All training bodies teaching PSWs base their programs on the same curriculum.
_How long is the PSW program?
The PSW course is a minimum of 500 hours in length. The training includes practical work experience.
The PSW training program includes a minimum of:
225 hours of theory (classroom)
10 hours of evaluation
265 hours of practicum (work placement)
_How do PSWs get “certified” or “registered”?
The PSW is an unregulated health care worker and as such there is
no officially recognized “certification” or “registration”. There is
no regulating body for graduates.
A PSW cannot be “certified” or “registered”. The terms
“certified”, “certification”, “registered” and “registration” are
sometimes used by Private Career Colleges as part of their advertising
and marketing strategy to attract students or employers for their
PSW Certificates are issued by the training institution. The
province does not recognize a PSW Diploma, as the training program is
too short to meet a diploma requirement.
_How will the changes in the Long Term Care Homes Act affect PSW training programs?
In July 2010, the government of Ontario enacted the Long Term Care Homes Act.
A regulation to this act has changed the criteria under which a person
working in a long term care home may be considered a Personal Support
Worker. This section comes into force on July 1 2011 and is reprinted
Qualifications of personal support workers 47. (1)Every licensee of a long-term care home shall ensure
that on and after the first anniversary of the coming into force of
this section, every person hired by the licensee as a personal support
worker or to provide personal support services, regardless of title,
has successfully completed a personal support worker program that meets
the requirements in subsection (2).
(2) The personal support worker program,
(a) must meet,
(i) the vocational standards established by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities,
(ii) the standards established by the National Association of Career Colleges, or
(iii) the standards established by the Ontario Community Support Association; and
(b) must be a minimum of 600 hours in duration, counting both class time and practical experience time.
(3) Despite subsection (1), a licensee may hire as a
personal support worker or to provide personal support services,
(a) a registered nurse or registered practical nurse who, in
the opinion of the Director of Nursing and Personal Care, has adequate skills
and knowledge to perform the duties of a personal support worker;
(b) a person who was working or employed at a long-term care
home at any time in the 12-month period preceding the first anniversary of the
coming into force of this section as a personal support worker and who has at
least three years of full-time experience, or the equivalent considering
part-time experience, as a personal support worker;
(c) a student who is enrolled in an educational program for
registered nurses or registered practical nurses and who, in the opinion of the
Director of Nursing and Personal Care, has adequate skills and knowledge to
perform the duties of a personal support worker; or
(d) a person who is enrolled in a program described in
subsection (2) and who is completing the practical experience requirements of
the program, but such a person must work under the supervision of a member of
the registered nursing staff and an instructor from the program.
(4) The licensee shall cease to employ as a personal
support worker, or as someone who provides personal support services, regardless
of title, a person who was required to be enrolled in a program described in
clause (3) (c) or (d) if the person ceases to be enrolled in the program or
fails to successfully complete the program within five years of being hired.
_What is the National Exam? Is there a “Provincial Certification Examination”? Is it necessary?
No end of course examination is required to be a PSW. “Personal
Support Worker” and “PSW” are provincial designations. The program was
developed as a joint project of the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Community Support Association. The requirements of programs for unregulated health workers in other provinces vary considerably from the PSW.
Some private career colleges offer a “National Exam” or a
“provincial Certification Exam”. These exams are not official,
recognized or required. They are an advertising and marketing strategy
to make the training seem to have greater quality than programs without a
final examination. A PSW certificate is all that is needed to work as a
PSW in Ontario.
There is no evidence that any “end of program” exam demonstrates
knowledge or skill. Classroom and practical skill marks are the best
indicator of an individual’s ability to work as a PSW.
_How do I know if a training organization provides good training? There are several ways to get information about this:
PSW Educational Program Accreditation (PEPA) lists participating schools that have gone through accreditation, currently going through the process or that have been denied accreditation.
Ask colleagues and employers what schools have demonstrated that their graduates are skilled and knowledgeable.
Ask the school about their teacher qualifications. Do they employ teachers who are skilled in the subject they teach?
Is the school authorized to offer the PSW? Most school boards
and colleges are approved. Private career colleges must apply to offer
the program and should have a certificate from the Ministry of Education
authorizing them to teach the PSW program.
Is the practical training supervised? If so, who does the supervision? How long is the supervised practicum?
If you are considering enrolling in a PSW program, ask the school
what you get for the tuition you pay? Do the costs seem reasonable?
(The following is quoted from the Ministry of Education/Ministry
of Training, Colleges and Universities website) regarding Registered
Private Career Colleges:
“Private career colleges are privately owned and operated. They
must be registered and have their programs approved under the Private
Career Colleges Act, 2005 administered by the Ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities. Registration of a college under the Act
means that it has met the requirements set out in Regulation 415/06,
regarding program quality, instructor qualifications, advertising and
refund policies. You must take the same care and precautions when
choosing a program as you would take when making any other major
_How much do PSWs earn?
The salary for PSWs depends on the employer and setting. It
ranges from approximately $11.50 per hour to approximately $18.36 per
hour. Many PSW positions are casual or part-time.
_What are the most frequently performed job duties?
Job duties will vary depending on work setting. The three most
frequent duties for PSWs working in Long Term Care are dressing,
toileting and lifting/transferring/repositioning. In the Community PSWs
are more likely to be tasked with bathing, house cleaning, meal prep,
laundry, baking and medication reminders.
_Can individuals trained outside the province or outside the country work as a PSW in Ontario?
People with training from another jurisdiction may apply to a
school to have their training assessed. Some schools charge a fee for
this. Others may do an assessment for free.
If you have received your training within Canada, but outside of
Ontario, at this point, you may visit your local community college to
ask them to review your transcripts to determine if you qualify to be
exempt from courses in their program.
If you have received your training outside of Canada you can call the
World Education Services at 416-972-0070 or toll-free at
1-866-343-0070. Or you can call the International Credential Assessment
Services of Canada (ICAS) at 519-763-7282 or toll-free at 1-800-321-6021.
_What are the admission requirements for the PSW program?
The applicant must be at least 19 years of age OR have an Ontario
Secondary School Diploma or equivalent. You will have to pass a
language proficiency test:
for programs taught in English; OR
In French, for programs taught in French
_What is PSNO's opinion on regulation of the personal support profession? PSNO is conscious of the decision made by HPRAC
(Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council) not to regulate PSWs
and as such we want to work with the government to find solutions that
will support the advancement of the profession and provide
accountability through certification and registration, which will be a
more cost effective solution for all parties involved, including PSWs.
We are currently working on a discussion paper that will present a
solution in the very near future, so stay tuned.
_Does PSNO share my personal information with anyone?
PSNO does not and will not in any case
distribute the contact information of our subscribers. Only PSNO and OCSA
staff have secure access to this information. We will not share any
personal information including, name, address, phone number, e-mail