Becoming a personal support worker—or PSW—is a rewarding career that comes with many personal benefits, alongside the care you provide to your patients. You will be giving back to your community, helping people regain their independence, and providing social and emotional support to your patients and their families.
While these are all important and fulfilling parts of your role as a personal support worker, this may also be your main source of income. It’s also essential to understand what you can expect to make as a personal support worker, and how this correlates to your roles and responsibilities.
Here we will break down how to become a personal support worker, what your role will entail, and how these will come together to determine your potential salary and other job benefits. Let’s keep reading!
How to Become a Personal Support Worker
To become a personal support worker and have a career in the field, you will first need to complete the requisite program of study at a National Association of Career Colleges (NACC) certified school. Any college under this umbrella, such as the 7-month program offered by Cestar College in Toronto will ensure that you receive the best education that has been standardized across Canada, and that you pass the exam to receive your PSW designation.
To begin your program, you will be required to have your OSSD or a high school diploma, have a clean police record, as well as basic CPR and first aid training. You will complete approximately 700 hours in coursework, with over 300 of those in clinical placements to ensure you have real-life experience working with patients in both a facility/institution and in the community. This will also help you choose your future career path, which in turn will also impact your salary.
To learn the potential career paths of a PSW check out our blog, “Career Opportunities for Personal Support Workers.” We highlight the advantages of this career, the various job titles graduates can apply for and their average salaries, such as:
- Home support worker
- Respite worker
- Continuing care assistant
- Community support worker
- Surgical suite attendants
- Perioperative support assistant (PSA)
Courses covered in your personal support worker program will include assistance to the dying, to the family, and with medications and personal hygiene. As well, you’ll also cover topics such as abuse and neglect, cognitive healthcare, and safety. Altogether, you will be prepared to work in-home (private or through an agency) or at a facility with families, as well as in the community to provide the best care and support to the elderly, sick, injured, or to those with physical or developmental disabilities.
Once you’ve completed your coursework, you will be required to take and pass the NACC theory exam to ensure you have the requisite knowledge to do the job safely. Once done, you will receive a certificate that verifies you have completed the necessary theoretical and practical training to begin interviewing for your career as a personal support worker. But what, exactly, will your career as a PSW entail?
What Will Your Job Include?
As noted above, you may be providing support to a variety of people with an equal variety of unique needs. You will also find yourself in different settings- in-home, at a facility or long-term care home, or in your community providing support to those in need wherever possible. Much of your work will be dependent on your patient and where you are employed.
Personal support workers provide physical, social, and emotional support to both patients and their families, so your tasks and responsibilities can vary greatly. You will also be working alongside the rest of the patient’s healthcare team, which will help determine the level and type of support they will need.
You may be asked to help with shopping and other errands, cooking, and providing companionship. As well, you may assist with rehabilitation, administering of medications, and providing support, such as conflict resolution, to the family you are working with, where needed. Ultimately, you will work with your patient and their family and/or healthcare providers to create a schedule and list of tasks that will ensure that all their needs are met.
To get a better understanding of the overall scope of this career, check out our blog, “The Pros and Cons of Becoming a PSW.” A career as a personal support worker is incredibly rewarding for those who are passionate about helping those that are in need. However, just like with any job, there are also cons that may be a very crucial factor when choosing this as a career. Before becoming a PSW, make sure you are aware of the potential downside of this field so you can make an informed and honest decision for yourself.
As your role and responsibilities will vary between patients and workplaces, so will your salary and benefits. We’ll explore how all these factors come together below.
How Much Can You Expect to Make?
As a personal support worker, your average salary will start at around $28 000 per year. Again, this will vary depending on factors such as your experience, employer, and level of support required. If you are working as private, in-home support, you may find that your hours are much more demanding, and your salary much more flexible depending on the family, whereas your hours and salary might be more regulated working in a long-term care facility or through a community agency.
Aside from salary, there are other benefits to a career as a personal support worker you should consider. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, a career as a PSW can be very rewarding, knowing that you are helping others who may be vulnerable or at the end of their lives, and provide much-needed support and independence to those who may not otherwise receive it. On a personal level, you can also be assured that you will have great job security, as personal support workers will always be in demand, especially as the population ages. While this may not always translate to full-time work, you can be assured you will always have a steady income as a personal support worker.
Additionally, you will be able to enjoy a more flexible schedule, depending on where you choose to work. You will be flexible in terms of job environments, and in hours, especially if you work for an agency. This is an added bonus for those who require constant change or stimulation in their work, want to accommodate their own personal schedules, or who prefer to work with either one or multiple patients at a time.
About Cestar College’s PSW Program
By applying to Cestar College’s Personal Support Worker (PSW) program, you’re choosing:
- One of the most comprehensive Personal Support Worker curriculums in Ontario, covering all aspects of healthcare available to PSW graduates.
- 700 hours of learning, including 200 hours of Clinical Placement and 110 hours of Facility Placement, giving you the benefits of real-life work experience while still in school.
- A campus conveniently located in Toronto, providing students with access to every amenity possible.
- Small class sizes that foster discussion-based education and provide a welcoming learning environment for all students.
- Dedicated instructors with years of experience who take pride in seeing their students succeed.
- A challenging but rewarding learning experience full of support from all Cestar College faculty and administrators.
For more information about our program, visit our program page today!
Have any questions for us?
Please feel free to contact us. One of our representatives will be happy to assist you!