Closeup of a personal support worker holding a client’s hand

Career Opportunities for Personal Support Workers

Personal Support Workers (PSWs) are trained individuals who are responsible for making sure that the supportive, physical, and psycho-social needs of patients/clients are met. Typically, PSWs work closely with individuals who are ill, elderly, or disabled and are thus in need of help with their daily tasks. There is a high demand for Personal Support Workers in Canada; thus, PSW career opportunities are abundant. With a career in the healthcare field, it can be tricky to understand the various avenues or fields in which you can work. So, we’re breaking it down for you. In this article, we will cover some of the job titles you can look into as a graduate of a PSW training program.

Career Opportunities for Personal Support Workers

What Are the Main Advantages That PSW Career Opportunities Have?

Before getting into the career opportunities for PSWs, let’s quickly cover the overarching advantages that this career path has to offer. 

Accelerated Training 

In as little as seven months, you can complete a PSW Training Program that will equip you with the knowledge and skill to become a successful personal support worker. This career is definitely worth considering if you would like to get started quickly in the healthcare industry.

The Chance to Make a Difference 

For many people, making a difference in the lives of others is an important consideration when finding a suitable career path. All healthcare-related jobs can truly make a difference in their own way. For PSWs, it’s all about ensuring comfort, well-being, and quality of life by working closely with the elderly, ill, or disabled. Not only does this make a huge difference for the client, but for the client’s family as well. 

Abundant Opportunities and Varied Work Environments 

There are a variety of jobs available for graduates of the PSW training program. The types of work environments span from assisted living communities, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals, private home care, and agencies. Some PSWs even choose to do contractual work to garner plenty of diverse working experience and maintain freedom in the jobs they want to take on. 

The Core Tasks of a Personal Support Worker

Although job titles may vary throughout the field, there are certain core tasks and responsibilities that are common to most PSW career opportunities. Some tasks include:

  • Provide assistance with daily living activities: help with feeding, mobility, bathing, grooming, medication and overall hygiene
  • Meal preparation and light housekeeping 
  • Report any unsafe conditions that need to be actioned on
  • Report any changes to the client’s appetite, behaviour, and attitude
  • Maintain updated documentation (e.g. communication books, progress notes) on the client

What Job Titles Can Graduates Apply For?

There are actually numerous job titles on the market that are perfect for personal support workers but are sometimes overlooked. Here, we’ll discuss PSW career opportunities for those who are fresh out of training or those looking for a little more guidance.

1. Home Support Worker 

The primary responsibility of home support workers is to provide assistance with daily living, personal care, and companionship to clients within the client’s residence. Home support workers will also be responsible for meal preparation and light housekeeping. 

The average salary for this job is $32,000 per year.

2. Respite Worker 

In the event that the primary caregiver in a client’s residence or long-term care facility needs to take a long-term break, respite workers can step in and assume their responsibilities. Responsibilities can include any of the core tasks of PSWs

The average salary for this job is $37,000 per year.

3. Continuing Care Assistant 

Continuing care assistants typically work in long-term care facilities where they may be needed to fulfill any or all of the core tasks of a PSW. 

The average salary for this job is $38,000 per year

4. Community Support Worker

Community support workers typically work in assisted living communities where they provide care and support to individuals within and throughout the community, accomplishing some of the core tasks of a PSW. 

The average salary for this job is $39,000 per year.

Career Opportunities for Personal Support Workers

5. Surgical Suite Attendants 

Surgical suite attendants in acute care hospitals work with a team to deliver the highest level of care to patients undergoing surgery. The tasks surgical suite attendants provide include: portering services, restocking and maintaining surgical supplies, sterilizing the surgical environment, and so on. Candidates who have PSW training and experience working in a surgical suite environment are typically preferred for this position.

The average salary for this job is $44,000 per year.

6. Perioperative Support Assistant (PSA) 

PSAs work in Operating Rooms (ORs) or Post Anaesthetic Care Units (PACUs.) In this position, perioperative support assistants can expect to perform duties such as transferring the patient from various units, setting up the patient’s position for and after surgery, applying specialized surgical dressings, and so on. This job title, however, has additional requirements on top of PSW training, such as:

  • Knowledge of sterile techniques
  • Knowledge of MSDS and WHMIS
  • Basic Life Support Certification

The average salary for this job is $45,000 per year. 

Career Advancement for Personal Support Workers

All healthcare professionals are united in the common goal of ensuring both the physical and mental well-being of patients. So understandably, valuable experience gained from working as a PSW can be a good foundation for other career paths in the healthcare industry. In terms of the duties and responsibilities of a PSW, nursing is a natural next step in the healthcare field. Choosing continuing education is also a great choice for advancing your career.

Where Can I Train to Become a Personal Support Worker?

Here at Cestar College, we ensure that our Personal Support Worker Training Program is designed with the highest learning standards and is up-to-date on today’s practices. On top of being a trusted training provider, we ensure that each of our students receives the comprehensive and immersive training they need to set them up for success. 

If you have any questions about PSW career opportunities or the program itself, please feel free to contact us!

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