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Personal Support Worker (PSW) Online Program Outline

Online Distance Education Certificate Program  

  • 30 weeks total time to complete based on 20 hours per week for academic portion and 37.5 hours per week during placement
  • Includes an 8 week practical placement in Long-term Care and Community workplaces
  • Majority of the course content is completed online within pre-scheduled milestones
  • Instructor time is scheduled each week via video lectures
  • Practical labs are prescheduled and delivered in the Personal Support Worker Labs at the Ottawa campus

Approved as a vocational program under the Ontario Career Colleges Act, 2005.


The Covid 19 pandemic put a sharp focus on the need for well trained and fairly paid personal support workers. The growing need for medical services by an aging population and an increased focus by government on home and long-term care are fuelling demand for trained, knowledgeable and caring Personal Support Workers.

Knowing that you are making a difference to people who need you is what makes the PSW career choice very rewarding for caring individuals with excellent people skills. The PSW program is designed to provide our students with the necessary training and education to pursue a career in the traditional nursing assistant role in health care environments.

Core Personal Support Worker Clinical Skills

Role of the PSW in Client Care 

The Personal Support Worker (PSW) is an integral part of today’s healthcare team. In this course, students will learn the foundations of providing safe, ethical, legal and professional care to clients and their families. Topics covered include the history of and current trends in Canada’s health care system, professionalism, ethics, advocacy, workplace settings, teamwork, conflict resolution, relevant legislation, as well as time and stress management.

Personal Support Communication and Records Management 

This course introduces students to the foundations of interpersonal and interprofessional skills required to establish and maintain therapeutic relationships with clients, their families, and members of the healthcare team. Students will apply the basics of therapeutic communications, complete documentation used in the clinical context, and apply critical thinking and decision-making skills required within the PSW scope of practice, while maintaining the importance of confidentiality and privacy

Infection Control and Prevention 

Students will examine Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) evidence-based practices and procedures that, when applied consistently in health care settings, can prevent or reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms to health care providers, clients, patients, residents and visitors.

Human Body, Chronic Illness and Disease

Students develop a strong knowledge of biology as it applies to human health. Emphasis is placed on the interrelationship of structure and function within the human body. The anatomy and physiology of the organ systems and the interrelationship of the organ systems. Selected health disorders, as well as changes related to the aging and disease process, will be discussed in correlation with each organ system.

Foundations of Mental Health

Students gain knowledge and understanding of the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, acquired brain injuries and dementia and how these conditions affect a person's ability to maintain an independent lifestyle. Students will understand the responsibilities and considerations expected as a Personal Support Worker in working with clients in this area.

Palliative Care

Students learn elements of palliative care which relate to long-term care facilities and home care settings. Students examine their personal feelings about loss, grief and death. Concepts such as spirituality, grieving, and bereavement are discussed. Pain and symptom management, complementary therapies, role of the funeral home, and death and dying issues are explored. The focus is on the personal support worker as an integral part of an interdisciplinary team.

Providing Client Care (Theory)

In this course, the students are introduced to the concepts and skills related to assisting with activities of daily living while creating and maintaining a relationship of support to different client needs and scenarios.

Providing Client Care (Lab)

This course builds on the theory related to assisting with activities of daily living providing and provides students to safely practice fundamental psychomotor skills and therapeutic communication skills needed to provide comfort and basic support for the client's daily activities, such as grooming, bathing, feeding and transferring care.

Mandatory Clinical Placement

The student must complete 8 weeks (300 hours) of clinical training to graduate and receive their certificate.  The students will have hands on experience, using their knowledge from the theory and skills learned in the classroom.  A clinical instructor will be with the students for 3 weeks of supervised clinical placement in both a long term care facility. Students will then complete 5 weeks of unsupervised clinical placement in both a long term care facility and community facility.

Workplace Skills

CPR and First Aid Certification

A certified course in First Aid and CPR for adults is provided at the College

Student Success Strategies

Emphasis is placed on thinking about success from day one and developing the non-technical skills to enhance personal, academic and career success. Topics include: goal setting, time management, learning styles, memory techniques, note taking and test writing techniques.

Computer Essentials

  • Learn the basics of the Windows operating system, computer hardware, and software
  • Practice effective file management
  • Explore various Internet search techniques
  • Obtain touch typing skills with a goal of 30 words per minute before graduation
  • Create, edit, and print Microsoft Word letters and reports
  • Format documents and control the page appearance
  • Create, modify, and print Microsoft Excel workbooks
  • Perform calculations using formulas and functions
  • Apply formatting to a worksheet

Career and Employment Strategies     

This module takes the students through the entire job search process including:

  • Where and how to look for a job
  • Effective resume preparation
  • Creating a cover letter tailored to the position
  • Interview preparation
  • Job search management
  • Self-confidence and self-esteem building
  • Mock interviews 
  • Follow up after the interview

Tuition: $6,100    Textbooks and other fees: $590    International Student Fee: $2,000

(Please note that programs may be changed or upgraded to meet the demands of industry without notice)