How To Become A Personal Support Worker (PSW) in Ontario | Cestar College
How To Become a PSW in Ontario
22 Apr 2022

How To Become A Personal Support Worker (PSW) in Ontario

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    Are you interested in a career in healthcare?

    At Cestar College, we know how overwhelming it can be to figure out the best path to achieving your career goals. With so many options available, sometimes students don’t know where to turn.

    It’s important to be fully informed when choosing your post-secondary pathway. That’s why Cestar College has put together an essential guide to becoming a personal support worker in Ontario, providing a helpful resource to get potential personal support workers started on their journey towards a successful career in healthcare.

    Becoming a PSW in Ontario

    What Is A Personal Support Worker?

    A Personal Support Worker (PSW) provides essential care and services to those who require assistance in their day-to-day activities. A personal support worker can be employed publicly or privately, working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, supportive housing, educational facilities, adult group homes, nursing homes, or assisting patients in their own homes. 

    Based on where they are employed, personal support workers’ responsibilities can vary. Some tasks personal support workers may be required to complete include: 

    • Assisting medical professionals and health care providers with patient care, health promotion, end of life care, etc.
    • Helping patients feed themselves, with personal care, with mental health challenges, etc.
    • Administering medications
    • Developing and implementing care plans that cater to specific patients’ needs
    • Performing minor household management tasks

    To learn more about the PSW profession, check out our blog post on How To Know If A PSW Career Is Right For You.

    A PSW assists a disabled woman in her home

    Why Become a Personal Support Worker in Ontario 

    Becoming a PSW in Ontario greatly benefits both you and your community. As a personal support worker, you’ll have the advantage of:

    Job Security 

    The need for personal support workers in Ontario grows each year as our population continues to age. In 2016, 16.4% of Ontario’s population, totalling about 3 million people, were over the age of 65. That percentage is expected to jump to 25% by 2041. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities will continue to need professionals to assist in caring for this ever-growing population of elderly Canadians. 

    Because of this demand, PSW positions in Canada are expected to exceed 33,000 openings before 2028, with both part-time and full-time employment opportunities anticipated to be available. This also means personal support workers have the benefit of increased job security, as their knowledge and expertise will continue to be an essential part of every community. 

    Visit our blog post on Why You Should Become A PSW During A Pandemic if you are interested in reading more about job demand and security for PSWs. 

    Opportunity for Growth

    Studying to become a personal support worker is the starting point for a successful career in healthcare. While opportunities for PSWs are abundant, the knowledge and skillset required to succeed as a PSW are transferable to other healthcare professions. 

    PSW certificate graduates have the opportunity to take other courses, upgrading their certifications to a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) in as little as one year. Eventually, a PSW can use their educational background to work toward becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). This opportunity to progress makes a personal support worker program the perfect foundation for any aspiring healthcare worker. 

    Becoming a personal support worker also gives you the opportunity to work in a number of different settings. Our blog post, PSW Career Opportunities to Consider, will walk you through some of the avenues that open up for those with a PSW certificate.

    Opportunity to Change Lives

    Unlike many other healthcare professions, the personal support worker role provides the unique opportunity to personally affect every patient’s physical and psycho-social well-being through hours and hours of one-on-one interaction.

    As a PSW, you’ll get to know your patients on a personal level, giving you the chance to see firsthand how your work benefits your community.

    Personal support worker serving a meal to an elderly patient

    How To Become A Personal Support Worker in Ontario

    Becoming a PSW in Ontario has never been easier! Cestar College’s Guide to Becoming a PSW in Ontario provides the perfect starting point for any interested PSW candidate. 

    Step 1 – Apply to a Certified Personal Support Worker Program

    If you are interested in becoming a personal support worker in Ontario, you should first apply to a personal support worker program.

    While public colleges do offer this type of certification program, it is important to consider the benefits of attending a private, National Association of Career Colleges (NACC)-licensed personal support worker program.

    A NACC-licensed program will have a comprehensive curriculum, involving both in-class and experiential learning, and will equip you for situations you may encounter while working in a personal support worker role. It will also provide you with the opportunity to prepare for the NACC PSW certification exam.

    Cestar College’s NACC-licensed PSW program, available to both domestic and international students, provides an accelerated and comprehensive curriculum in just over 7 months, preparing you for success within many Ontario healthcare settings.

    For more specific details about our application requirements and process, along with a program overview, you can visit our program page.

    Personal support worker playing games with patients in a nursing home

    Step 2 – Pass the NACC PSW Certification Exam and Earn Your PSW Certificate

    Once a student has completed a NACC-licensed PSW program, they will have to pass the NACC Personal Support Worker Certification exam.

    This certification is extremely beneficial, as it proves the candidate possesses the knowledge and skills needed to successfully work in a personal support worker role in Ontario. It also proves to employers that the certified PSW will be capable of working within many healthcare settings.  

    Once you’ve completed these two steps, you will be a fully certified PSW in Ontario. This certification will create many opportunities for you, allowing you to move towards your career goals and make a difference within your community.

    Community support worker and an elderly woman talk on a bench

    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!


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