go unnoticed by employers. This is why it’s important to obtain your PSW training from a reputable and respected provider that is in good standing with Career Colleges Ontario (CCO) and complies with the standards set by the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC)

    3. Accelerated but Has a Good Number of Practical Hours

    Care service has one of the most fast-tracked training programs available for a healthcare career. This is enticing to many people who want to get a quick start in the healthcare industry and make a difference in people’s lives as soon as possible. However, as accelerated as the training programs are, standardized programs in Ontario need to meet the minimum required hours as stated in Ontario’s laws

    According to Ontario’s laws on “Qualifications of personal support workers,” the PSW course must offer a minimum of 600 hours, counting both class time and practical experience time. Certain institutions, such as Cestar College, may add extra hours to this minimum requirement in order to ascertain that graduates are thoroughly prepared. 

    4. Immersive and Addresses All Learning Styles

    Though standard PSW training programs may include similar subjects in their curriculum, the methods for facilitating learning is unique to every training provider. Therefore, you would want to look into a program’s instructional methods. The best programs would be able to address various learning styles, making the educational journey immersive and experiential for everyone. Types of instructional methods used in adult education programs include interactive lectures, seminars, practical work, as well as independent and team projects.    

    5.A PSW Course That Will Give You Real-World Experience

    Gaining practical experience in a real-world setting is beneficial for students because it cements all the important skills and knowledge imparted by their instructors. Additionally, clinical placement is required by Ontario’s laws, as stated under the section “Qualifications of personal support workers.” 

    Currently, the number of hours for practical experience is not stated in these legal regulations, leaving it to the discretion of each individual training institution. The benchmark, however, should be around half or nearly half of the total course time – so, at least 300 hours. This is because most new graduates who are looking for their first PSW jobs would only have this experience to leverage when interviewed by employers. 

    On top of having a good number of hours, the best training institutions would also diversify the environments (e.g. communities and facilities) where students have their clinical placements. This is yet another benefit in terms of hire-ability once the students graduate.  

    6. Taught By Experienced Instructors

    You would want to make sure that the instructors for your PSW course have had their own share of experience in the field of care service. This way, they can add more value to your learning experience and are in the best position to answer in-depth questions that you may have. 

    An instructor writing on a whiteboard

    7. Acknowledges the Demands of Adult Education

    According to Adult Learning Principles, the most effective training programs for adults are goal-oriented, practical, and self-directed. So, in order for you to get the most out of your education, make sure that the PSW course provider that you choose is one that adheres to these vital principles.

    8. Has Financing Options Available

    If you are hesitating to start PSW training because of current financial challenges, you can look for a training institution that offers financing options for its students

    9. A PSW Course From an Institution That Will Offer Career Assistance

    Some institutions will provide standard training and then leave their graduates without further career guidance. We want to establish here that this doesn’t have to be the norm. There are institutions out there, like Cestar College, that offer career management assistance and job placement assistance to make sure their graduates get all the guidance they need. 

    What’s My Next Step?

    If you’re looking for an institution that checks out all of the above characteristics, then look no further. At Cestar College, we prepare our students for success as PSWs with a comprehensive and standardized curriculum, delivered using the most effective instructional approaches. We also make sure that our faculty is composed of experienced instructors who can truly add value to the learning experience. Furthermore, our diverse clinical placements for students, employer-recognized certification, and job placement assistance ensure that graduates have no trouble landing a job immediately. 

    If you have any questions about our PSW course or would like to get started, please feel free to contact us!


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