Personal Support Worker

Post-Secondary Programs
Credential Earned: College Certificate (1 Year)
Campus: Haileybury, Kirkland Lake, Timmins
Program Length: 2 Semesters

Program Codes
H136 (PC) – Timmins Campus
H138 (KL) – Kirkland Lake Campus
H139 (HL) – Haileybury Campus

 Where care and friendship go hand in hand

In just one year, Northern’s Personal Support Worker (PSW) program will have you out in the field, providing the vital long-term care that forms the backbone of community service and wellbeing.

In the classroom and in our state-of-the-art practice labs – you’ll develop a solid code of ethics, hone your communication skills, and master the medical terminology and care protocols you’ll need on the job.

And, in a program that fosters awareness, sensitivity and respect for every individual’s unique needs – you will develop a polished approach. This will help you prepare for the close relationships you will develop.

It all wraps up with a placement in a long-term care facility, and a valuable certificate that’s your gateway to a rewarding career.

Personal support workers are unregulated health care providers. They work under the supervision of a regulated health professional, supervisor, or in the supported independent living environment under the direction of the client. They provide clearly identified personal care, routine activities of daily living and home management services, by following care/service plans and established policies and procedures.

Personal support workers are responsible for their work to their clients and to their employers. Workers providing long term care and support services form the backbone of both community and facility services.

They are often the people with whom clients/consumers have the most contact and with whom they develop close relationships. The attitude and approach of workers and their abilities are critical to the well being, comfort, safety and health of the people they support.

Education to prepare support workers assists them to develop a broad range of abilities beyond dexterity skills, which emphasizes the value of their role and reflects true sensitivity and respect for the individuality of each consumer/client.

This program was developed as part of the Ontario provincial government’s plan to reform long term care and support services provided to people living at home and in long term care facilities. The Personal Support Worker Program is a two semester program consisting of theory and clinical practice in both institutional and community settings.

Part-Time Options

The Personal Support Worker program can be completed on a part-time basis. There are a number of courses that are available to be taking online for those who prefer the part-time option. Students may take as few or as many courses as they choose, but are responsible to meet the individual course requirements.

Be advised that there will still be 5 courses to be taken on-site, and require mandatory attendance in order to be successful. Some of these courses include laboratory practice, and clinical placement.  Contact the program coordinator to plan your courses today. Note that the online courses are not part of our full-time program.

Career Opportunities

Following successful completion of their program, graduates may be employed in a variety of community and institutional agencies. Personal support workers care for clients who are stable and who have clearly identified needs that are not expected to change significantly. They work under supervision and as valuable members of care/service teams; provide personal care and home management services to clients who are experiencing physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioural challenges. They are capable of providing organized competent care for individual clients and for their assigned multi-client groups. Personal support workers may also work under the direction of the client.


Contact Information

Timmins Campus
Marisa Bedard
Program Coordinator
Tel: 705-235-3211 ext. 2187

Kirkland Lake Campus
Barbara Jordan
Program Coordinator
Tel: 705-567-9291 ext. 3741

Haileybury Campus
Betty Ann Durocher
Program Coordinator
Tel: 705-672-3376 ext. 8872

Admission Requirements

Program Specific Requirements

Personal Support Worker Clinical Requirements

Personal Support Worker Requirements (International)


General Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
  • Grade 12 English (C, M, U)


Or equivalent

Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

Applicants who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program must undergo academic testing and may be required to complete Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) process to demonstrate equivalency of admission requirements prior to admission into a program.

For more details, please contact the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 or

Additional Requirements for International Students

In addition to the general and programadmission requirements, international students must have proof of English Proficiency and meet the requirements below.

1. Proof of Senior High School Diploma/Certificate

2. English Proficiency (we will require one of the following):

  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System – minimum overall score of 6.5 must be achieved, with no individual band score under 6.0.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) – Computer based overall minimum score of 88+
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic 60+

If your country of citizenship has English as its official language, we may accept alternate proof of English Proficiency.

All educational documents must be submitted in English and will be dependent on the country of citizenship.

For more information, please contact

Additional Information

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Practical Nursing and Personal Support Worker programs, in order to be permitted to attend clinical hours.

Students who do not comply with the immunization requirements will not be allowed into the practice settings and as such may not be able to complete the Practicum required to graduate from the program. CPR re-certification, criminal reference checks and immunization updates are required annually. Any costs for these tests/certifications will be the responsibility of the applicant.

Students are responsible for the cost of appropriate uniforms and equipment (e.g. watch, pen, etc.) required for the clinical area as well as transportation to practicum placements. Mask fit testing will be provided by the College prior to clinical practice

As of January 1, 2005, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) requires all applicants for registration or reinstatement from within Canada to provide a recent Canadian Police Information Centre Criminal Record Synopsis (CPIC check) and Vulnerable Sector check as part of the registration process. The CPIC check registration requirement enhances public protection by allowing CNO to identify those who have criminal records that could affect their suitability to practice nursing.

Semester 1
CM1913 Communications I – Model B

Communications 1 is designed to enhance students’ writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills as required in academic and workplace settings. Emphasis will be placed on the use of appropriate structure, writing conventions, tone and style as well as the enhancement of interpersonal, teamwork, and presentation skills. Topics covered include the three-step writing process, paragraph development, academic integrity, essay composition, grammar and mechanics, A.P.A. and employment documents. Attention to detail is emphasized.

GN1443 Indigenous Culture and Awareness

This general education course will provide students with an introduction to Canadian Indigenous Nations’ history, sovereignty, land titles, cultural history and current critical issues. Topics addressed include the content of Indigenous rights, economic and social development, community and political processes, and business law and policies, justice & social services. Canadian Indigenous History and Relations is a general education course that has been incorporated into all programs at Northern College.

PN1033 Human Relationships

In this course, students will engage in effective professional relationships with clients and colleagues. With a focus on communication skills, students will learn to: build therapeutic relationships, provide person-centered care, work within an interprofessional team, and manage conflict within the workplace. These skills will be taught with a sensitivity to diversity, values, beliefs, and cultural practices. Stress management techniques will be reviewed to highlight the importance of self-care when working in healthcare.


PW1113 Common Health Challenges

This course introduces students to the aging process and its impact on the client and normal body functions. Students will identify common diseases and disorders, and their impact on activities of daily living. Students will select appropriate care and support required by clients with these conditions, as directed by the plan of care. The importance of observing and reporting signs and symptoms associated with these conditions will be reviewed. Students will learn the basic classifications of medications used for these common diseases and disorders. The concepts of disease prevention, health promotion and maintenance, rehabilitation, and restorative care will be reviewed with the goal of supporting client comfort and independence.


PW1133 Human Body: Structure and Function

In this course, students will be introduced to the normal structures and functions of the human body throughout the lifespan with an emphasis on maintaining homeostasis and health promotion.  Students will use correct medical terminology to describe the components of normal cells, tissues, organs, and body systems as they relate to activities of daily living, and to identify alterations that are beyond the scope of a PSW and require further assistance to promote comfort and safety.


PW1123 PSW Roles and Responsibilities

This course introduces the roles and responsibilities of the PSW within a variety of workplace settings to students. Students will review the Canadian healthcare system and learn about the legislation and standards that pertain to the role of the PSW and other healthcare workers.  Students will learn the professional responsibilities of unregulated and regulated health professionals in order to work as an effective member of the interdisciplinary team. Ethical and moral principles will be reviewed, with a focus on providing safe, client-centered care. Students will learn the importance of confidentiality, documentation, and reporting within the role of the PSW.


PW1024 PSW Practice I

In this course, students will learn various healthcare skills required by clients in selected age groups. Students will identify relevant client information, assist with activities of living, and promote safe, client-centered care. Healthcare skills will be taught and practiced in classroom and laboratory settings. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate safe and competent care within the practice environment with standardized clients. With a focus on infection prevention, hygiene and grooming, elimination, nutrition and mobility support, and basic assessments, this course will prepare students to enter clinical practice in their second semester.


Semester 2
PS1032 Mental Health and Cognitive Challenges

In this course, students will be introduced to various mental health and cognitive challenges that may be experienced by clients. With a focus on responsive behaviours, students will explore supportive approaches to assist and care for clients with these conditions. The concepts of disorientation, delirium, and dementia will be emphasized with the goal of providing client-centered care. Developmental disorders, and their effect on holistic functioning, will also be reviewed.

PW1093 End of Life Care and Support

This course introduces students to palliative and end of life care. Students will identify appropriate methods of supporting clients and their families with the process of dying, as directed by the plan of care. The role of the PSW within the interprofessional team will be reviewed. A focus on personal beliefs and cultural sensitivity will be examined to assist in providing client-centered support and care. Students will also examine legal issues and client rights surrounding death and dying.

PW 1103 PSW Practice II

In this course, students will practice advanced PSW skills to support clients in a variety of settings. Skills will be taught and practiced in classroom and laboratory settings. Students will follow the plan of care and assist clients with medications, provide continence and nutrition support, and complete household management tasks. With a focus on community-based settings, students will demonstrate the importance of their observations through documenting and reporting to a supervisor while working within an interprofessional team. This course will support students in their clinical practice and throughout their preceptorship experience.

PW2011 PSW Clinical Practice

This course provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in the clinical practice setting. Students will complete 110-120 hours of clinical placement (which may vary by campus) in a long-term care facility under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor. Students will demonstrate their ability to: work within the PSW role as a member of the interprofessional team; provide safe, client-centered care; maintain professionalism while establishing therapeutic relationships with clients and families; identify, document and report relevant client information; and assist clients with their activities of daily living. The clinical experience of PW 2011 provides students with a preparatory experience prior to entering PW2017 Preceptorship.


PW2017 Preceptorship

This course provides student with the opportunity to perform all the duties and responsibilities of a PSW under the guidance and supervision of a PSW preceptor. Students will work independently with their preceptor in the PSW role to demonstrate safe, competent, and client-centred care. Students will complete 240 hours of preceptorship in preparation for graduation workplace entry.


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