Personal Support Worker

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

Program Codes
H136 (PC) – Timmins Campus
H138 (KL) – Kirkland Lake Campus
H139 (HL) – Haileybury Campus
H137 (JB) – Moosonee Campus

Where caretaking and friendship go hand in hand

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

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’ll polish approach in preparation for the close relationships you’ll develop with the clients in your care.

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
705-235-3211 ext. 2187

Kirkland Lake Campus
Barbara Jordan
705-567-9291 ext. 3741

Haileybury Campus
Betty Ann Durocher
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
AA3004 Pharmacology Theory and Lab

The goal of this course is to provide the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to administer medications accurately and safely in community settings. The student will be introduced to the principles of pharmacology including the role medications play in restoring or maintaining health. An examination of federal and provincial legislation will provide the student with an understanding of his/her role as a member of the care team. The basics of pharmacology, the rationale behind the use of drugs, and the mechanisms of medication actions within the human body will be explored. Given the ever expanding and changing nature of pharmaceuticals, the graduate of this course will need to continuously update his/her knowledge in order to remain current with medications and their actions and reactions in the body. Effective communication is essential in order for health care professionals and allied care providers to understand each other during the performance of their roles and responsibilities. All members of the team require a working knowledge of the various terms in pharmacology to ensure client safety in the prescribing, preparing, administering, and documenting of medications. At the beginning of each unit the student will be expected to research the definitions of key terms. While the text utilizes the term, “allied health professional”, the term “allied care provider” has been applied in the Course Outline to reflect the role of the developmental services worker and/or education assistant in community settings. As well, in recognition of the individuals for whom care and services are provided in the community, the term “patient” has been replaced with “client”.

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.

PN1033 Human Relationships

Using an experiential approach, this course will focus the learner on the skills necessary to communicate effectively on a personal and professional level. The concept of caring will be used as a basis to explore the helping relationship, interviewing skills and group process.

PW1003 Human Body, Structure, Function and Maintenance

This course introduces the Personal Support Worker student to the normal structures and functions of the human body and its basic requirements. A background in anatomy and physiology is essential for anyone entering the health care field. A good understanding of normal body function will help the PSW to identify abnormal conditions.

PW1013 Legislation, Ethics and Principles of PSW

This course is an introduction to ethics and moral principles that will guide the learner in their personal and professional relationships. Codes of Ethics, principles of personal support and dealing with ethical dilemmas will be discussed. Legislation that pertains to the PSW and the role of the Personal Support Worker within the health care system will be examined. The use of care plans will be discussed. This course will also emphasize understanding the uniqueness of each individual.

PW1014 PSW Practice

This course will provide the learner with opportunities to apply concepts and knowledge gained in the classroom environment to clinical practice settings. The emphasis will be on the promotion of health and wellness of individuals throughout the lifespan. The learner will be introduced to various skills required by individuals in selected age groups through simulation, practice in laboratory and a teaching-learning experience. Students are expected to work independently to gain an understanding of medical terminology.

PW1083 Common Health Care Challenges

This course introduces the PSW student to the impact of the aging process on normal body function as well as on the individual as a whole. Attention is paid to pathological processes that impact on the normal anatomy and physiological processes in the body.

GN1443 Canadian 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.

Semester 2
PS1012 Developmental Disabilities Across the Lifespan

The quality of life for people with disabilities can be enhanced with a supportive network that understands that people with disabilities undergo growth and development in similar stages as people without disabilities.This course will follow a developmental approach in examining the lifespan of children, youth and adults with disabilities. This course provides the personal support worker with an awareness of the type of personal care and support that individuals with disabilities may require across their lifespan. Current best practices in identifying and facilitating support with dignity and respect will be emphasized.”

PW1002 Introduction to Community Care Theory

This course provides the theoretical background for the delivery of practical skills that the personal support worker will require for client care in the community environment. Emphasis is placed on home management, home assessment, safety interventions and personal care in the private residence setting. Principles of nutrition and meal preparation will be addressed. Also covered will be home mobilization and client assistive devices and their application in the home/community setting.

PW1053 Introduction to Community Care Lab

This course is offered in a community lab setting to provide students with opportunities to apply knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom to the clinical practice setting through simulation. The student will be able to perform basic support skills required for community care and to effectively care for individuals in selected age groups and with a variety of medical conditions.

PW2011 PSW Clinical Practice

This course will provide students with opportunities to apply knowledge and skills gained in the classroom environment to the practice setting under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor in a long term care setting. The emphasis of this course is on the demonstration of knowledge, skills and attitude required to assist clients with personal routine activities of daily living.

PW2017 Preceptorship

Personal Support Workers fulfill a vital and important role in the community setting. The worker cares for clients with clearly identified needs and assists the clients towards maintaining their independence in a supported environment. This course focuses on providing the learner with the opportunity to explore the community setting and practice required skills needed to provide assistance to clients in a private resident setting. Also this course involves the learner completing a placement in a long term care facility. The learner (preceptee) will perform duties and tasks in the role of a Personal Support Worker under the guidance and supervision of an employee (preceptor) in a long term care facility.

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