Please note:

The PSW program is available full-time, part-time, FAST delivery, and accelerated delivery.

All locations include remote (virtual) delivery with in-person labs and field placement at multiple locations* including: Bracebridge (The Pines), Brantford, Guelph (Riverside Glen), Ingersoll, Kitchener (Doon), Mount Forest (Strathcona), Stratford, Waterloo (Luther Village and University Gates). *pending availability

All admissions are being accepted through one location (Doon).

About the program

As a member of an interprofessional health-care team, a Personal Support Worker (PSW) provides supportive person-centered care across the lifespan to individuals and families, at various levels of health and wellbeing, in a variety of care environments including: long-term, community and/or hospital care settings. Conestoga's PSW program prepares students to become preferred graduates for the profession; one that truly makes a difference in the lives of others.Students will progress from beginning engagement to an entry-to-practice prepared professional PSW; one who participates in the delivery of care as directed by the plan of care/service plan with activities of daily living, comprising personal care, home management and nutrition and family responsibilities. Throughout the program, students learn how to promote a comfortable and safe environment for all clients including those experiencing responsive behaviours, risk for injury and/or clients requiring end-of-life care. Provincially recognized certificates related to these areas of learning will be received.Experiential learning, which is central to Conestoga's program, is integrated throughout to support student application of knowledge, skills and judgment. Students have the opportunity to study at multiple locations including the Living Classroom. The Living Classroom is an innovative curriculum delivery model, combining classroom and real-life experiences for students to build increased knowledge and confidence working with older clients and care teams obtained by immediate integration of learning in long-term care and retirement living environments.
Note: Admission to the program is required prior to registration for courses.

Admission requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or 19 years of age or older
  • Grade 12 compulsory English, C or U, or equivalent, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Communications (COMM1270)
  • For more information on preparatory programs, visit Academic Upgrading

Note re: admission requirements

  • English testing may be required.

Admission procedures

  • Submit a completed Conestoga College Program Application Form.
  • Attach proof of Admission Requirements.
  • Final selection is made following an assessment of the admission requirements

Program requirements

All PSW students are required to complete field placement in the form of work experience to graduate from the program. Work experience will be completed in the second half of the program. Additionally, there may be volunteer or field activity opportunities available for students to engage in within the first half of the program, though this is not required in the program.
To qualify for participation in field experiences required in the program, students must be able to provide the appropriate documentation as needed.
The following documentation may be required as a future PSW in the workforce, including documentation required for field experiences as a PSW student. Required documentation may vary according to individual employers.
  • An annual Police Check for Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS) must be completed in Canada. Police Checks must be clear of any unpardoned criminal offences. An unclear criminal record may result in the inability to participate in work experiences which will jeopardize progress in the program. Some agencies may request students to provide a VSS completed within six months of start date. Students with criminal records are advised to meet with the program chair for academic counselling to determine program suitability.
  • Current immunizations. Proof of immunization or laboratory blood test results including: Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), Varicella/chickenpox, Hepatitis B, Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap), Polio, Seasonal Influenza vaccine
  • Current TB Status. Evidence of 2-step testing.
  • Current Standard First Aid and CPR - HCP or BLS level (must be completed in Canada).
  • Respirator fit testing.
  • Travel within the program: Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from learning settings external to the College and for covering any costs incurred.
  • Applicants are advised that accessibility to a car may be required for field experiences.
  • Applicants must have a strong desire to work with older adults and/or clients with disabilities and/or long-term health problems.
  • Applicants are advised that good oral and written communication skills are essential for the program.
  • Applicants are advised that a latex-free environment in the College or field work setting is not guaranteed.
  • Attendance in classroom skills lab and field work experiences is essential.

Graduate opportunities

Personal support workers contribute to the quality of life of individuals by promoting their independence and dignity; social, emotional and physical needs; mobility; personal appearance; comfort and safety. Graduates understand the roles, responsibilities and limitations of the personal support worker and work as a member of the health-care team, communicating effectively, and observing and reporting changes in clients' conditions.

Graduates meeting the academic requirements may pursue admission to Conestoga's part-time PSW to Practical Nursing Bridge program https://continuing-education.conestogac.on.ca/programs/personal-support-worker-to-practical-nurse-bridge

On average, 96% of graduates from the last three years (2018 to 2020) found employment within six months of graduation.

For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, see the Government of Canada website: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/home

Program outcomes

  • Work within the personal support worker role in community, retirement homes, long-term care homes and/or hospital care settings in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer's job description, policies, procedures and guidelines.
  • Act responsibly and be accountable for own actions while recognizing the boundaries of knowledge and skills within the personal support worker role that require collaboration with the clients, families, supervisors and/or other members of the interprofessional care/service team.
  • Participate as a member of the interprofessional care/service team and maintain collaborative working relationships in the provision of supportive care in community, retirement homes, long-term care homes and/or hospital care settings.
  • Provide client-centred and client-directed care that is based on ethical principles, sensitive to diverse client and family values, beliefs and needs, and which follows the direction of the plan of care/service plan.
  • Establish and maintain helping relationships with clients and their families reflecting open communication, professional boundaries, employer's policies and adhering to confidentiality and privacy legislation.
  • Identify relevant client information using basic assessment and communication skills and report and document findings in accordance with the requirements of employer policies and procedures and all applicable legislation.
  • Promote and maintain a safe and comfortable environment for clients, their families, self and others including the implementation of infection prevention and control measures and emergency first aid procedures that are in keeping with the plan of care/service plan, employer policies and procedures, and all applicable legislation.
  • Assist clients across the lifespan with routine activities of daily living by applying basic knowledge of growth and development, common alterations in functioning, disease prevention, health promotion and maintenance, rehabilitation and restorative care.
  • Assist clients with medication in keeping with the direction of the plan of care/service plan and under the direction and monitoring of a regulated health professional or most accountable person and in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer's policies.
  • Assist with household management tasks and instrumental activities of daily living in accordance with the plan of care/service plan and considering the preferences, comfort and safety of clients, families and significant others.
  • Assist clients who are caring for dependent individuals considering client and family choices, professional boundaries and the direction of the plan of care/service plan
  • Identify and report situations of neglect, and potential, alleged or witnessed/actual incidents of abuse, and respond in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer's policies and procedures.
  • Assist in the provision of culturally relevant palliative and end-of life care to clients experiencing life threatening illness and to their families and significant others, from diagnosis through death and bereavement, and in accordance with clients' choices and the plan of care/service plan.
  • Use identified approaches and best practices to support positive and safe behaviour in clients experiencing cognitive impairment, mental health challenges and/or responsive behaviours.
  • Apply knowledge of and commitment to continuous quality improvement and change initiatives, including the responsibility of ongoing and continuing professional development.
  • Make use of self-care strategies to manage personal and professional stressors in accordance with client and employer expectations

Program related resources

Program contact

Thanks to the generous support of The Cowan Foundation, PSW students are eligible to receive:

  • Entrance award of $500
  • Free uniform
  • Free First Aid and CPR certification
The Cowan Foundation

Continuing Education
UpcomingRegistrations

Mark your calendar for our upcoming registration dates, so you can plan your future.

Winter registration: Opens November 28, 2022
Spring registration: Opens February 27, 2023